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Saturday, September 02, 2006

School Road, Anderton Park Road, September 2006

This started out as the piece on demolitions, but has been sidetracked a bit. I haven't searched through my files for older photos showing the buildings before they were knocked down, but want to post the photos I took this morning while I can justify spending the few minutes it'll take to make a note about each. What the post ends up as is a short tour of the School Road site, plus a couple of places along Anderton Park Road. School Road This site hasn't changed much over the last 3 months. The white metal panels lean in and out as the wind and/or people have pushed them. The site is flattened to the point of barrenness: not much to discover in poking around. A bit surprising given the character of the old building. So what remains is the garden border: some interesting, if uncared-for plants.   This last one, the Sedum, is an old favourite. It's nice to see it thriving on its own. Anderton Park Road There's a new electricity substation near the top end of the road. It's a bit of a mystery, as the site seems to have been carved out of a former residential property. The brick pillar on the left seems part of the remodeled house/flats on the corner of Wake Green Road, while the loose stonework on the right seems to be the result of ripping out a portion of wall to provide a driveway for the new structure. While the substation occupies a slice along one side of the site, the centre and majority of the site is open ground. I suspect this is the remains of whatever building was here formerly. One bit of evidence to that effect is the garage on the right. The stone in the foreground looks like bits of the front wall. Would be nice to see them put back in place. The bricks scattered about may or may not be house bricks. There weren't all that many, and they looked like they could have been part of a pillar as much as part of a wall. I'll have to take a closer look for evidence of house materials. Note that the earth is a heap, indicating that something was either brought in as tipping, or is the remains of whatever occupied the site. The garage itself is a clue, and a mystery. It is separated from the adjacent building by a hedge and a wooden fence. I think it belongs to this property. But the roof is new, which suggests that the former property was still viable enough to justify this bit of renovation. So what happened?

The missing tiles and the bit of guttering that's fallen away could be tornado damage, and the hedge is clearly overgrown, perhaps by a few years. The missing glass and the buildup of detritus at the lower right is an indication of prior neglect, but not unusually so. A lot of outbuildings are left in similar condition. But the brickwork is in good shape, as are the majority of roof tiles. The mess on the ground is pretty clearly related to the demolition/construction work rather than a clue to the former character of the site. 

Neither the site nor the building are secured, which means that anything that can be used as shelter will be used as shelter, and here's the proof: a foam mattress and a padded jacket. The big heap of rubbish clothing is not so easily explained. it doesn't seem to be the result of someone making off with a bag of clothes meant for a charity shop. But why would there be so much clothing in an otherwise abandoned house/property? It's not likely to be fly-tipping. Too neatly stored inside a building. The bags of cement are either hoarded by the current occupant, or stored by construction workers keeping them out of the rain. Not likely that they're leftovers from former owner. Here's the explanation I've been looking for. Fire damage. If this is the remains of a house fire, it explains why the house is gone, in a way that includes an explanation for the new garage roof. But perhaps this is a fire set by a rough sleeper. I kinda doubt it. Will have to go back and look for more clues either way. Let's leave that for now and continue on to Sorrento Hospital. First, an aside regarding the way shrubs are overhanging the footpath, and, coincident with a couple of inconsiderate car owners, pretty well constrict movement along the footpath. Time for a polite notice to the hedge owner. Not that I'd expect a polite response. It's just one more way of applying pressure on the landlord. This property is in sad shape, and seems to be getting worse. It's exactly the kind of property that should be the focus of that new law about places unoccupied for longer than 6 months. I forget what action has been taken so far, but clearly, it hasn't produced any results. We're also seeing evidence of fly-tipping. One last shot: the tree downed in last year's tornado is still there; clear evidence of inaction. while it's obvious that the tree isn't obstructing anyone's passage, nor is it interfering with use of the property, the point is that the property should be in use, and the tree will have to be dealt with as part of bringing it back into use. New plywood on some of the windows and doors is not all that recent, therefore not indicative of current activity. I think it may have gone up last year. In any case, there's plenty of older plywood up there too, meaning that this building has been in limbo for a long time. I think there may also be something notable about the deterioration of brickwork on the facade. If the place is crumbling, it's partly due to the lack of maintenance, which is again an issue of inaction.