People in shared ownership units say they are being segregated
The 'Poor Door' (Right) With The Bins Next Door
Furious families living near London’s Sky Pool have to enter their flats through a ‘poor door’ leading to a lobby that stinks of rubbish.
Nine Elms in Battersea is home to the US Embassy along with flats, restaurants and a clear, 25-metre-long pool bridged between two buildings 35 metres high. The pool opened in May 2021.
Only exclusive Embassy Gardens members are able to use the Sky Pool and full property owners get access to luxurious entrances. But those in shared ownership homes must use the so-called ‘poor door’.
The plan to build the pool was announced back in 2015 by Irish developer Ballymore, but was dismissed initially as a PR stunt. Ballymore later sold the building to Optivo, which is now responsible for maintaining it.
The View Of The Sky Pool From Simon's Flat
Simon, a shared ownership resident of almost three years in the Legacy Building in Nine Elms, who did not want to give a last name, said, “We feel segregated. [The entrance] is right next to the bin room, this is a good smell actually, usually it’s 10 times worse.
“It’s just unloved and I don’t know what we can do to try to get Optivo to help.”
Simon says he and other residents have offered to pay to fix up the lobby area – a corridor with scratches on the walls – but nothing has happened.
The 39-year-old added, “I’ve always been really happy with the flat, the courtyard, the views, all perfect.
“But Optivo are not responsive. I don’t think it’s very much for us to ask as a collective group of 69 apartments to have a lick of paint and re-do the doors.”
Simon pointed out scuffs on the walls and dirty floors and said Optivo are supposed to come once a week to clean.
He said, “It’s more of a sense of pride when you bring friends or family up here. Optivo could do so much more with it.”
A Sneak Peak Of A Shared Ownership Flat
Shared ownership residents don’t have access to some of the facilities on the site, such as the famous Sky Pool.
Simon said, “We all knew what we signed up for but I guess you hope maybe you’ll be able to pay for the gym – we get no amenities whatsoever. It’s a very segregated community.”
Dave Kew, a resident of the same block, said, “The main issue is having us backing on to the building site and using our road as the service road.
“The windows were not cleaned for the first year we were here yet to the point we barely see anything out of a £290 a month service charge.
“It’s kind of the price you have to pay to live in Central London.”
The Noisy Contruction Site Opposite
The 34-year-old said the bin smell “does come into our lobby, it’s not the best of designs, they’ve clearly tried to fit us in as closely as possible”.
He also criticised the security of the shared staircase where delivery drivers and himself have been known to lock themselves in.
He added, “Generally getting Optivo or Ballymore to respond to anything is a nightmare.”
A spokesperson from Optivo said, “We’re aware of scuff marks in communal areas at 7 Ace Way. We’ve asked our team of cleaners to focus on these areas during their regular visits to this block.
“We’re unable to allow residents to decorate communal areas themselves due to health and safety and liability insurance purposes. However, we’re always happy to discuss any issues with our residents in order to get these resolved.”
They added, “Our estate services team visit the site regularly to ensure the location around the homes (including bins) are clean and tidy. We’re aware there is an occasional odour in communal areas due to the configuration of the building. We’ve installed automated air fresheners to help alleviate this.”
“If residents have any further queries, we encourage them to get in touch.”
Wandsworth councillors have been contacted for comment.
James Mayer - Local Democracy Reporter
August 18, 2021