journeys at home and abroad
It used to be an old people’s home, then a temporary hostel for asylum-seekers. After that, the building next to us was squatted.
Everything was demolished, including some flats for the elderly, a couple of years ago.
The new buildings are just about finished – 50 homes for private sale and, behind them, 50 rented flats for the frail and vulnerable.
So who will our new neighbours be?
Our fledgling Neighbourhood Watch launched last month. Our patch includes babies and octogenarians, people with roots in every continent, lease-holders and people who rent, people who raised families here in the 60s and groups of singles who moved in last month.
Of the 50 new homes for sale, how many have been sold? All of them. To how many buyers? Two – 9 houses to one, 41 flats to the other. Are the two buyers going to be selling on or are they buying-to-let?
Will this make a difference to our community, our new Neighbourhood Watch?
Chances are, people won’t be bringing up their families in privately rented houses – they’ll move on. Chances are, the market rents will be too expensive for people on average incomes. Those who can afford the rents will want to buy when they get the opportunity – and move out.
Looks like we’ll have a more transient neighbourhood, with a few “anchor” residents who intend to stay.
PS The Neighbourhood Watch launch went well – over 20 of us were at the BBQ, many who’d never met or talked before. People were incredibly generous with their donations of crisps, drinks and home-made items (Polish home-baked cheesecake – yes!). Someone brought a barbeque, I brought fuel, others brought garden chairs and a table.
The person who volunteered to cook the burgers (a young Muslim father who works as a chef) was fasting (it was the holy month of Ramadan) – how kind is that? We have student opera-singers, nurses and business-people in our midst. Our un-pushy PCSO (vgsoh) came and noted our worries about poor street lighting and tyre-dumping. The event over-ran by an hour and a half and we had plenty left-overs for people to take home (seemed like more than we started with – why does that feeding the five thousand thing happen?).
Since then, my experiences of neighbourliness have increased:
The town houses are all up for sale again.