1973 Life is hell for the forgotten residents of Chapel Road

The view from the houses in Chapel Road

The view from the houses in Chapel Road

From the Mitcham and Collier’s Wood Gazette, January 1973

Life is hell for the `forgotten’ residents

PEOPLE living under the shadow of redevelopment in Chapel-road, Mitcham, claimed this week that the area was being over-run with rats. And they protested that empty houses in the area were a target for vandals.

“We all had a letter last September telling us that the council were buying the houses under a compulsory purchase order and that we were to be rehoused” said 59-years-old Mrs Beatrice Tee.

“But since then—nothing. Just rumours. We live on rumours while the road and our homes go to rack and ruin.” She said several tenants had moved out leaving a row of empty homes which were making life hell for the people who were left.

“The children play in them and break the windows. In one, they dislodged a pipe and water was pouring out of it for nine weeks.”

Her neighbour Mrs Daisy Reeve, aged 51, has lived in Chapel-road for 31 years. “We wonder whats going to happen to us. The council seem to have forgotten this road—even the dustman neglect us and we are lucky if we get our rubbish collected once a fortnight.” she said.

Pensioner Mrs Annie Blackburn, aged 83, has lived in Chapel-road for 50 years. “We had loads of rats running along the road last week. This street seems to have become a dump for everyone to leave their rubbish.” she said.

Agents for the houses are Fair Bedford of Southall, “we appreciate that the tenants are in a difficult situation and we would like the council to take the houses over as soon as possible. The owner is in the same state of uncertainty as the tenants” said a spokesman.

Chapel-road lies within an area due to be developed by the Greater London Council ex-plained Merton’s Deputy Town Clerk Mr Geoffrey Norris.

“We are acquiring the property on behalf of the GLC and at the moment are waiting for a date for a public inquiry from the Department of the Environment” he said.

“We expect this be to in April and it is likely that a decision will be made in the autumn Redevelopment will then start.”

He said he would look into the complaints.

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