Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Turf-outs on Marlowe Road Estate

The remaining residents of the estate face temporary accommodation, plus columnist Michelle Edwards reveals the aftermath of ‘bathgate’… It was [...]

Hero for Turf-outs on Marlowe Road Estate
The Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) nearby to Marlowe Road Estate (Credit: Michelle Edwards)
By Waltham Forest Echo 11 July 2021

The remaining residents of the estate face temporary accommodation, plus columnist Michelle Edwards reveals the aftermath of ‘bathgate’…

It was rather moving to see young children playing on the equipment in the new park and Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) a few yards away from the revamped Co-op in Wood Street on June’s hottest days.

Children have so many wonderfully innocent or naive traits. They believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Shove food everywhere except their mouths. Are easily excitable at random things. And, for the most part, have no real awareness of danger and still trust adults.

To be blissfully unaware that their parents and guardians are catching a short period of rest from their pending evictions from Marlowe Road Estate is as it should be. Turfing out remaining temporary residents has sped up somewhat, despite the November 2021 deadline for vacant possession.

One Saturday evening, I returned from an ASDA supermarket shop to find furniture being loaded into the back of a white removal van from a top floor property. The Black African family of four had to be out and moved into their new temporary accommodation by the next day. A Sunday. I had no idea that tenancy agreements commenced at weekends. Why the flipping rush?

Across one week, I witnessed four properties being sealed up by Clearway, the private contractor tasked with securing empty properties. I’m aware of two other households likely to be next. Both want to remain in the area and report that the uncertainty of their possible whereabouts is taking its toll.

Last month’s column about ‘bathgate’ had you pretty shook. No, not the traditional town in West Lothian, Scotland. I’m talking about the published picture of the discoloured bath I’ve been forced to live with for decades. My diplomatic majesty has eroded. I think you should see and read it all now – and I owe you the update you’ve asked for.

Well, I can report that a new bath was installed on 11th May 2021. Not as a response to the exposure in May’s edition of the Echo, but because a third party contractor had determined that it was likely the cause of persistent blockage in my sink unit and should be removed. Unbeknownst to me, the contractor had made three such recommendations to the council, which I discovered purely by accident.

I’d like to address one Echo reader named Mary who reached out to me. Her email stood out because she asked what she could do to help – which really moved me. And also had me scratching my head for days for an answer. What have I come up with? Continue to support the Echo. Without it, I have no voice.

Share what you learn with others, too. Be active and make your voice heard locally. Councils, including Waltham Forest’s, publish agendas, reports and minutes of their meetings including cabinet, committee and sub-committee on their website – and constituents often won’t read them until it is too late. Apathy allows them to push their agenda through, without you having your say.

True to form, the work on my new bath by Morgan Sindall – who incidentally have been the subject of discussions by the council’s Scrutiny Committee – was, in my opinion, substandard.

Bath panels were not replaced as per a job of this type, and were reinstalled the wrong way around. Cracked tiles were concealed with some type of sealant, and I was left to get friendly with a large hole on the side.

When questioned, Morgan Sindall’s operations manager said: “The team will arrange an appointment for replacement of bath panels and fill the gap at the end. The operatives probably took my instruction as change bath only and not complete replacement of all, and the gap at the end an oversight.”

Read every edition of Michelle’s column about life on Marlowe Road Estate here