To the rhythmic beat of the Abbey Wood station piling rig, the Wilton Road consultation team, Rebecca and Sally, tried one more time today to see if any resident or passer-by had any bright ideas on how £300,000 might best be spent on it.
As I stood around looking on, a lady, grandmother probably, with a toddler in a pushchair declined an invitation to take part in the survey.
“Councils always do what they like, so what’s the point?” she said whilst trying to refuse the offer of a card with the survey’s web address on it.
As I hadn’t taken part in the consultation for much the same reason as granny I let Rebecca run through quite a lot of questions. They weren’t very difficult except that I hesitated when I got to the one that asked if I was intimidated by the area.
“Well I’ve not in nearly 30 years been inside the pub” I said. “It looks intimidating and the gaggle of smokers and worse hanging around the door is definitely intimidating, but apart from that nothing in Wilton Road concerns me personally.”
“We could do without the men outside the betting offices hurling obscenities into their mobile phones and the same goes for the small gangs of loitering young men, but I have learned that they take no notice of old people going about their business. If I was a thirty year old wearing the wrong football shirt or had the wrong colour skin, I might have something to worry about.”
By then Sally had joined her colleague. “That's exactly what all the older people say”, she said. “Younger people or anyone new to the area do feel vulnerable though.”
So maybe it’s a priority to police the area more actively. I don’t think I have ever seen an officer on foot in Wilton Road. They show up, sirens blaring, when there is trouble, but in the main they are far more interested in stopping motorists on the flyover.