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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Friday, 12 June 2015

Choked, crushed, blinded by the dust - London's property gold rush is killing us in so many different ways

These massive mixer-trucks drive in and out of the Battersea depot at the rate of about one every three minutes throughout the working week
Cycling down Silverthorne Road, almost lose it hitting a ridge of what looks like concrete in the road. At the same time the Range Rover Evo in front fires a couple of small pebbles at me from its fat back tyres.

Approaching Queenstown Road, it's hard to see a thing. It's about the 101th windy day in a row, and the wind around here - anywhere in fact in the SW8 area - is always full of grit from the massive building sites of Nine Elms Lane.

The people responsible for erecting that monstrous barrier of high-rise, low-on-architectural-merit apartment blocks are getting at us local residents in so many different ways.

But we also have a major cement works to add to the fun - the big Lafarge Tarmac place at the junction of Queenstown and Silverthorne Roads.

The huge six-wheel cement mixer trucks seem to be on some endless convoy, roaring in from the north, filling up with ready-mix concrete or whatever, then charging off in all directions, presumably serving many other big construction sites in  west and south London, such as the old Chelsea Barracks site, as well as Nine Elms itself.

They're messing up our roads - particularly Silverthorne Road and parts of Queenstown Road, at junctions where the huge trucks often clip the kerbstones in their eagerness to get in and out of the cement depot extra fast. The newly-filled lorries often spill  bits of their load - hence all those lethal pebbles and the growing ridges of cement in these streets.

So for most of the local population, who will never be able to afford one of these new flats (and most of us probably wouldn't want one anyway), the developers are bringing a lot of pain and no joy whatsoever.  Look at the list of our woes:

Silverthorne Road junction with Wandsworth Road
  • They're destroying our views of the river and central London
  • They're clogging our roads with a constant stream of massive trucks taking away debris and delivering building materials.
  • They're closing down pubs, clubs,  shops and colleges.
  • They're killing and maiming cyclists and others with their high-speed dumper trucks.
  • They're blinding and choking us with the dust thrown up by the constant pile-driving, demolition, digging, and so on during this unusually dry and windy spring.
  • They're shattering our peace with the constant crashing and hammering and drilling and thundering of trucks emptying materials.
  • When all this is finished what do we get? Another influx of a few thousand super-rich types with their hideous armoured cars,  a couple of new tube stops on a spur of the already overcrowded Northern Line, and a linear park which looks like it will be  yet another of those closely observed (by cctv) manicured public spaces a la Canada Water.
Call me a cynic. Everyone else does.

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