MUMS in a deprived east London borough have hailed a “victory” in their housing campaign after it was announced homeless people would be moved into the flats they occupied in protest at “social cleansing” earlier this month.
In a sensational U-turn, Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said council homes on the threatened Carpenters Estate in Stratford would be made available next week for borough residents on the council’s waiting list.
The Labour mayor had previously dismissed the Focus E15 Mothers — a group of women who began fighting for social housing when they were booted out of a hostel — as “trots.”
The news came as angry residents of the Cressingham Gardens estate in south London prepare to march to Lambeth Town Hall today in protest at the planned “redevelopment” of their estate, riding on a wave of protests against gentrification.
In an article for the Newham Recorder, Mr Wales blamed Newham’s housing shortage on government cuts.
“Since the council regained possession of the illegally occupied block, officers have been carrying out repairs to make the homes safe and suitable for families to move in as soon as possible.”
But the arrogant mayor said he would still redevelop Carpenters to “provide much needed mixture of housing and tenancies as well as jobs and community space.”
Focus E15 campaigner Sam Middleton told the Star: “It’s good that people are being rehoused but it’s only temporary — and in the long run they still want to knock the estate down.
“We’ve got the keep the pressure up. If they can open up 40 homes on the estate to rehouse people, why can’t they open up them all?”
The Focus E15 Mothers were initially told they would have to move to cheaper accommodation outside London. The borough’s North Korea-style council — with all 60 seats occupied by Labour members — first touted plans to knock down hundreds of homes on the Carpenters Estate and build a £1 billion campus for University College London on the site.
At Cressingham Gardens, a low-rise estate built by renowned architect Ted Hollamby, residents are concerned little or no social housing will be provided on the redeveloped site.
Housing campaigners will take their banners and petitions on the TUC’s Britain Needs a Payrise demo in London today.