The Age of Evictions ... and Resistance!Tagged as: clifton_mansions culture dale_farm evictions free_spaces repression social_struggles solidarity squatting
Neighbourhoods: basildon brixton coldharbour_lane crays_hill dale_farm lambeth
Published by group: Imc London Features
Two different communities. One living in Clifton Mansions, an inner city block of long term squatted flats in Brixton, south London. The other made of 90 families part of the UK's largest Traveller community in Dale Farm, a former scrap-yard purchased by the Travellers ten years ago near Basildon, Essex.
They both now face one common problem: the threat of eviction. Dale Farm's long battle has now reached a critical point as Basildon council yesterday served a final notice of eviction giving families until midnight on August 31st to abandon their homes. The community of squatters of Clifton Mansions have learnt that the police is planning to block off Brixton's Coldharbour Lane on Tuesday 12 July to enforce the eviction of all the people living in the 22 flats. [Read more]
See calls from both communities for solidarity in resisting the planned evictions: Clifton Mansions | Dale Farm
Clifton Mansions On Coldharbour Lane is a community of squatters in the heart of Brixton. Squatted since the 1990's the 22 flats are home to a large and diverse group of people. The residents have repaired and maintained the properties after Lambeth Council left them empty and neglected. Clustered around a central courtyard Clifton Mansions is a safe and vibrant community where violence and abuse are not tolerated.
On Tuesday 12 July 2011 the police plan to block off Coldharbour Lane and enforce the eviction of all the people living in Clifton Mansions. Making the astonishing claim that evicting Clifton Mansions will somehow solve the problem of drug crime in Brixton, the police failed to consult with local councillors before pushing ahead with this plan. Clifton Mansions residents have received only two weeks notice that they are to be evicted from their homes.
Following the evictions, Lambeth Council will pay Camelot, a private company, to provide “live-in guardians” to occupy Clifton Mansions. The squatters have been providing a free guardian service for years. Why make people homeless and then pay a multinational company to occupy their homes?
Eventually Lambeth wants to sell Clifton Mansions to property developers, further reducing Lambeth's social housing stock in central Brixton. Clifton Mansions will be turned into luxury flats priced well beyond the means of the local community.
Please contact the council and the police to let them know what you think.
Show your support on eviction day:
12 July – 8am – Clifton Mansions – 429 Coldharbour Lane
They're closing the street so lets have a party!
Dale Farm, in Crays Hill, Essex, is the UK’s largest Travellers’ community, consisting of nearly a hundred separate properties, lying well outside the village and made up of extended family plots or yards.
Most are owned by Travellers of Irish heritage, although some Romani families also own yards. The estate is divided in two sections, the front part (about 45 plots) has planning permission; while the back part (52 plots) despite numerous applications and appeals, has been refused planning consent, even though the site was previously a disused scrap yard! 90% of traveller planning applications are initially rejected compared to 20% overall.
Caving in to racial prejudice, Basildon District Council (BDC) has set aside 9.2 million pounds to demolish the homes in the back 52 plots and have asked the Home Office for 10 million more. This could happen as early as June. We view the destruction of half this community as ethnic cleansing.
The planning history of the area has shown that the site had been used without planning permission since early 1990’s for a variety of industrial uses. In 1992 BDC issued Enforcement Notices against various unauthorised commercial activities that were being pursued on the site. Part of the land at the east side of the site was previously the subject of two temporary consents for the breaking of motor vehicles, sale of vehicle parts and dealing in scrap metals. This use ceased following the vacation of the?land by the business proprietors in 2001.
When the unauthorised development of the application site first came to the Council’s attention in September 2003, the land to the east of the site had been used as a scrap yard from 1978 until 2001 under a permission granted by the Council to be used as such. If an exception was allowed for the scrap metal yard, surely an exception can be made for a vulnerable minority group to continue to live there, particularly given that many of them have already been through traumatic experiences of forced eviction.
In May 2005, the BDC voted to take direct action, setting aside some three million euro for an eviction and demolition operation. Residents sought a Judicial Review of this decision and won in the High Court. This judgment was overturned by the Court of Appeal on 22 January 2009. An appeal to the House of Lords was denied on 14 May 2009. After extensive research into the needs of Travellers and Gypsies in the UK, on 20 July the Department for Communities and Local Government informed BDC and the Gipsy Council that the District Council is required to provide sufficient land for 62 (sixty two) additional pitches. This requirement can be easily met by BDC if it decides to grant planning permission for the 52 (fifty two) unauthorised pitches already in existence at Dale Farm.
As mentioned before, the main desire of the families is to not move from Dale Farm; they wish to get planning permission for permanent residence to continue living in the site they privately own.
We say no to home demolitions, and no to ethnic cleansing!