Ferrier Estate update from David Gold

David has written on his blog about the latest position on the Ferrier Estate.

 

Yesterday was both uplifting and depressing.  A small group of activisist helped me to deliver nearly 1200 newsletters to residents on the Ferrier Estate.  The number we deliver has been dropping due to the numbers of people who have been leaving as part of the decanting process.  Most do so against their wishes but feel obliged either due to the enormous pressure being put on them by Greenwich Council or because they are simply fed up with fighting for what they are entitled to.

As usual, I met many residents either by appointment or as I walked up and down endless flights of stairs (it’s helping me get ready for the Moonwalk!).  I am constantly inspired by the attitude of Ferrier residents who refuse to give up their homes without a fight but remain upbeat and cheerful, even though they have the full force of local bureaucracy weighing heavily on them and many are suffering poor health.

One couple I met have been residents for over 30 years.  They are tenants and both disabled.  They fear that they will be forced to move away from their family and friends into accommodation without room for them have their children and grandchildren stay the night.  More importantly, the lady concerned needs specialist medical care which is only available in a very few locations, one of them being local to Greenwich.  When I sat with them in their immaculate home I could see these people do not want an improvement on their current accommodation, nor do they want special treatment.  They do not wish to move at all, but having accepted that they must they want like for like and they want to be able to stay close to where they know.  Yet they claim they have received nothing but disdain from local officials and no help from their local MP or councillors.

This is a familiar story on the estate.  So many people tell me their polite efforts to raise their individual cases has been met either with silence or excuses.  Another elderly couple told me how when they asked for a three bedroom home, as they currently have, they were told in no uncertain terms they would get a one bedroom flat and be grateful.  When they approached another official they were advised to lie about the state of their marriage, saying he has to sleep on the spare bed, so at least they could secure two bedrooms.  And this from a Greenwich official to a couple married - happily so I am told - for decades!

This Tuesday plans are being presented for the compulsory purchase of 500 homes and businesses.  On Wednesday at Full Council the plan is expected to be discussed.  If anyone is in any doubt about the disgraceful way in which Greenwich treats its most vulnerable residents, many of whom are elderly, go along and see.  It’s not just democracy which has been abolished by Labour in Greenwich, it’s basic humanity.

Labour’s councillors - and MPs - have treated both tenants and leaseholders with utter contempt on this estate.  Anyone watching from afar may not see why this matters, indeed many would like to see the estate demolished and replaced with something more attractive.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of the plans for redevelopment, the council’s approach to the decanting of the estate shows their true colours - uncaring, nasty and inhumane.  Such bullying tactics would cause a private landlord or developer to be front page national news.  Why does Mr Blair allow his councillors in Greenwich to get away with such behaviour unchallenged?