Residents of a neglected Catford estate marched on Lewisham Council in protest of living conditions they described as “squalid, unsafe and demeaning.”

Milford Towers, made up of four five-storey blocks with 276 flats, is set to be flattened in the near future to make way for the redevelopment of the council-owned Catford Shopping Centre.

Gathering outside Laurence House on Monday, residents highlighted the dilapidated and unsanitary state of communal areas, which have reportedly been taken over by drug users, calling for the council to intervene.

Prince, a Milford Towers resident, said: “It’s been a nightmare. I’ve lived here since 2013, and the best time up here was in the pandemic when the council was forced to house (those with drug dependency issues).

News Shopper: Pictures taken by residents of common areas (LRU)Pictures taken by residents of common areas (LRU)

“You can’t come in because you have to inhale whatever they’re smoking in the hallway, you have to step over faeces, the lifts here break quite often, and the stairs, well let’s put it this way, you would rather destroy your shoes than put them in your house after walking up the stairs”.

Lewisham Homes, which is run by the council, is responsible for the management of the wider estate, including communal areas, along with a small number of properties occupied by council tenants. 

In July, News Shopper revealed that the council spent nearly £1.7 million on repairs to the estate just three years ago.

News Shopper: Residents on the Milford Towers estate (LRU)Residents on the Milford Towers estate (LRU)

The majority of properties are leased to Notting Hill Genesis housing association, which is are responsible for their management and carrying out internal repairs.

The London Renters Union (LRU), a tenant’s union with more than 5000 members across the capital, organised the protest. 

Kane Shaw, an LRU organiser, stating: “The living conditions at Milford Towers are unacceptable.

"The residents have been ignored for years and we have seen shocking levels of disrepair and neglect from the council.

News Shopper: Pictures taken by residents of common areas (LRU)Pictures taken by residents of common areas (LRU)

In our opinion this outsourcing arrangement is driven by nothing other than greed”.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the issues raised by residents of Milford Towers and will be meeting with residents in due course to discuss their concerns.

“Lewisham Homes have carried out extensive repair works in recent years, investing several million pounds to ensure the safety and security of residents living on the estate.

“This has included external concrete repairs, refurbishment of the lifts and a programme of roof repair works which is scheduled to take place in the coming months. 

“Fire safety risk assessments are in place across all Lewisham Homes estates and Lewisham Homes meet regularly with the London Fire Brigade to review issues in relation to fire safety.

“We have been working closely with Lewisham Homes, Notting Hill Genesis and the local police to manage issues of anti-social behaviour, with increased police patrols on the estate and the surrounding area in recent months.

“We are also exploring legal options to prevent people suspected of anti-social behaviour from entering the estate.”