853 Blog reports that Greenwich council has sacked its green contractor for failing to deal with the weeds growing in the (soon-to-be) Royal Borough's pavements. We've got a fair few ourselves.
Whilst their team of cowboy lawnmowers have made fairly regular appearances, Glendales seem to be a bit short in the weeding and planting department.
We are told that the little squares of ground which were bizarrely concreted over recently (after the 6th June walkabout by Lewisham Homes management) are now being re-instated as a result of residents' complaints and possibly our Concrete Jungle post also on 1st July.* Hopefully the guerrilla planting that is taking place around the estate – in lieu of any maintenance and planting by Glendales – can now continue in these beds as well.
The new plants look great, as do the window boxes (since Crossfields Greenspaces' plant and soil giveaway on 16th July). However, be prepared to defend your window boxes when and if Lewisham Homes get round to implementing a Zero Tolerance policy to items outside flats in communal walkways.
CEO Andrew Potter told us on the recent walkabout that London's Fire Chief has ordered that all boroughs have the choice to either monitor and educate their residents about not leaving fire hazards in the walkways, or introduce a ban on all items. If the circumstances surrounding a fire were found to involve balcony obstructions, boroughs stand to face a hefty fine – therefore Mr Potter favoured a zero tolerance policy as his cheapest and safest option. He said he was aware that it would be a highly unpopular move, and the issue is to be debated by the board. The ban on outdoor items would include all flower pots and possibly even window boxes.
Caretaking Manager Mike Smith, attending last night's TRA meeting, said there are regular Fire Safety inspections of communal walkways, and levels of priority reached before action is taken. Serious obstructions result in a warning, and non-compliance results in the householder's belongings being removed and stored. (See May's post about the last half-arsed attempt to do this). The meeting argued that since there is already a process in place for monitoring Fire Safety obstructions, there was no need for the introduction of a zero tolerance policy.
We also argued that growing flowers, shrubs, herbs and vegetables on our balcony walkways contributed positively to both our own and our neighbours' mental health and well-being.
Here's some examples:
*Leaseholders: look out for being billed in 2012 for both concreting over and removal of concrete.