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Rooftop battle hots up in East End’s concrete jungle

PUBLISHED: 18:32 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 05 October 2010

Teatime on the patio... welcome haven from urban life

Teatime on the patio... welcome haven from urban life

A BATTLE to a keep rooftop patio which has become a haven for families in the middle of East London’s concrete jungle’ has blown up between tenants and their social landlords. The families living at John Nettlefold House above a supermarket in Bethnal Green have been tending their makeshift patio garden for nearly 30 years

By Else Kvist

A BATTLE to a keep rooftop patio which has become a haven for families in the middle of East London’s concrete jungle’ has blown up between tenants and their social landlords.

The families living at John Nettlefold House above a supermarket in Bethnal Green have been tending their makeshift patio garden for nearly 30 years.

But now the tarmac roof is leaking into the Tesco store below and needs fixing.

The tenants cannot continue using it as a community patio, says Tower Hamlets Community Housing, unless they help pay for any future maintenance and possibly replacing the roof itself.

CONCERTE HAVEN’

“It’s a concrete jungle round here,” said one tenant, Julie Stoker.

“But we have created a beautiful haven with plants, flowers, lighting and garden furniture and sheds.

“It brings us all together, something a lot of others round here don’t have.”

Damage to the roof which has had no major repairs in 30 years had been caused by the sun rather than residents’ use of it, the tenants insist.

MAINTENANCE

Their housing association landlords said there was a “definite possibility” residents can keep their patio, but only if they’re willing meet the cost of roof maintenance.

A stronger roof would need to be put down if they wanted to keep garden furniture on the patio, they have told the tenants—even though Tesco say the patio garden on their roof is not a problem for the store.

A meeting has been planned for residents and the housing association to try and thrash out a deal.

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