by Janine Booth
Hackney Solidarity knocked on doors on the Pembury. We asked people’s views about life on the estate.
Many complained about the building work. It has been noisy, disruptive, and continually delayed.
Others complained that Peabody promised repairs but either did not do them or messed them up - including furniture being damaged and no compensation paid.
Many residents feel they don’t get enough information from Peabody - just “occasional newsletters which make promises which are then not carried out”.
There is very little for youngsters to do. It is a scandal that such a big estate does not have a playground. There used to be one, but there is now an office where it used to be! Things are little better for older kids.
Peabody took over the Pembury from Hackney Council, after a costly, glossy campaign persuaded residents that their only hope of improvements was to transfer to a new landlord. The Council was glad to be rid of the estate, and Peabody is reckoned to be one of the “better” social landlords. But, as one resident said: “If any other estate is being asked to transfer, tell them to vote ‘No’. It’s a con.”
So it is little surprise that there are problems, including with gangs and intimidation.
Instead of spending the money needed for youth facilities or to improve the estate, the authorities have set up a ‘Dispersal Zone’. But many Pembury residents feel that this is not working, and some young people fear it is a licence to hassle them when they are just hanging out.
When the police disperse “trouble” from the Pembury, it often just moves elsewhere.
Pembury resident Toks Williams has some ideas about how to improve things: facilities for his football team, youth workers, premises for youth activities, sessions for different age groups. But, as he told the ‘Better Homes’ newsletter, Toks got no support from the Council, and no funds to do a survey of young people’s needs.
Pembury residents need action to feel safer around the estate. We need more police accountability rather than more police powers. Young people need support rather than persecution.
We need community solidarity, to organise for a better deal, and to make people of all ages feel part of a community that they want to support not to hurt.
We are not getting what we need from our landlord or from Hackney Council. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.