Cllr Drury meets with residents of Sowerby Close

On Thursday morning Eltham North Councillor Spencer Drury met with residents of Sowerby Close and Council Officers to discuss a number of on-going issues. Those raised with Spencer and the Council Officers included:-

  • The state of the garages, several of which had damaged doors and appeared to be filled with rubbish. One had waste contained in specialist asbestos waste disposal bags, but at this stage it had not been established whether the waste genuinely was dangerous.
  • Concerns over the gates to the car parking area being permanently open. A key is to be provided to residents for one of the gates but the other was proving more problematic and costs were quite high. Previously there had been a discussion about the feasibility of introducing permit parking, but it had proved difficult to get a clear majority in favour of this in any one block. 
  • The damaged netting preventing pigeons around the blocks. Officers informed residents that this should replaced or repaired in the near future.
  • Cleaning of communal windows. It appeared that the windows would be cleaned this year (as they would across the whole borough) but as yet, no funds had been found to repeat the exercise in the future. Spencer expressed his concerns over the future and promised to raise the issue elsewhere.
  • Drugs being taken in various stairwells around the estate. This had been reported to the local police, but Spencer promised to raise it at the Safer Neighbourhood Team meeting to ensure a more regular presence around particular problem areas.
  • The decision taken by the fire safety officer to remove all furniture, plants and porches from landings to prevent fire and ease escape was unpopular. Spencer said “This decision will cause unhappiness across the borough. Many people make a great effort to make landings feel more homely and less sterile.”
  This morning meeting was followed by the Eltham and Westhorne Housing Panel meeting in the evening, which was attended by Spencer and fellow Eltham North Councillor Dermot Poston. At this meeting concerns were raised about the fact that the over 40s housing policy for Sowerby Close was not being applied (although there was some debate over whether it still existed under the age-discrimination laws). Residents were also concerned that one-bedroom flats in Sowerby (intended for older residents) were now being classified as two bedrooms because every room other than the kitchen and bathroom was seen as a potential bedroom. There was speculation that this meant the Council could reduce the number of families classified as being in overcrowded accommodation for official statistics, although the problem of families being crowded into smaller homes remained.