Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Blackheath Cator Estate becoming a gated estate

Gates closed at morning rush hour on Morden Road
"To maintain the exclusive nature of their estate, the Cators erected lodge houses at each of the main entrances. These were occupied by resident keepers engaged to ward off beggars and itinerant salesmen" - Neil Rhind: A Fair Estate

"There are things about Blackheath that I don't particularly like. It can be stuffy. It's about people protecting their little fiefdoms." One of Blake's pet gripes is the [Cator Estate] which used to have a squash club and tennis courts as well as other amenities when he lived there. "But now it's become a residential ghetto and could be even more draconian with plans to prevent through traffic. There's talk of putting in an automatic barrier so only people who live on the estate will be able to go through. To me it's a logistical nightmare and I'm against gated communities." - Blake Morrison 

Starting from next month both gates from the Heath into the Blackheath Cator Estate will be closed to all non-residents during rush hours.

For a three month trial period, anybody without a permit will be turned away by either closed gates, or uniformed staff, and forced to drive back through Blackheath village instead:

The entrance at Blackheath Park will remain open but most people wanting to take their kids to Brooklands School and the surrounding area will have longer and more difficult journeys.

Man performing SE London's most boring job at Pond Road, Blackheath

The move will increase traffic through the already congested Blackheath Village roads, slow down emergency vehicles, and frustrate deliveries.

And all for the sake of making an already exclusive estate, just that little bit more exclusive.

It's a strange obsession this gate-mania, and such is its grip, that residents on one road within the estate  want another gate to create a gated community within the gated community.

And while there's no sign of those automated gates mentioned by Blake Morrison yet, it surely can only be a matter of time:

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