Ten minutes’ walk from here, the Duchess of Cornwall was being offered canapes at a Queens House reception. At the same time, flowers and candles were being placed at the site of Sunday’s shooting in Banning Street, while friends, neighbours and passers-by paused to reflect.
I’ve written about this area before. Behind these hoardings once stood Lovell’s Wharf. Some years ago, the industrial buildings were swept away, along with the riverside path behind it. Last year, the first housing on the site was occupied, and earlier this year other blocks were opened on Banning Street. It’s a mixed development – plush riverside homes on one side, opposite affordable and social housing.
But the rest of the site has been abandoned by developers London & Regional Properties and Durkan Homes. The riverside path has been destroyed, and behind those hoardings now lies a huge, unguarded, pool of dirty water. A bumpy, unfinished road curls through the development, with crumbling yards on one side and brand new housing on the other.
Terrible crimes like this can happen anywhere – it’s only a few month since a man’s body was found in a burnt-out car in a lane behind swish housing off Blackheath. What Angerstein Lane and Banning Street have in common, though, is that they are isolated corners.
The brochure at liveatlovells.com promises the “lightness and luxury of riverside living”, but older residents will know that riverside living, down by the wharves or down by the docks, had a darker side too. Sunday’s tragedy was an awful reminder of that.
Until the Lovell’s Wharf development is finished, and London & Regional Properties ends its neglect of the project, the area’s going to remain a favourite for shady dealings and those who’d like to stay out of sight.