Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Richmond Hill: this is where we live: Richmond Court
These photographs were taken last Friday in Richmond Court, the former Richmond Hill Hostel that closed a while ago.
As it often the case when services desert an area, the buildings fell into desrepair and attracted a great deal of vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
The place is dangerous, full of broken glass and building materials. We also found office equipment, that could have been re-used by the community but was left to rot with the rest of the building instead.
A sad picture of a place that used to provide a lifeline for people in need.
We also found a pile of documents at the back.
And one has to hope that there aren't any confidential documents left there..
In an area like ours, this is now common sight: when services like the hostel, the neighbouring day centre and old people's home leave the area due to the infamous "cuts" we are also left with increasingly shrinking public space and with the new owners "sitting on" their new properties until the opportunity arises for development- if ever, in the present climate.
So the whole area suffers: Walter Crescent has now got only one fully functioning building since the Housing Office reduced its opening hours. The area looks and feels like a ghost town. And this is where the only Children's Centre in the area is located.
So, what can WE do? Can we propose alternative uses for former council buidings? Can we, as a community reclaim our streets, reclaim our guinnels, reclaim our buildings?
Can we get the council to look for alternative uses before rushing to sell to first available developer? Can we make sure that the council will buy back properties that stay into permanent disrepair and are not redeveloped?