Video: Two sides to Excalibur estate housing fight

Kay Sims, aged 63, points to her decaying wall.

The Excalibur Estate in Catford

First published in Where I Live This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , news editor

THERE are two sides to every story.

Earlier this month News Shopper reported on the future of the Excalibur estate in Catford and spoke to people fighting to stop their 1940s pre-fabricated homes from being flattened.

But since then another group of residents have contacted us saying they would rather see the 185 houses, built by German PoWs, destroyed and replaced with new modern homes.

They say their current homes are not fit to live in, and would rather see the whole estate knocked down and start from scratch with a new £175m building project.

Kay Sim, aged 63, has lived in Mordred Road for 21 years and says her home is dangerously cold.

She said: "We used to love these homes and wanted to live in them - but it is time to move on. Fifty years ago they were fine - but not now.

"When I come downstairs in the morning it is quite often around 14 degrees centigrade - that's close to hypothermia temperature.

"They are falling down around us - they are just not fit to live in. My home costs a fortune to heat. My last gas bill was around £320 for the quarter."

She added: "It used to be a brilliant estate. You couldn't have asked for nicer neighbours. But it's just lost it now. If someone fell down in the street - people would just walk past."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently considering protecting the estate by making it Grade II Listed.

But many residents, like Bryan Steed who has lived on the estate in Ector Road for 28 years, would rather get a brand new home.

The 74-year-old who lives with his wife, Sheila, 72, said: "Damp is a problem.

"Sometimes you can open your wardrobe and find a green algae on clothes which are nearest the outside wall.

"These houses can be so cold. The walls are only two-and-a-half inches thick and it's just an asbestos cement sheet.

"The insulation value is zero. In the mornings you can guarantee that all of the windows will be covered in condensation.

"All of the energy just disappears straight out of the building."

The retired fireman added: "In the past we have fought Lewisham Council over plans to tear-down the estate.

"But the difference this time is that we have negotiated a good deal to take us into the 21st century - new homes with good insulation."

Lewisham Councils owns more 156 of the homes while 29 of them have been bought by residents on a freehold basis.

The council wants to redevelop the site saying it would be too expensive to bring the houses up to Decent Homes Standard - a Government benchmark for quality of housing.

For more Catford news visit newsshopper.co.uk/news/lewgreennews/

Comments (3)

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6:42pm Thu 23 Oct 08

Erastus says...

This is a clear case of pre-fab sprouting algae.

The only cure is for it to be bombed by an opposing nation in order for new pre-fabs to be built which will last for the next sixty-odd years.

I can hear the Fokkers coming as I type, so Your Lord is off down to the shelter.

Doctor Erastus Theobald Piggott
This is a clear case of pre-fab sprouting algae. The only cure is for it to be bombed by an opposing nation in order for new pre-fabs to be built which will last for the next sixty-odd years. I can hear the Fokkers coming as I type, so Your Lord is off down to the shelter. Doctor Erastus Theobald Piggott Erastus
  • Score: 0

3:20pm Fri 24 Oct 08

ds25 says...

My prefab isnt cold and i have never had green bits in my wardrobe, in actual fact my prefab has a tendancy to be too warm when the heating is on!

Surely if Mr Steed has lived in a prefab for 28 years he has heard of such a thing "dry lining" which would insulate his two and a half inch thick walls?
And dont be blinded by his declaration of "Negotiating a good deal" for redevelopment.
He is a homeowner, not a council tennant so he will get a better deal then the rest of you anyway!
My prefab isnt cold and i have never had green bits in my wardrobe, in actual fact my prefab has a tendancy to be too warm when the heating is on! Surely if Mr Steed has lived in a prefab for 28 years he has heard of such a thing "dry lining" which would insulate his two and a half inch thick walls? And dont be blinded by his declaration of "Negotiating a good deal" for redevelopment. He is a homeowner, not a council tennant so he will get a better deal then the rest of you anyway! ds25
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Sun 2 Nov 08

Buff says...

Both people in your report are freeholders and are therefore responsible for repairs to the prefabs that they live in. If they didn't look after them, as most of the tenants like myself have, with dry lining etc then that is their own fault. The prefabs are very rare now, and so are of national importance and must be preserved.Why is it that the TMO is run by Homeowners when it is a Tenants management organisation. This is the mistake we must correct soon so that you can take your special sale deals and buzz off elsewhere to live. Thus leaving the tenants to make our homes the very best they can be and giving them the love and care a national treasure deserves.
Both people in your report are freeholders and are therefore responsible for repairs to the prefabs that they live in. If they didn't look after them, as most of the tenants like myself have, with dry lining etc then that is their own fault. The prefabs are very rare now, and so are of national importance and must be preserved.Why is it that the TMO is run by Homeowners when it is a Tenants management organisation. This is the mistake we must correct soon so that you can take your special sale deals and buzz off elsewhere to live. Thus leaving the tenants to make our homes the very best they can be and giving them the love and care a national treasure deserves. Buff
  • Score: 0
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