Sunday, September 19, 2010

For Art's Sake

I’d have loved it if Banksy were making a point about the immorality of leaving homes empty. I don’t think it’s him. But somebody is. Whoever they are they have turned an empty house into an artwork contrasting the number of empty homes in the area to the number of homeless. Pots of imitation flowers now adorn the house, and in the front garden a cut out couple appear to be enjoying an alfresco meal. A notice board on the garden fence simply says Homeless 9,500  Empty Homes 7,600.

The house is one of several on Burntwood lane in Wandsworth belonging to the local health authority. All have sat empty for as long as I can remember. I lived near them fifteen years ago and they were empty then. Nothing has changed.
Over the years I have written to the health authority, to the council, and to the MP  asking why these houses could not be used. Only the council bothered to reply and their answer was so wet they might as well have not troubled themselves.  They said they didn’t want to put undue pressure on the health authority because they were considering closing the local hospital. 

Wandsworth is an area with acute housing need, one of the highest affordability problems in the country and yes over 9,000 households on the council waiting list.
One might hope that this artwork might at least pull at some heartstrings in the health authority or the council. But apparently not, a rather sour faced council response said:

1 comment:

  1. I'm a FTB and would love a project like this, Wandsworth told me I would have to buy in their auctions and go up against property developers. I want to live in it, not make profit. The system is definitely flawed.