I have lived in Chelsea for all of my life, as has my wife; in fact both sides of our families have lived in the area for at least five generations. I have been on the Sutton Estate, Chelsea for 53 years and I was a porter on the estate for 12 of those years.
I am of the opinion that the closure of 159 flats and the destruction of bathrooms amounts to vandalism and Clarion's statement that they demolished bathrooms and smashed windows in order to avoid anti-social behaviour is laced with irony; it would be funny if it weren't so awful and at a time when the need for affordable social housing in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has never been more pressing it must be remembered that the Sutton Estate, Chelsea was built specifically to meet that need early in the twentieth century. The terrible fire at Grenfell Tower has brought this matter into the public eye and RBKC is receiving much criticism.
It is my firm belief that the reinstatement of the 159 flats is vital and it would also bring some much needed positive publicity for the council. The appalling reality of the five year old boy who died of smoke inhalation in a flat on the Grenfell Estate is literally brought to my doorstep by the fact that his family was 'decanted' there: their flat here on the Sutton Estate still lies empty and must be seen as a terrible testament to a poor decision.
The proposed demolition of much of the estate and the destruction of the interior of flats has been openly criticised and connected to social cleansing (see The Mirror July 18th). This is a valid criticism and I urge those responsible for overseeing this appeal to reject Affinity Sutton's points and return the estate to the well cared for place it was before they took over.
I have dictated this letter to my son but all words are my own.