Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Stop social cleansing! The Less Well-Off are being driven from their Homes.

with 8 comments

Normally we concentrate on issues to do with the DWP.

But this is something happening all over London – a mere hour on the train from Ipswich –  that concerns the unemployed and working class people generally.

Naturally anybody on Housing Benefit……

I know because my friends are affected.

From Labour Briefing.

Simon Hewitt, Hendon CLP, reports on the fight against gentrification on a north London estate

IF YOU GO TO THE WEBSITE FOR BARRATT HOMES ‘Hendon Waterside’ development, you’re greeted by arty shots of luxurious apartments and panoramic views over lakeland scenery. It all looks very nice. What the website carelessly fails to mention is that the site of Hendon Waterside is currently occupied by a council estate. Gentrification has come to north London, enthusiastically invited by a Tory council whose concern for its less well-off residents is decidedly minimal.

The West Hendon Estate, which got a mention in April’s Briefing, is currently home to a mixture of leaseholders, secure and temporary council tenants. Since that last piece, the extent of the threat to West Hendon has become clearer, and resistance to it more intense. The building of the approximately 2,000 apartments that will replace these residents’ homes is well under way. Local people are getting used to living on a building site. The noise and vibration from construction is a constant nuisance throughout the day.

WHEBut for many residents there could be a lot worse to come. Compulsory purchase orders are beginning to be issued. A good proportion are going to be forced to move off an estate that has been home to some families for decades. Leaseholders are being offered a laughable amount for their homes. The figure of £165,000 for a two bedroom flat has been quoted. This is well below market price, and won’t allow homeowners to remain in London.

Meanwhile, temporary tenants have absolutely no guarantee of remaining in the area, let alone on the estate, and there is a real fear among many that they will be rehoused out of London. Children will be taken away from their schools, workers from their jobs, the elderly and vulnerable from vital support and friendship networks. The website for Barnet Homes, an ALMO for the council, tells these tenants “If alternative accommodation is offered, the actual notice period before you need to move may be as little as one week.”

The indignities of this ‘regeneration’ don’t stop with insecurity and displacement. Those residents who get to remain on the estate will be housed away from the prime luxury flats. These will overlook the Welsh Harp reservoir and nature reserve, a view currently enjoyed by local people regardless of ability to pay. Social division is being built into the very architecture of the new development.

Residents are not taking all this lying down. Our West Hendon is a self-organised group of local people campaigning against their treatment at the hands of the council and developers. They have united people across tenure types, and have done great work in the past few months – raising awareness and petitioning for a fair deal for temporary tenants. More recently they have stepped up their action, blocking the entrance to the site for developers on several occasions. The group has also been present at other housing protests in London – the situation in West Hendon is far from unique, and solidarity with others experiencing similar attacks is vital.

OWHTime is running out for the residents of West Hendon, with compulsory purchase orders and eviction notices being served. The only realistic way they can win any concessions at this late stage is by maximising the threat to both the developers’ profits and the council’s reputation. This needs urgent and concerted action, and this in turn needs support. It is absolutely essential that people throughout the labour movement give their full support to Our West Hendon. Along with the Focus E15 Mothers campaign in East London, this group is spearheading the fight against social cleansing under the guise of regeneration.

The battle for West Hendon highlights a host of issues around the politics of housing. The scarcity of council housing means that councils can present tenancies as a privilege, making it easier for them to treat tenants in a way that would have been considered unacceptable just a few years ago. Nor is the social cleansing accidental: a Barnet Tory councillor responded to the comment that only the wealthy would be able to live in new homes in the borough with the words “and those are the people we want”. At the heart of all of this, however, is the prioritising of private profit over the human need for housing. Until that is addressed, there will be many more West Hendons.

Labour Briefing

Simon Hewitt, Hendon CLP, reports on the fight against gentrification on a north London estate

IF YOU GO TO THE WEBSITE FOR BARRATT HOMES ‘Hendon Waterside’ development, you’re greeted by arty shots of luxurious apartments and panoramic views over lakeland scenery. It all looks very nice. What the website carelessly fails to mention is that the site of Hendon Waterside is currently occupied by a council estate. Gentrification has come to north London, enthusiastically invited by a Tory council whose concern for its less well-off residents is decidedly minimal.

