Now that's not to say that I have been feeling sorry for myself recently, in fact quite the opposite, but todays events still have an impact.
Early this afternoon I received word that a building local to where I live had collapsed, causing a major incident. The building in question, 14 Waldram Park Road, SE23 has recently been undergoing renovation or conversion to flats if you may. Over recent months I have been repeatedly alarmed by the way the building has been treated. The largest of these concerns was the removal of almost the entire front of the building.
Being that the same company owns the land next to my house ( the scene of a previous collapse hence only being a plot of land now ), I have followed their work and plans very closely. Their recent application to build on the land was refused on the basis of trying to cram too many flats into the proposed building, aka greed!
Now today, early this afternoon a large number of emergency service vehicles including the London Air Ambulance, descended upon 14 Waldram to attend another collapse, this time a partial collapse at the rear of the property. Sadly, in spite of so many professionals attending, they were unable to save the life of the Vietnamese man injured in the incident.
On my arrival home this evening, the curious part of me insisted on visiting the site (not knowing at this time that someone had perished). Moments after arriving I was alarmed by the arrival of a private ambulance (black van) which only means one thing. Sure enough a few minutes later the men returned with the body of the deceased.
Its moments like that you do a reality check (one-two, one-two) and realise that for all your worries and woes, YOU HAVE LIFE! No money or happiness, no success or privilege can give a life. It is precious, and a gift, and something not to be taken for granted.
My heart goes out to the family of the deceased. I hope they are taken care of, and their loved ones departure is not in vain.
On the flip side I hope to hell and back that someone takes the fall for this "accident". Given the track record of the previous owners of the property, Earlsfield Estates, and seemingly the recklessness of the new owners, Mincove Global, it is about time someone was held to account for this constant abuse of building and planning regulation. Let alone the poor standard of building and construction.
Emails were exchanged between myself and Lewisham planning, building control and indeed the mayors office a few months ago, raising my concerns at the state of the building, the unsafe practises, and a number of other issues, such as damage to public property. But all that became of these was notice that there would be no intervention unless it was believed the structure was unsafe.
An apparent change in regulation recently allows developers to nominate their own building officer, taking the responsibility away from the local authority. Sadly in this case, regardless of my concerns, Lewisham were not willing to make an inspection, and allowed the developers to keep it in-house. A costly decision?
So I leave you with a picture of the site of the incident, at the time the private ambulance arrived.
RIP lost soul. And condolences to the family of the deceased.
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