DON’T think the debate over what will become of the Holly Lodge Estate in Highgate is over. Labour in Camden now admits it may have to sell off some of the bedsits to pay for refurbishment. Opponents say: Waydaminute, you promised not to sell any council flats at all – in fact you made an election dealbreaker out of it.
This issue may not have exploded into a full blown spat across the pages of local newspapers and council meetings in the last fortnight – blame summer. But this one still hangs on a short fuse. When politicians and newspaper readers come back from their holi-holidays and staycations, a full and no doubt feisty discussion is inevitable.
In the meantime, bedsits on what could be the most beautiful estate in London remain rotting, a portion left empty for years by councils of different political shades unable to pledge the investment needed to repair them. The lack of progress on the estate is so acute, the old council might as well have let stay the friendly neighbourhood squatters who once tended the gardens and smiled at the old folk living next door. As this old news footage shows – we know it’s old because it’s blotchy and Anna Maria Ashe is reading the cue for London Tonight – the residents just want the abandoned flats to go to waste no longer. They want their estate to tick as it was always intended.