The West Hendon Estate, which got a mention in April’s Briefing, is currently home to a mixture of leaseholders, secure and temporary council tenants. Since that last piece, the extent of the threat to West Hendon has become clearer, and resistance to it more intense. The building of the approximately 2,000 apartments that will replace these residents’ homes is well under…

View original post 605 more words

Advertisements

Written by Andrew Coates

December 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I SEEM TO ONCE REMEMBER THAT [I MAYBE WRONG] THAT SOME LOCAL AUTHORITIES WERE ONCE THINKING THAT IF PARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE BEHAVING BADLY DID NOTHING ABOUT IT OR HAD TROUBLE STOPPING IT THEY COULD BE EVICTED AND SENT TO [SINK SIC] ESTATES OUT OF THE AREA. I ALSO SEEM TO REMEMBER THAT IF SOME CHILDREN WERE PERFORMING BADLY AT SCHOOL OR MISBEHAVING SOME IN WORK OR OUT OF WORK BENEFITS COULD BE SANCTIONED. COLLECTIVE GUILT SO TOO SPEAK. ANYBODY ELSE REMEMBER THIS OR THE OUTCOMES ?

    NORTHOLT

    December 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

    • GENTRIFIED ESTATES – THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

      “NORTHOLT”, you’re quite right, the idea of banishing anti-social people has been around for some time.

      You would do well to look at the French word “BANLIEUE”, which describes the type of peripheral ghetto where undesirables are sent to.

      If there is going to be “social cleansing” of big expensive cities to create gentrified estates for the rich, there must also be places where the evictees are sent.

      Have a look at this report:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/9719247/Amsterdam-to-create-scum-villages.html

      Of course, the Nazis took it a stage further by incarcerating the “ARBEITSSCHEU” in concentration camps. The Arbeitsscheu included the “asocial”, homeless people, alcoholics, the mentally ill and the disabled.

      Tobanem

      December 6, 2014 at 9:20 am

      • Moreover, it was said that the aim of the “Localism Bill” (the legislative framework of the Big Society), is to destroy council housing and create a multi-tiered housing market dominated by private sector interests. This will create new transient populations in cities shifting from one area to another.

        In other words, the future of social housing (or “punishment housing camps”) is one one of means-tested, time-limited, poverty ridden transit camps.

        For more on this (including rent rises etc) see:

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/may/18/localism-bill-social-housing

        Tobanem

        December 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

  2. Banlieue simply means suburb – beyond the ‘ban’ (command) of the city (word has same medieval origins as the English ban).

    I worked in one – commuting from Montmartre to Enghein le Bains – a Spa, Casino and famous restaurant are there.

    Though as my job was teaching English inside companies it took me to some of the more infamous banlieues (estates) – believe me you really would not want to live there!

    Andrew Coates

    December 6, 2014 at 10:00 am

    • Andrew

      It was your latter use of the word banlieue – describing the “infamous” peripheral ghettoes where the “socially cleansed” are sent – that I had in mind in my above post!

      Tobanem

      December 6, 2014 at 10:26 am

  3. Ed Balls is wholly right.

    “I don’t think this would be the kind of country I want to live in, a kind of society where people hide behind fences because there are no neighbourhood police or a society where children born from less privileged backgrounds have no chance of catching up. I don’t want to live in a society where people cannot afford national insurance because there is no health service to look after them when they are sick, or a kind of society that has to retreat from our international obligations. That is where Osborne is taking us.”

    Though I suppose the well-off would have private security guards to protect them, and no doubt some servants supplied by the ‘Community Work Programme’.

    Andrew Coates

    December 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm

  4. Unemployed dad auctions himself on eBay to raise cash for Christmas presents

    Read more: http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Unemployed-dad-auctions-eBay-raise-cash-Christmas/story-25266030-detail/story.html#ixzz3L9jMe12J
    Follow us: @GlosCitizen on Twitter | GlosCitizen on Facebook

    super ted

    December 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: