Many many thanks to those of you who have redressed the balance in TOILETGATE. Nobody has ever laid claim that Plumstead is a picture of urban utopia, but some have better experiences than others.
One lovely listener has commented with such positive energy that I'm going to vote for her in the next local elections (whether she stand or not).
Sorry Dr Pangloss but I’m going to lead off alarming, please humour me…
Plumstead undoubtedly has it's share of woes and sadly certain areas do experience more problems than others. I sympathise with those who believe Plumstead has become “a toilet”. If I’m honest there are a few areas for which this is a good description. In contrast, there are some very beautiful and well-cared-for spots. Perhaps those of us who are involved with caring for the local environment should take this on board and organise some “familiarisation visits”, rather like Nick did as part of the Green Chain celebrations. This way, old/sick/isolated/frightened folk like Anonymous can share the delights of Plumstead’s natural environment in safety and get to meet others who do too.
To my mind, and as previously pointed out on this blog, numbers do make the difference. To give an example, there are some Glyndon estate residents who endure continuous ASB problems with drug dealers and related crimes. To help counter this they formed themselves into a residents’ association and now have the attention of GBC councillors and the Met’s safer neighbourhood team. It would be naïve to think that this solves all their problems, it doesn’t, it simply helps keep up the fight. It also gives them a voice, helps them feel less isolated, and gives them some level of control. We should be glad of these efforts because problems quickly spread out into neighbouring areas and ultimately gives us all issues with crime and safety.
Wearing my Girl Guides hat, I’d like to say that if you feel strongly about our problems then think about getting involved with a local group like the PCEG or one of the residents’ associations. If Plumstead doesn’t have a collective voice then it’s difficult as individuals to demand action from the authorities. Before I joined the PCEG, I used to just sit at home and moan about everything. Now, although I still moan about everything, I at least get involved with doing something practical about our problems. I’ve also met a great bunch of other locals and it has made me realise that lots of people do care about what happens to Plumstead.