for the weekend I returned late last night and checked the emails; all the
important ones were about Slade Green. Building 8,000 houses there and the
threat of compulsory purchase looks like being the new Old Farm Park for the
immediate future and the long term. Bexley Council’s condemnation of the area as
low quality housing ripe for demolition has galvanized those residents who have heard the news.
I think I have only been to Slade Green twice, both times when I decided to take the scenic route home from Bexleyheath on a 99 bus. The second time it was such a frustrating experience that I jumped off at Slade Green station and got on a train.
Slade Green is one of those places you don’t have to go to unless you live there or work in the train depot for which it is well known to all southeastern commuters. It is not only where the broken down trains are taken but is is also the junction for the Bexleyheath line (pictured) and half a mile into the distance, the Sidcup line.
If the battle for Slade Green is to become a big story i thought I should take a good look around and become more familiar with it.
This afternoon’s tour did not start well. The station was unmanned and three teenage boy cyclists were taking the opportunity to do wheelies along the platform edge while one of them was thumping the side of the train.
Once outside and sitting in the small shopping precinct two separate mums with buggies and toddlers running ahead were hurling abuse at their respective broods. Just like Abbey Wood I initially thought until I remembered that young mums with children are no longer often found in and around Wilton Road, frightened away by the druggies, beggars and drunkards outside the betting shops. For young families, Sainsbury’s has become the Abbey Wood destination of choice.
Unlike Abbey Wood which is often noisy and where white faces are in a minority that mainly speaks in foreign tongues, Slade Green seemed to be uncannily quiet with not a black face to be seen except for a couple pumping loud music from their cars. (It was a very hot day and windows were wound down.)
Slade Green and Abbey Wood are probably both dismissed by an uncaring Bexley Council as ‘up north’ but my impression is that they are very different places and Slade Green might be the more pleasant place to live. Those residents I spoke to while on tour - sometimes one has to explain to suspicious householders why one is going around snapping pictures of their homes - had all heard of Bexley Council’s plans and none had a good word to say for it.
Their views were well put in one of the weekend emails…
I live in Slade Gardens. We were not given any information about the new growth strategy.
We do not get the News Shopper, our library was sold off do did not get a copy of the document outlining the plans.
We were not included in the roadshows held elsewhere. One group approached the council but was told there was not enough time to come to us.
Other areas had two visits where far fewer homes were proposed. The group offered to put on an information stand but Bexley Council did not provided any information.
After protests from residents a Slade Green meeting was finally held and it was very well attended.
We felt that the Council discriminated against us. It is claimed that some 1,000 homes will be transitioned to high rise. They are said to be sub-standard. This is their excuse. Now our properties are blighted by Bexley Council.
Properties in my road have been bought by two housing associations for their tenants. In recent years at least three houses have been given planning approval for a double rear extension. They were not condemned!
In the next two streets a lot has been spent on exterior cladding of the rental homes yet these are also to be transitioned. Mine is a perfectly habitable home built in 1936. [Photo supplied but not published. Can’t risk victimisation by Bexley Council.]
Bexley Council wants to create a new high street but we have one now with a post office and chemist etc. opposite the railway station.
This may be why they want to move stuff; so they can create an area of high rise where thestation and shops are now.
If you look at the photographs taken this afternoon you will see that the area might not be brand spanking new, the bulk of the homes may well have been council houses in more enlightened times or railwaymen’s cottages, but very nice and well cared for the bulk of them look.
I failed to find anything remotely like a slum, nor did I see evidence of fly-tipping.
There is one reason alone for Bexley Council wanting to demolish Slade Green and that is the financial failure by successive governments and Bexley Council failing to recognise the looming disaster until far too late. The pattern was set in 2006 when the newly elected Conservative administration campaigned for no Thames Crossings. Now they need your money or the borough goes broke. Bexley Council will be ruthless. Let battle commence.