Cressingham Gardens, in Brixton, held Tenants & Residents Association-guided tours of the communal gardens on this greenest of estates, while ASH facilitated a pilot workshop with residents on the potential redevelopment of blocks of flats which, to Lambeth Council’s shame, have stood empty and bricked up for sixteen years.
The focus of Cressingham Garden’s hosting of Open Garden Estates was their wonderful communal gardens, managed by Nick, Fatima and Pamela, among others. We started the tour at the recently installed and opened rain gardens, suitably apt for a British summer, but happily not in use that day! Passing by the luxurious edible gardens, Nick showed us his semi-private garden where the seeds are incubated and seedlings prepared for planting, and Pamela showed us the worms at work in the compost.
The ASH workshop at Cressingham Gardens was run by Georgie and Emily. This focused on Cressingham’s extensive green spaces and gave us a chance to be briefed by residents and members of the Save Cressingham Gardens campaign, and to begin talking with others about important parts and issues on the estate as well as understanding their own involvement with the campaign.
During the afternoon older children experimented with photographing, filming and recording various parts of Cressingham, and ASH was given a tour by a resident of nine years in his electric wheelchair to plot out potential new access routes.
The last part of the workshop was a very enjoyable drawing session with the very youngest residents. Maybe not a ‘consultation’ in itself, nevertheless sessions like this are are hugely valuable in understanding community dynamics, how residents use the estate currently, and most simply in providing an activity for kids over which parents can talk, discuss resisting demolition, and learn more about the campaign if they are new to the community or, as in one case, just meeting their neighbours for the first time.