Labour Lambeth’s eviction of 40-year-old housing co-ops has cost the borough nearly £2m. (*1)
The evictions have seen the displacement of the elderly and vulnerable, among other long-term residents, and have been described as “a shameful episode in Lambeth housing policy” by local MP Kate Hoey.
While local Labour councillors dismiss the idea of gentrification being social cleansing as “bollocks” (Cllr Ed Davie) the developers who buy the ex co-op houses gloat about:
“These once modest artisans cottages are now resided in by wealthy individuals attracted by the excellent and exclusive location, they have more demanding requirements.” (*2)
“The building was originally a modest artisan residence, but now due to its excellent location, much more wealthy individuals are residing along the road.” (*2)
Incredibly it is a Labour Council that has opened the door to this speculator feeding frenzy, and its vindictive policy has been criticised by a number of politicians and public figures including Cllr Helen O’Malley (before she was deselected for speaking her mind), John McDonnell MP, Karl Turner MP, Matthew Taylor, Mark Seddon, John Pilger, Mark Thomas, Vivienne Westwood, Maggi Hambling, Joanna Lumley, and Ken Loach.
Among various local people opposed to the council’s vindictive policy one wrote:
“Even I, who’ve profited enormously from the sell-off of these properties, now think it’s gone far enough. Lib Peck should be publicly flogged for allowing this to happen on her watch after she had the chance to change Steve Reed’s short-sighted policy on ‘short-life’ and the ensuing destruction of these long established communities all for a measly few million. The developers/private landlords will be rubbing their hands with glee, I think they saw her coming…” (3*)
To make matters worse, Labour’s housing spokesman Cllr Matt Bennett told Labour councillors not to contact Lambeth United Housing Co-operative (*4) the group that has put a social housing plan in front of the council on numerous occasions and identified £13m savings if the evictions stop.
Before this dictatorial communication shut-down, we were told by Labour:
“We have reminded colleagues and officers that some of these homes would not be standing if it was not for the work of the people living in them.” (*5)
“It would be senseless as well as expensive to evict people only to have to re-house them again.” (*5)
“Labour will continue to fight for your right to stay in your home.”(*5)
These words are now meaningless and Lambeth’s Labour council is spending millions on evictions and refusing to engage with some of the borough’s longest-term residents.
Shame on Lambeth, shame on Labour.
Lambeth United Housing Co-operative
1. On costs:
2. The comments made by local developers:
3. Comment made on our petition – http://chn.ge/16PkKwv
4. Cllr Bennett’s clamp-down on discourse:
5. Promises and assurances made by local Labour councillors