Wednesday, 11 February 2015

London’s Housing Crisis/Demolition City: Cressingham Gardens, Gerlinde Gniewosz

Cressingham Gardens resident Gerlinde Gniewosz
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2015

Cressingham Gardens is a ten-acre estate of 306 homes next to Brockwell Park in the south London borough of Lambeth.
“It’s an amazing estate, built in the 1970s,” says resident Gerlinde Gniewosz.
The estate enjoys a strong sense of neighbourliness.
“This is social housing built to create a community,” adds Gniewosz.
“It’s a jewel.”

Homes range from studios to larger family homes, all mixed together.
There’s also a block for disabled people.
“And, the estate is now under threat,” says Gniewosz.

Two years ago, Lambeth Council said they don’t have enough money to repair homes.
The Council says demolition and rebuild is the only viable option.
“Residents just said, ‘no’,” recalls Gniewosz.
“We want our homes to be refurbished, not demolished.”

She explains how the Council uses “myths to create facts”.
For instance, an independent surveyor brought in by the residents priced refurbishment at £7 million – and not at £14m as Lambeth Council priced and said it could not afford.

Gniewosz says the Cressingham Gardens community fights Lambeth Council all the way.

“If the Council is going to make our lives miserable, we’re going to make the lives of those at the Council miserable too,” says Gniewosz.

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2015

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