Collective hearts sink over COLPAI works extension


Note to self: if I wanted this to be cheery column about the little acts of kindness that are making life bearable on Golden Lane Estate during lock down I should have written it over the weekend when there’s some respite from the incessant noise, fumes and dust from the COLPAI construction site.

When the Government announced an extension of construction hours to 9pm in residential areas our collective hearts sank and our cortisol levels peaked.

Despite the guidelines being clear and excluding ‘densely populated areas’ where ‘impacts would be unreasonable’ we know COLPAI has a touch of the Cummings about it – normal rules have never seemed to apply.

Resident Cllr Pearson immediately asked the Corporation for reassurance that an extension would not be granted or even sought.

It wasn’t really forthcoming – ‘unlikely’ doesn’t pass muster when to quote a resident, ‘the noise from the site has kettled me and my mental health issues into an ever decreasing small space’.

What to do? Neighbours realised sharing their troubles with each other wasn’t going to be enough, we had to dig deep and with Mental Health Awareness week in mind we wrote about how badly we were being affected whilst confined to barracks.

The word ‘torture’ popped up more than once… and then we had to sell our emotional souls and go public, running the risk that we might be ignored, and fearing just how devastating that would be.

news london

NOW READ: TfL branded “unsafe” by ex-board member who blasts lack of PPE

On Wednesday last week COLPAI received our open letter with thirty personal testimonies and were asked to show some empathy and ‘confirm absolutely you will not under any circumstance apply for an extension of works to 9pm for the duration of the works’.

Too late – their application had already been submitted… the added irony being that ISG, the COLPAI contractor, has a three year charity partnership with Mental Health UK. Thankfully the application was rejected. Fingers crossed Taylor Wimpey London won’t even consider making an application for the Denizen.

So back to where I wanted to start – little acts of kindness. It’s what’s keeping us all sane(ish). The Golden Baggers, the estate’s allotment group brought a big smile to the estate a couple of weekends ago with their big pot plant giveaway.

Every resident across the estate was gifted a pot plant delivered with a door step chat from a neighbour. A physically distanced, rubber gloved, hand sanitized but definitely social event. Cortisol down, endorphin up.

Next weekend we’re looking forward to the start of Radio Local who’ll be broadcasting their hour long lunchtime show across two weeks.

Listen out for a couple of well known Golden Lane Estate Local Legends including this column’s predecessor, Billy Mann. A few of our key workers have become takeaway critics… There’s still time to get involved and you can find info on the Culture Mile website.

Send them a Mealtime Memo, 10 minutes of whatever passes as mealtime in your home. One of our young residents currently undergoing chemotherapy has recorded the flushing of his feeding tube. Bravo, young man! Way to go.

For the latest headlines from the City of London and beyond, follow City Matters on TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.