3 Mar 2011

Ethelburga Estate, Battersea

The afternoon part of our London day out took us to Ethelburga Estate. This "estate" lies just to the west of Battersea Park (10metres across Albert Bridge Road), & is a housing estate comprised of both privately owned (90%) & council owned (10%) flats. The estate is considered "dangerous" & "unaproachable" by outsiders, who take much longer detours around the estate to access Battersea Bridge Road. Some of the residents have come together & created an estate action group. Their aim is to improve the aesthetics of the estate to benefit both the residents & the people who avoid the estate currently. They have been offered a £20,000 budget from the local council (Wandsworth) to do so. However, in order to get this money they have to have a certain (& very high) percentage of the residents approval & backing. This has proved much harder than expected. With a lot of residents being tenants & having no financial roots in the estate, they fear that improvements to the area will in turn increase the cost of their rent & so are dubious to support the action. Without a certain proportion of the residents support, no development will take place.

When we visited we met Peter & Peter! These two men have been residents in Ethelburga estate for some years & are very keen to see change. They do not like the stereotype that has been made of the estate, by it being called an "estate", by the old fashioned, 60's appearance, & by the general unattractive buildings & landscape. They took us for a tour around the estate (which is not very big, encircling the estate took 15 mins), there is little in the way of attractive landscaping or design, rubbish bins are a huge eye-sore, there are large areas of concrete with no purposes, & very little soft landscaping. Back in the community centre we all got together & brainstormed some ideas of how we feel the estate could be improved. There were four categories: security & community, play & creativity (art), movement (& transport), & green infrastructure. The following images show these sheets with all our ideas:

No comments: