Campaigners vow to resist “disgraceful” Labour Council housing co-op eviction today

Campaigners vow to block Labour housing co-op evictions today

Campaigners have pledged to resist the eviction of a disabled woman from the home she has lived in for 35 years.

Around 11am today (22nd April), Lambeth Council plan to evict Trace Newton, a vulnerable, disabled 56-year-old housing co-op resident from her home of 35 years in Lillieshall Road, London SW4 0LP.

Campaigners vow to block Labour housing co-op evictions today

Lambeth Council’s heavy handed and uncaring attitude towards housing co-operative communities has drawn widespread criticism – so much so that four Parliamentary candidates recently teamed up to criticise their short-life housing policy.

Kate Hoey, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, and serving Vauxhall MP from 1989, has been a constant critic of the council’s policy, and was vocal in her condemnation of Trace’s eviction:

This is a disgraceful way to treat a long-term Lambeth resident who has a home that is among the best examples of a tenant-improved property.

I will be standing with Trace and her supporters to stop the bailiffs from carrying out Lambeth’s attempt to wipe housing co-op residents off the map – a policy they said they were against! If this was a Conservative council I am sure members of the Labour Party would be the first to criticise it – and not be cheerleading the misery of others!

Protesting alongside Hoey will be Maggi Hambling, Alannah Currie (ex of The Thompson Twins), award-winning author, Viv Albertine, ex of The Slits, Ana da Silva (The Raincoats) and artist Jimmy Cauty, ex-KLF, and others are urged to join the protest.

Lambeth United Housing Co-Op have posted more about the housing co-op eviction story – we’ve reproduced it below:

For the last two years Lambeth United Housing Co-operative has been campaigning against Lambeth Council’s destruction of housing co-operative communities.

The eviction policy of the council means that OAPs and other vulnerable residents, among others, will be forced from their homes.

These are homes that were saved from demolition by the establishment of the co-ops and were maintained by the residents at no cost to the council.

Rather than giving residents tenancies (some have been in their homes since the 1970s and are in their 70s), the council stood back from the whole arrangement, despite originally helping the co-ops set up. In the 4 decades that have followed, close-knit, self-reliant communities flourished without the help of the local authority.

Now that the housing market has inflated the prices of these homes (ones that were compulsory purchased in the 1970s for very small sums), the council are seeking to make a fast buck by turfing out residents and selling the houses off on the open market, at auction.

The policy has a triple whammy effect; social housing is being sold off; people who have homes are forced to displace others on the waiting list; none of the money raised is being used to provide more social housing.

The council have repeatedly refused a solution backed by the Co-operative Enterprise Hub, and other experts, to keep the houses as social housing. Meanwhile, they have blocked democratic recourses including Freedom of Information requests.

Supporters of the residents include Kate Hoey MP, Vivienne Westwood, Mark Thomas, Joanna Lumley, Maggi Hambling, Peter Tatchell and Ken Loach, but the voices of local residents, Londoners generally, and embarrassed rank and file Labour Party members have also been heard loud and clear against Lambeth Council’s vindictive policy.

Sign the petition to stop the eviction here.

Chat about the evictions on the urban75 forums.