Monday, 23 February 2015

Campaigners target London Mayor and Guinness Trust

Guinness Trust's Brixton 'regeneration' under attack from tenants
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015

Anger at the lack of genuinely affordable homes for Londoners on average and low incomes reached inside the inner sanctum of London government this morning (Monday, 23 February).
Mayor of London Boris Johnson watches as security guards eject several council housing campaigners from the chamber of City Hall, writes Paul Coleman.

The campaigners interrupt a public London Assembly meeting where Mayor Johnson presents his draft 2015-16 budget.
Protestors shout at Johnson that his budget will lead to 'social cleansing' of Londoners from their home city.
They deride Johnson's pledge to build 15,000 new homes in the next few years, saying most Londoners will not be able to afford these 'affordable homes'.

'We want council housing...Now!'
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015

Two protestors heckle Johnson as "racist" after the Mayor, answering Assembly Members' questions on homelessness, says Eastern Europeans account for London's recent spike in rough-sleepers.
Johnson denies UK nationals contribute to the rise in homelessness, adding: "The problem is acute but London isn't as bad as other cities in the world. New York has 53,000 on the streets every night."

Tenants, residents and social housing activists, engaged in anti-regeneration campaigns across London, also protest outside City Hall surrounded by a significant police presence.
They include Earl's Court tenants from the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates threatened with demolition and replacement with luxury apartments.

"Brixton became Notting Hill overnight" - Helen McDonald
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015

Another is Helen McDonald, one of 44 Assured Shorthold Tenants facing eviction. 
The Guinness Trust says it needs to 'regenerate' the Loughborough Park estate in Brixton, South London.
McDonald says many of the 44 households have lived on the estate for ten years.
"Now, we're receiving possession orders and evictions could start in April," says McDonald.
McDonald says none of the AST households would be able to afford to rent a private sector flat in Brixton.
"Rents have shot up," says McDonald. "Brixton became Notting Hill overnight."

Private flat
McDonald and campaigners like Betty, an AST householder (below), say 'regeneration' will lead to a net loss of 90 'social rent' homes.
The Guinness Trust says private flats need to be built to finance the building of new homes.

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2015

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