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Bonkers Blog March 2019

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2 March (Part 2) - Another fiftieth anniversary

I may not have gone to Peabody’s Thamesmead Regeneration exhibition if my arm had not been twisted by Bonkers’ readers but I am very glad that I did. It was the biggest Peabody exhibition I have been to and it covered everything they are doing in South Thamesmead.

The Hub PeabodyWe have just passed the 50th anniversary of the houses on Thamesmead first being occupied but it apparently acquired a dubious reputation very quickly.

In 1979 I was a Hampshire resident working in London and knew nothing of Thamesmead. A newly married young lady in the office announced she had found accommodation in Thamesmead and met with a chorus of groans from her friends. Ten years later when I moved to Belvedere I began to realise why.

The Peabody Housing Association is undertaking the massive job of bringing Thamesmead up to standard which means some refurbishment and a great deal of demolition. Progress has been painfully slow but things are rapidly picking up now.

Today’s event was a serious attempt to update residents on what Peabody has in mind. They had loads of staff at The Hub in Yarnton Way and lots of explanatory posters.

Whilst I am affected only in the sense that the skyline will change for the better I am aware that regeneration can badly inconvenience those who are compelled to live adjacent to a building site. Many have lost access to car parking, the disabled have been effectively imprisoned in their own homes and some have lost them altogether.

The terms offered to owner occupiers whose houses are to be demolished is the standard valuation plus 10% which bearing in mind the value of concrete houses might not be very much, certainly not enough to buy a decent replacement house locally.

To bridge the gap Peabody is helping displaced home owners with a joint equity deal with no interest payable on their investment or rent on the portion of the house not owned outright. It sounds like a decent deal to me but maybe it is easy for unaffected me to say that. It feels good to own one’s own home, maybe it doesn’t feel so good to have Peabody taking a share of it even though they will never be able to get the occupants out of it. If I have not misunderstood it is like a free mortgage with fewer strings attached.

In time inflation may reduce Peabody’s interest in the property.

Residents that might be affected are sure to have been contacted by Peabody already but a trip to the Hub in Yarnton Way is highly recommended. The exhibition will be repeated next Thursday (14:00 to 20:00) and Saturday (10:00 - 15:00).

The explanatory posters were photographed and may be seen here. Probably best to look on a decent size computer monitor.

Can anyone answer a question about Thamesmead that has intrigued me for some while? If you tour around within a few miles of Oxford you will stumble upon the villages of Yarnton, Eynsham, Wolvercote, Binsey, Hinksey and Godstow. There may be more. All of them have lent their names to roads in Thamesmead.



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