Whoa, whoa, whoa, OK, OK, enough -
You're all absolutely right, Walmer Crescent is a mess. The block on the western end, No 18, the ex Amber 'Guest House' (actually used for DSS temporary accommodation) was burnt out on Christmas Eve three years ago (allegedly after the then owners were refused a multi-occupancy licence). Now it sits there, all broken-windowed, scruffily boarded-up, derelict, attracting graffiti, litter, general dross and encouraging people to treat the place like a dump.
The new owner has got planning permission to convert it into four flats (it's big, ground floor and basement, 5/6 big rooms on each floor, so that's probably about the best practical solution), but nothing's happening.
You can help. Write to the council and ask what they're doing about using the listed building legislation to get the owner to get a move on.
"No residents willing or active enough to......." ??
I'm a fairly new resident, but there are people who have lived here for decades, and have struggled and struggled while everything decayed round them, absentee landlords, multi-occupied flats, back court (which is one big open area for the whole Crescent) invaded by vandals any time they tried to do work to keep it decent. There are more resident owners now (probably helped by the astonishing price you have to pay for a flat in 'nicer' parts of the city - you still get quite a lot of space for your money here comparatively speaking), but one of the challenges is that the Crescent is made up of six different tenement buildings (not counting the continuation round into Cessnock Street), each of which has 6 to 8 separate flats, all with different owners. There are still some owners who don't want to make any kind of contribution, even in their own building. But we have started to work on things that will make a difference.
Grants for repairs aren't straightforward - in theory they do exist, but to get a grant any repairs have to be done to 'conservation standard' so as well as having to jump through the bureaucratic hoops, it's going to cost you more than doing a normal repair would without any grant.
So we're starting with things that are easier to do. One reason (besides No. 18 ) the place looks a tip is the state of the strip of ground behind the parade of shops on Paisley Road West. There are weeds and scrappy bushes that provide cover for idiots with drinks and drugs and weak bladders. Windblown litter from the whole of Paisley Road West (it often seems) gets trapped there; bottles, cans, syringes, fast food debris get chucked there. The council is completely useless - puts up notices saying 'This is a monitored site, maximum fine £10,000' (Ho Ho), doesn't empty the litter bins nearly often enough, and, the final crowning masterpiece - for an 'A' listed building, conservation area, route to subway station, row of shops that attracts lunching school children like gannets - when the street cleaners do come round (maybe once a week) they do a good job, mostly, on the road and pavement, but refuse to pick up any litter from the strip of ground behind the shops (for those who don't know the area, it's like a strip of verge) because, they say, it's 'private property'. And of course, the messier it gets, the more stuff people fling there.
But do not despair! And come and help (as well as by writing to the council about No. 18 ), if you like. The newly fledged Walmer Crescent Association has been organising litter pick-ups. Come and join us, say hello, pick up some rubbish (gloves, litter-pickers and bags provided) get that warm glow from doing something good. That's on the first Saturday of every month, 10.00 am to noon. Look forward to meeting you.
It does make a difference. And it's just the start...