A South London estate has been described by locals as the ‘ugliest street’ | UK | News

A South London estate has been described by locals as the ‘ugliest street’ | UK | News

A resident said people on the estate feel like they’ve been “dumped and left” by the council (Image: Joe Coughlan)

A South London estate has been described as the borough’s “ugliest” and residents are so embarrassed by where they live that they avoid inviting friends over due to rubbish littering its streets.

Just five minutes away from Greenwich Park, and 10 minutes away from the O2 arena, the Woodland Grove estate has its residents feeling like the local council has allowed it to slowly “rot away” over the years.

One resident, Rachel Turner, has lived there with her partner for three years and said she has given up reporting the mounting rubbish dumped on the streets after two years of raising the issue with officials, reports MyLondon.

The 31-year-old told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “When I come home from work, there’s mattresses and tables here. It’s frustrating because it’s right where I live and I don’t like having friends around.

“The first thing they see is a bunch of rubbish. We’ve had mattresses, chairs, toilets, cupboards, wardrobes.

“It’s really frustrating because you want it to be presentable. When you have people come into your apartment, you make your apartment all nice and tidy, but then on the outside, it’s just rubbish here. That doesn’t look nice at all. You want to make it a bit more presentable, you’re paying a fortune to live here.”

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An image showing damaged wooden panelling

A resident said the wooden panelling in the estate is so “gross” they want to paint over it (Image: Joe Coughlan)

She went on to say that chipped wooden panels on the outside of the estate have her partner, given the right tools, willing to paint them himself because they were so “gross”. She claims that residents on the estate feel “dumped and left” by Greenwich council, who instead are focussing on other housing plans.

Ms Turner said: “Sometimes [the gate] is left open, and I’m paying for my safety. If it’s not closed then anyone can get in. There’s no safety there. You’re basically paying for what you don’t deserve.

“With Greenwich [Council], they’re good, especially with all the houses they’ve been doing down there. They [the houses] are absolutely beautiful, but they kind of just stop at one point and just leave it to kind of just rot away slowly.

“This is the problem, I think because there’s just so much going on here and they focus too much on places like Greenwich Park and the O2. More money is going into that than the little places of just living space.”

Image shows mould on a residents bedroom wall

Mr Oliagbe said the leak started in his flat earlier this year (Image: Joe Coughlan)

Labour Councillor Majid Rahman said at a Greenwich Council meeting in December last year that residents of Woodlands Grove could not sell their homes and had mortgage applications refused because of the condition of the estate. He said that in 2016, residents of the estate were told they it would be upgraded within the next five years, but no sign of said upgrades have taken place.

A second resident, Abiodun Oliagbe, 69, has been living in the estate for four years with his family and claimed that earlier in the year rain would leak into his bedroom and cause mould.

Mr Oliagbe told the LDRS: “We have reported it to the council but they have not done anything about it. Water is coming in. We have tried to contact them but nothing has been done really. It is not good for our own health.”

As well as the leak, he said the estate has recently become dirtier, and that the council was supposed to cover multiple exposed pipes in his flat after his boiler was replaced last year.

Mr Oliagbe said: “The council are just dilly-dallying, there’s nothing being done. It was supposed to be covered but it’s just been left like this for more than a year.”

At a council meeting in December, Cllr Rahman said that work on the nearby Sam Manners House, a new £11million set of council homes beside the estate, had put a “negative contrast” on Woodlands Grove. Labour Councillor Pat Slattery, cabinet member for housing for Greenwich Council, agreed that the estate looked “particularly galling next to Sam Manners House”. She said the estate would be surveyed for external repairs in the new year, but could not confirm when work would begin.

At the meeting, she said: “I have spoken to officers and as part of our external decorations programme, we are about to survey [Woodlands Grove] to consult with residents on what we find and then package it all together and tender for it early in the new year.”

Dale Millikan bought a flat opposite the estate and when putting an offer in last month asked their estate agent what was going to happen to the “sad-looking building” across the street.

Mr Millikan told the LDRS: “I feel for these guys, it’s their home. It doesn’t look overly safe for anyone, and there are kids that live in there too. But for us, I just think it’s a bit of a disgrace because [Sam Manners House] is getting built and these guys have been left out in the cold.”

A council spokesperson said: “Renovation work at the Woodland Grove estate is expected to start in this financial year. We plan to improve external parts of the block, including some concrete repairs and replacement of the timber railings. We’re arranging a meeting with residents in October to discuss the planned works and get their views. 

“In the meantime, our repairs team will be addressing the other issues highlighted. We’re in the process of contacting the residents who have flagged issues, to discuss their repairs.

“Our parks team is arranging for the grass to be cut as soon as possible and maintained in future. We’re introducing a new performance work programme that will prevent the site being missed again.

“The Council is committed to tackling fly tipping, and we’ve removed 25 fly tips from the area in the past eight months alone. We’re also prepared to take enforcement action where necessary, including fining a local business £400 in June last year for fly tipping on the estate. We’d encourage anyone who spots fly tipping to report it to https://fix.royalgreenwich.gov.uk We urge anyone wanting to dispose of waste to book a bulky waste collection service at royalgreenwich.gov.uk/bulkywaste, or take their waste to our Reuse and Recycling Centre in Nathan Way for free.”


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