Selling our land

Both Greenwich and Lewisham councils are intent on selling as much of their council housing to private developers as possible. Above is a leaflet being handed out at Blackheath station by Lewisham People Before Profit.

They’re occupying five family homes that Lewisham council are attempting to dispose of. More info here: http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.org.uk/lewisham/lewisham-pbp-news/

The petition is here:
http://www.change.org/petitions/defend-lewishams-council-housing#sign

It’s not just Lewisham. Take a 178 bus through Kidbrooke, and you too can witness this happening in a real time Ballardian fever-dream. Council housing ripped down, next to NHS surgeries, and schools with children playing next to the rubble. Massive Berkley homes signs say “For London, for Everyone”.

The council flats were for everyone. We owned them. The luxury flats are not. The council are selling our land to developers. It’s short term profit for long term misery.

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24 Comments

Filed under blackheath

24 responses to “Selling our land

  1. Andrew

    This is life expired property that councils cannot raise funds to replace. They have no option. They were public owned but are now sold so not ours anymore. Most councils went this way years ago. Labour had plenty of opportunity to reverse the Tory legislation that took public housing private but failed to do so because councils let themselves get ripped off with building and maintenance costs.

  2. Jim benoit

    Mr Bugle did you look into the reasons why they’re being sold before posting this?

  3. Although I agree with what is at the essence of this article I am glad that they are ripping down the Kidbrooke Ferrier Estate (the concrete jungle featured in your pictures). I’ve lived in south-east London for almost all of my life – Eltham, Greenwich and Blackheath and that place was a disaster from the start. Not good on the eye, not good for the surrounding area and ultimately not good for the people who lived there.

    Good riddance!

  4. Jabba T Hut

    the rented social housing list is too long anyway. We need to address the causes of that.

  5. Rupert Fiennes

    Good. Council houses are not “owned by everybody”, they are owned by the council, who incompetently distributes them, partly to political gain. The fewer the better, less scope for corruption. Doesn’t anyone remember “We will build the Tories out of London” boast by Herbert Morrison?

    • Who owns the council? I’m sure Berkley homes will distribute them very competently. But only to people who can afford them.

      • Franklin

        In Greenwich, the Labour Party owns the council. And Chris Roberts owns the Greenwich Labour Party.

      • Andrew

        No one actually ‘owns’ the councils. They are given contractural powers under the Local Government Acts to provide and administer services to the public. These acts allow them to hold elections, raise taxes, employ people and spend money in very tightly controlled areas but not necessarily with financial prudence or proper controls which can result in waste, inefficiency and ‘nest feathering’.

        It would be normal to have a number of ‘affordable housing units’ in such a deal or some other planning offset.

  6. Rupert Fiennes

    Since there are massive waiting lists for council housing, while a large proportion of council tenants don’t need subsidised housing, you might want to worry whether the council will be any more equitable than Berkley.

  7. richard

    Its a victory for people power apparently. I would love to know what % of the lewisham population took it upon themselves to subvert the democratic process and start a few squats?

  8. Although the decision to stop Lewisham council selling these 5 homes was taken by only 30 people at a People Before Profit meeting open to anyone to attend, our action has proved to have widespread support among the public. I have heard only a couple of comments questioning our aims and the council itself has bandied various figures for refurbishment costs, which we are clarifying through a Freedom of Information request. Our first family has now moved into 7 Angus St following installation of a bathroom and redecoration by LPBP volunteers and we will be negotiating with Lewisham Council to arrange a transfer of these houses to a Community Interest Company which will refurbish using local tradespeople and train others in building trades before offering the houses to the council’s housing list.
    By the way, the claim that money from the sales of these houses could have been ised for 60 houses to be improved is based on fantasy! Income from previous ‘disposals’ has not been ring-fenced for refurbishment – Lewisham was given £95million for that. The income would simply have been used for general expenditure, such as inflated salaries for top council officers and the Mayor.

    • Franklin

      John

      I’d be interested to know why you believe that 30 people at a political party meeting have more entitlement to decide what happens with council-owned property, and who gets to live in it, than the democratically elected and democratically accountable borough council.

      Franklin

  9. Jim Benoit

    I wonder how long Franklin will have to wait until John Hamilton answers that pertinent question. You may have noticed that Hamilton’s bunch have this weekend ‘occupied’ a Council owned garage – presumably to return it to deserving cars?

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