It’s unacceptable

The appalling and unacceptable way The Heritage site has been allowed to disintegrate and rot over four years were key points in the leading article in last week’s Observer: Act now to get rid of the eyesore we live with.

First and foremost this is what is now required: Hyde Martlet’s urgent and immediate action which they’ve failed to take.

However, we must never lose sight of the human cost in all of this; not only to the residents of Winden Avenue (whom the article concerned) but the many past residents of The Heritage.

Up until five years ago, Winden Avenue and The Heritage were one community. We knew each other, had chats over front gardens, our Heritage neighbours told us some of their life experiences; their joys and sorrows; nursing a loved one; tending their front gardens; going fishing; having a sense of belonging; a trip down to Nas and Carol’s (long gone) wonderful post office.

Five years ago our shared community was shattered when Heritage residents received letters informing them of their impending moves and many told me of their distress, unhappiness and anger.

The current unforgivable insult to them is that five years on, their homes are derelict with smashed windows, boarded doors and even an upright vacuum cleaner – which must once have belonged to a resident – discarded on the ground outside where it’s been for some considerable time.

This is the human cost when some individuals and organisations directly responsible for the needs of others, lose sight of the importance of people, each other and communities.

We all need to have a sense of belonging, connection – to be needed and valued.

We all need to live in a physical environment which is nurturing and supportive of our well-being.

In my view, the mishandling of The Heritage will remain a tragic legacy on Chichester’s social conscience.

I deeply regret not speaking out at the time when residents told me what was happening.

I’ll not allow myself to fall into the trap of inaction again over causes I also feel passionately about.

We all need to take responsibility for each other – particularly those more vulnerable in our communities and in an increasingly materialistic and money-driven society.

‘Do as you would be done by’ – or ‘Is that the way YOU would like others to treat YOU?’

Chris North

Winden Avenue, Chichester