Monday 25 June 2007

Tonight on BBC1: strong language

Don't miss the first episode of The Tower - an eight part documentary based on the Pepys estate in Deptford. If you're a regular visitor or resident of these parts, you won't have failed to notice that the once-grubby residential tower which perches next to the river, making a strident contrast to the classic beauty of the Deptford Strand buildings, has been transformed into.. go on take a wild stab in the dark.. yes, luxury apartments!

Where once there was despair, now there is security on the door and a tidy little car park. The developers who bought the block from Lewisham Council have added a few penthouses to the top of the tower and extensively refurbished the rest of the block for private sale. I don't know how much the council got from the sale, or what they did with it (perhaps it paid for the redevelopment of other parts of the estate, which they have done rather nicely) but I'm hoping to find out from this programme. Let's hope the Beeb lives up to my expectations.

Apparently strong language is forecast. No shit sherlock!

It was a steal at £11 million, according to Coopepys. This blog contends that none of the proceeds has been spent on the Pepys Estate.

Read Keith Parkins' take on the refurbishment on Indymedia UK, posted before the refurbishment. I'm not sure of the reliability of all his facts, but it paints a pretty sorry picture.


kate said...

I have been looking into where the money from the sale of these flats has gone. From information on the councils website a percentage was meant to be kept back for the pepys estate while the rest was going into the decent homes scheme.

max said...

£7m out of £11m were earmarked for the new leisure centre, they are therefore still held by the Council.

kate said...

so basically lewisham council think building a new leisure centre
when there is already a perfectly good one is more important than providing homes for some of the poorest parst of the borough?

max said...

It's possibly a bit worse than that. By earmarking this large sum for a project that is a few years away they get to hold on to the cash. Please notice that three years later the sum is still £6.94m as earmarked in 2004, apparently it has grown no interests whatsoever.
I remember one Council meeting where the Mayor reassured us of the robustness of the leisure centre scheme and said that they had the cash already and that it was safely in a bank account "earning interests!" But even more interestingly, as the new leisure centre is also supposed to be built with part of the receipts from the sale of the land of the Sundermead estate you will not be able to tell where the money are coming from really. I dare you to find out how much they're making out of this sale and discover where those money are going.
Is there anybody capable of making a good guess of the price of the Loampit Vale plot where the new leisure centre and 754 flats should soon be built?

Anonymous said...

The council began refurbishing the estate well before the events in this program. They began with the blocks against Evelyn St and worked their way towards the river. This is why of the three towers you see in the program two have already been reclad and refurbished (their present state) whilst Aragon tower and a group of medium rise blocks closest to the river were left untouched. They were in a very sorry state as you are going to see in upcoming episodes. Around this time the council decided (much against the wishes of the residents groups on the estate) to sell Aragon to Berkley and pass control of the remaining blocks to Hyde Housing. Its very hard not to think that they left the most valuable stuff to run down so they could reduce their expensive to repair housing stock and also grab a windfall. All the new development on the estate that you see has been done by third parties, the council have had little involvement as far as I can see apart from trying to bail out of the area. They have even tried to give residents groups the rights to the community centre. My own experience is that I have been trying to get them to fix the ground lighting for two years now - and I reminded them of the capital receipts they have taken from the area. They fixed some but left the majority. BTW *All* the lights went because Leol and another guy called Tony who you will see in later episode stripped them and sold them to Mr Widdowsons scrap yard!. Another point of interest is that the council are rumored to have released plans for the redevelopment of the Oxstalls Rd block where the scrap yard is cited into a residential area in the same week the program starts.

Andy Freeman
co-op peyps / pepyshow

kate said...

This is a joke Lewisham council need to be acountable for what they are doing. im not a fan of the area but these people have been treated badly and seem to be forced out of the area to make way for more affluent people. Its a disgrace.

bob said...

And what did you all think of the film?

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