HOUSING activists are occupying and refurbishing an empty London property this weekend in a bid to demonstrate the worth of community involvement in creating solutions to the housing crisis.
Throughout this weekend, community groups Sweets Way Resists and Reclaim Barnet will be refurbishing a home on the soon-to-be demolished Sweets Way estate, with the help of dedicated volunteers, donated materials and a small amount of money.
A representative of Sweets Way Resists said: “Regeneration doesn’t have to be a horrendously expensive code word for social cleansing.
“It can be a collective, sustainable and affordable way for people to come together and improve their homes and their community.
“We’re just highlighting something communities across London can do wherever they are.”
Activists are protesting against private property developer Annington’s plans to bulldoze 142 homes on the estate.
They argue that Barnet Council claims, as do many other local authorites, that maintaining old properties is too expensive and so allow private developers such as Annington to destroy social housing and replace them with far fewer homes than the number lost.
In taking the responsibility for regeneration out of the hands of greedy housing profiteers and putting it in the hands of the community, they hope to highlight issues of social cleansing and show what is possible when people are given the opportunity to be involved with their own housing.
Tours of the completed community show home will be available between 10am and 5pm at 153 Sweets Way, London N20 on Monday.