A couple of weeks ago, I had a wander around Kidbrooke’s Ferrier Estate as it slowly comes down. It was prompted by a local newspaper story about a woman who claimed she’d been driven into mental illness as the estate was demolished around her. There’s far fewer than there were six months ago, but there are people still living on the Ferrier, in isolated pockets, while the old 1970s blocks come crashing down.
Here’s a row of homes entirely boarded up…
…apart from one:
Naturally, this local newspaper felt such a duty of care to a woman who’d been recently sectioned that it opened up the comments on its website so its readers could berate her for, it seemed, the crime of living on a council estate instead of in a semi in Orpington. I’m not linking to it, but I’m sure you can guess the newspaper concerned.
Nobody in their right mind would want to stay in the Ferrier while it comes down. There’s dust and noise everywhere; demolition work has even been taking place on Sundays, with great chunks of concrete smashing to the ground with sickening thumps. Yet, with some people offered substandard properties like this shack in Mottingham, the decision must be a tough one.
Despite all this, Greenwich Council has taken seven people to court in attempt to get them out. A small number compared to the thousands that have been successfully rehoused, but that’s still seven expensive court cases too many. I wonder if there’ll be a ceremony for the last resident to leave?
Meanwhile, up on what used to be the bend in Tudway Road by the station, Kidbrooke Village is finally emerging. Smart new homes have already been built on the site of the adjacent Harrow Meadow sports field (mind that green space, etc), but this is the first indication of what Kidbrooke Village will really look like.
It’s a curious rebranding – the real heart of old Kidbrooke is further north, by the church on Kidbrooke Park Road, surrounded by huge old houses and Morden College. There were still farms in Kidbrooke until the 1930s – the building of the Rochester Way saw to those, and the building of the Rochester Way Relief Road saw the end of the old village green. Indeed, there’s a council ward called Kidbrooke with Hornfair, but “Kidbrooke Village” will actually be in Eltham West. Confused?
Looking back at Adam’s photos from a year ago, I wonder where we’ll be in a year’s time. The last Ferrier residents will surely have gone by then, the first replacement Kidbrooke Village residents will be in. And probably complaining about the building works going on around them. It could be an interesting year ahead…