Tuesday, 22 March 2011

"Moderate value" trees chopped down on the Ferrier Estate

It's not just buidings and communities that are coming down in the Ferrier Estate but long-established trees as well.

The above photo was taken yesterday afternoon on the edge of the soon to be demolished Pinto Way.

Here's an old satellite view of the trees from Google:

According to the Kidbrooke Village Masterplan these were "Category B trees" and "located on the future building footprint."

In other words they were "of moderate quality and value" and in the path of the oncoming bulldozer. So they've gone.

I stood on the stump of one of the felled trees in order to take the picture below:

I was shouted at by one of the workers as I took the picture and the fencing has since been moved to the other side of the stump.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Ferrier Estate podcast: destruction or regeneration?

I spent Tuesday evening speaking to the good people at In the Meantime about the demolition of the Ferrier Estate and the planned regeneration of the area.

In preparation for the podcast we talked to current and former residents on the estate and the Chairman of Berkeley Homes John Anderson.

There was lots for us to discuss from the brave new world promised at the estate's beginnings to the destruction of the current community in the name of "regeneration." 

I'd like to thank the residents for giving us so much of their time and Matt and Owen for putting it all together.

There's lots in there which I will hopefully be coming back to on this site later in greater detail.

So head over to In the Meantime where you can listen to or download the entire documentary.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Far East buyers get first pick of new Kidbrooke Homes

Asian buyers have been offered homes on the new Kidbrooke Village estate six months before UK residents it has emerged.

"The house builder launched the first private homes at Kidbrooke Village for sale in Asia six months ago. The first new homes, starting from £207,000 will only be available to buy in the UK from March."

Representatives from Berekley boasted about promoting the village in the Far East at the Kidbrooke Stakeholders meeting I attended last month.

How Kidbrooke Village is being marketed to Malaysian investors

The weak pound and a growing Eastern economy has meant that almost half of all new builds in the capital are now reportedly being sold to Asian buyers.

Developers are selling unbuilt housing "off plan" to Asian investors often at a lower price than they would have been sold on completion.

According to one developer:

"One of the reasons overseas buyers purchase off plan is to benefit from the potential future growth in values. If we had taken the scheme out to Asia during the latter stages of construction, there would not be the same amount of interest."

At the stakeholders meeting last month a member of the audience claimed that this had happened at the Millennium Village in Greenwich. 

They said that the strategy had created a transitory community, where people disappear at weekends, rent for short periods, and leave properties vacant for months on end.

Could the same be about to happen in Kidbrooke?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Greenwich Council lies about Kidbrooke library closure

Greenwich Council declared last night that all it's libraries would remain open, somehow forgetting to mention that they plan to demolish one here in Kidbrooke later this year.

In answer to a question on the council's austerity budget, Councillor John Fahy claimed that:

"There will be no cuts to the library service in Greenwich."

The leader of the council Chris Roberts went one step further claiming that:

"all our libraries will remain open."

Except far from remaining open, Kidbrooke's only library in Telemann Square will actually be closed for demolition later this year.

And rather than there be "no cuts to the library service" Greenwich Council admitted at a public meeting last month that the library will not be rebuilt in the future either.

Plans to close, demolish and then not replace the Ferrier Library have been allowed to go ahead without so much as a comment from the local press or protestors.

And with most people unaware of the library's imminent closure, Greenwich Council now seem willing to pretend that it isn't happening at all.

Which is a shame because when people do find out about planned cuts they can often make a difference to the council's plans.

After months of campaigning against the closure of the Maryon Wilson animal park, Chris Roberts told the council last night that:

"To those concerned with the animal park, the same is true but no changes are proposed this year. I understand its value to very many people but I would say to anyone who has concerns, we don't want to see the animal centre close next March and I don't actually believe that it will. But if it is loved as much as people tell us then we will want to work with those who are willing to see how we can help to keep it open with your greater involvement.
However, I would say this to anyone who does love the park and also retains a liking for this coalition and what it is doing to our public services: this is the time to step forward and prove that "The Big Society"... is a concept that actually has real meaning."

Which is all good political rhetoric, but if Kidbrooke residents aren't told the truth about what the council are planning to do to our library, then how can we be expected to step forward and help out?

-Update- This was tweeted by Greenwich Council three weeks ago: