Cockroaches, raves, and remains

In the latest column about her estate’s redevelopment, Marlowe Road resident Michelle Edwards finds little to be positive about

Michelle Edwards in Marlowe Road

Michelle Edwards in Marlowe Road, an estate she has lived in for more than 20 years

I hate it here. I no longer have a home. I live in a dump and it’s depressing. I do everything possible to avoid being on the estate. Reading at a bus stop at Walthamstow Central, crashing at my parents’ house, or observing life in one of the local parks, are pursuits that help me keep my sanity.

According to the latest edition of the Marlowe Road ‘community newsletter’, as of March 2017, a total of 109 secure tenants have moved away on a permanent basis from the estate. Only one person out of the figure quoted is exercising their automatic right to return once the new flats are built. All 109 properties are currently being used to house temporary accommodation tenants.

The estate has become absolutely filthly. Waste is thrown from properties and dumped around the block. I’m still hearing complaints about cockroaches and rats frequenting some of the homes. Despite the potential for disease transmission, tenants won’t report the breach, claiming they were told they were liable for the cost of the treatment.

I emailed Waltham Forest Council to ask about Shield Pest Control, a council contractor. As far back as 2012, they used to treat the block annually, but the last known year of treatment was 2015. The council confirmed they have an existing contract with Osborne Ltd, which sub-contracts Shield Pest Control, but it’s unclear why the block is no longer being treated.

Anti-social behaviour has also risen sharply. Visitors drawn by the temporary tenants have broken three padlocks on the security gates in as many weeks allowing them to hold raves in the middle of the estate until the early hours. The estate’s caretaker says it’s pointless spending any more money on new padlocks. Gangs of up to 40 members continue to peddle drugs throughout the day.

When police are called for either matter, they normally don’t turn up. Noise nuisance, I’m told, is a civil matter for the council to resolve. So, it’s left to us residents to venture out into the unknown in our dressing gowns and take them on in a bid to get a scrap of sleep.

Still, there is some good news. The estate’s developer, Countryside, has completed its archaeological investigations in the north-east corner of the estate and discovered the foundations of two old houses. One dates back to the 17th Century, and another to the 18th. A selection of finds include a chimney pot, roof tile, march case, door key, thermometer, alarm clock, and a lighter.