Out and about with Carol - November 2023
We managed to find a rare break in the seemingly incessant rain to go on our walkabout in Somers Town last week which we’d advertised to residents the week before, through email and posters in the blocks we were due to visit.
Starting off in the Sydney Estate courtyard we met with several residents who told us about mis use of the courtyard by other residents holding private parties until late at night and security gates being regularly forced open by people coming on to the estate to deal drugs. We concluded that there needed to be work with residents to come up with solutions to these problems.
Other concerns were raised such as external cabling and trunking coming loose from fixings which led us to talk about the additional investment in residents homes we expect from the proposed merger with Places for People. There was also discussion about how to green the area with more planting, recognising that some residents have done a great job in making a communal roof terrace a pleasant place to be on a sunny afternoon.
A resident from a nearby street stopped us with concerns about use of a back alleyway and issues caused by the Council’s bin collection policy.
From there we moved on, over the next couple of hours, to St Michaels, St Anthonys, St Nicholas, St Francis, St Christophers, St Georges, St Marys and St Josephs, meeting a few residents on the way, picking up on some estate repairs that were needed and appreciating again the Gilbert Bayes art work and plaques commemorating Father Basil Jellicoe and the historic ‘no ball game’ signs, signed ‘By Order: I G Barclay’ (!) Irene Barclay, was the first St Pancras Homes housing manager and the first ever female qualified surveyor in the UK.
One resident showed us a flourishing olive tree (complete with tiny olives) in one of the courtyards that he’d rescued many years ago from a bin and re-planted. He also complemented some planting done by our gardening contractors (though a couple of plants needed replacing as they clearly weren’t suited to the shady conditions). We also picked up that some scaffolding had been in place for far too long. All in all a useful tour.
Another will be planned for next Spring when we hope to meet more residents. In addition we are continuing with Neighbourhood Explorer events, four times a year across our estates, regular neighbourhood walkabouts for residents to attend with the Neighbourhood Manager and regular estate inspections.