Below are the links for the South London Press coverage of our photo op with Vivienne Westwood, Kate Hoey, Mark Thomas and Maggi Hambling, including the original article of 7th March and the letters of 14th March.
Link to piece of 7th March here:
Link to letters page of 14th March here:
SLP letters 140314
The article highlights a number of key issues:
Lambeth again say money from the sale of co-op homes will be spent on new housing but they have no proof of this (remember they have ruled Freedom of Information requests on this as ‘vexatious’).
It’s important to remember that Lambeth Council never wanted us as tenants which is how the self-funding nature of co-ops came about (see: http://www.lambethunitedhousingco-op.org.uk/?page_id=828)
We have offered a Super Co-op social housing plan to the council on several occasions, versions of which would mean residents pay a social rent but would carry on with their own repairs, meaning that they were adding to the housing pot at one end and not taking away from it at the other. Given this, how Cllr Robbins can say that it would cost the council to keep us in our homes? As Kate Hoey says in the piece, however, there should be the option to become full council tenants on the table too.
Cllr Robbins mentions that some of the houses are English Heritage listed. It is only because of the actions of, first, the Clapham Society (members of which have supported our Super Co-op plan), and, then the co-ops themselves, that these houses are still standing at all and – even our own Labour councillors have recognised this (http://www.lambethunitedhousingco-op.org.uk/?page_id=433)
Moreover, the developers who have bought ex co-op houses have stripped original features from them despite repeated pleas from housing co-op residents who remain!
As far as Pete Robbins denigrating the support of our friend and neighbour, Vivienne Westwood, this is beneath even him.Vivienne Westwood, Maggi Hambling and Mark Thomas were all present as neighbours and friends, and as people who have genuine concerns about the community. Vivienne has been in the Old Town for many years, and all of these people have a right to speak up for their neighbours. It is also gross hypocrisy that the Labour Party can lecture anyone about celebrity friends. Both nationally and locally, the Labour Party use celebrity endorsements and so they have no right to deride local community groups for the company they keep!
When will Lambeth Council and Pete Robbins, currently the subject of a bitter deselection battle, learn to drop the spin and the churlish rhetoric and engage with long-term residents?