Add your name: If you, as a Southwark resident, or a local community group or just a supporter from anywhere, would like to add your name to the list of supporters, please email here as soon as you can – if you are a resident, all you need to do is say is your first name and area you live in, eg John, Camberwell:
Statement on the occupation and housing action on Aylesbury Estate ( Friday 6th February):
Numerous Southwark housing campaigns and other local activists warmly welcome the ongoing occupation of a number of empty homes on the Aylesbury Estate. The current occupation of Chartridge block on the Aylesbury Estate has brought a much-needed spark of inspiration to local residents and housing campaigners.
Southwark Labour council has been publicly claiming how the Aylesbury was not going to be another Heygate, as ‘lessons have been learned‘. The Heygate Estate decant programme has been widely denounced as an exercise in both the undignified displacement of locals and initiating the gentrification of the Elephant & Castle. However, exactly like on the Heygate, Southwark has been displacing the Aylesbury residents out of their immediate area and subjecting leaseholders, many of them elderly people who’d lived in the area their whole lives, to unnecessarily brutal Compulsory Purchase Orders. Abysmally low offers for their homes are forcing them to leave their neighbourhood and communities for good.
The right of tenants to return to a ‘regenerated‘ Aylesbury would force them to take non-council tenancies in more expensive Housing Association flats, something many residents do not want. In 2001 a majority of Aylesbury residents voted ‘No’ in ballot on the Councils desire to transfer the estate out of council ownership. Not only is this ballot no longer being honoured, the Council has been unwilling to undertake a new ballot of residents on the question of refurbishment instead of a total demolition.
The Council attempts to dismiss the occupiers as ‘not representative‘ of the Aylesbury residents while claiming Southwark is building ‘more affordable homes than any other London borough‘. Council-backed developments such as the One The Elephant tower contain zero (0) ‘affordable‘ homes, let alone any social-rented ones.
Local people know that council-rented homes are the most affordable and secure. Promises by the Council to build 11,000 new council homes in the next 30 years have been met with hesitant support, with no guarantees that this will not simply involve demolitions of estates without residents being balloted.
In a borough that has some 18,000 people on the waiting list for council (and not housing association, nor ‘affordable‘) homes, none of the above can be tolerated any longer.
Since they reclaimed the homes on the Chartridge block, the Aylesbury occupiers have been holding public meetings every day at 6.30pm, and each meeting has been packed with neighbours from the estate itself, other Southwark residents and campaigners from across London. The occupation clearly highlights the disasters of Southwark’s own and London housing and development policies in which profit gained from land speculation comes way before the people whose homes and lives are destroyed in the process. ‘Ordinary’ Londoners, be they the Aylesbury occupiers, FocusE15 mothers or the New Era Estate residents, are showing that alternatives exist and they work.
Our homes are not for sale!
Alvey Tenants and Residents’ Association
Aylesbury Leaseholders Action Group
Aylesbury Tenants and Leaseholders First
Hawkstone High-rise Community Association
Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth
People’s Republic of Southwark
South London Renters
South London Revolutionary Communist Group
Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign
Southwark Defend Council Housing
Deb, East Dulwich
Hattie, East Dulwich
Joana, Elephant & Castle
Milena, Elephant & Castle
Tony, the Albert Triangle
Save Earl’s Court Supporters Club
Makers of Concrete Heart Land
Unite Community Waltham Forest
AST Guinness Trust (Brixton)
Lambeth Housing Activists
Anastasia Ahern, London
Byron Peter, Hackney
Deepa Naik, This is Not a Gateway
Elena Besussi, University College London
Eli Davies, Camden
Glyn Robbins, Unite Housing Workers branch
Hazel Emmons, Clapham
Heather B, Camden
Jane Crow, London
Janette Evans, Barnet
Jim Chynoweth, Epsom
Jim McDonald, Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH)
Lita Wallis, Hackney
Mark Winston, Focus E15 campaign
Matthew McQuillan, Clapton
Owen Hatherley, Woolwich
Paulette Singer, Barnet
Pilgrim Tucker, London
Rastko Novakovic, BFI Southbank BECTU branch
Tony Smetham, London
Trenton Oldfield, This is Not a Gateway
Add your name: If you, as a Southwark resident, or a local community group or just a supporter from anywhere, would like to add your name to the list of supporters, please email here as soon as you can – if you are a resident, all you need to do is say is your first name and area you live in, eg John, Camberwell.