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Squatting drive ‘could work in other boroughs’
Monday, 16 April 2012
SQUATTERS who have occupied a seventh empty council home want to widen their campaign across South London.
Lewisham People Before Profit political party is demanding councils hand empty homes to people in need to combat the council’s housing shortage crisis.
In the latest of a series of ccupations, party members got into a large house in Eltham Road, Lee, on Thursday morning.
The Greenwich council-owned home, which has been empty for around two years, is split into seven flats.
Party member John Hamilton told the South London Press: “Members entered the property very easily. The front door was unlocked.
“It is a magnificent mansion – a vast house which has been completely unused for months.
“It’s in great condition, too.
“Why Greenwich hasn’t been using this building to help re-home people on its housing list is a mystery.
“We have also had interest from campaigners in Southwark who want to do the same thing with unused Southwark council properties, so the campaign could stretch across South London.”
The party first occupied five Lewisham council family homes, in Deptford and New Cross, on February 19.
The homes were due to be sold at an auction but the council was forced to postpone the sale.
A family of five have moved into one of the homes in Angus Street, New Cross. On March 27, squatters also got into a house in Hazeldon Road, Crofton Park, run by L&Q housing association.
Mr Hamilton said: “These are all great houses in good condition that either don’t need much work doing to them or are actually ready to be lived in as they are.
“We are going to meet as a party over the next week to discuss exactly what we want to do with these properties.
“Ideally, we want to get people who are on the waiting list to move into some of them.”
In Lewisham, nearly 17,000 people are on the council’s housing waiting list.
Greenwich council was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
All content © of South London Press unless stated otherwise.
Comments on this news item:
4 comments on this news item
Posted by : Lorette, London | Wednesday 20/Jun/2012 | Report this comment
This is just so typical, can not believe the council has hundreds of empty houses and flats just lying empty and rotting, when there are young people and families in desperate need, We have young people stuck in hostels desperate to get a flat to start their lives off and yet we have this!, We have homeless people who will now be criminalized if they squat! its just disgraceful!-
Posted by : Herbert, Kennington | Friday 20/Apr/2012 | Report this comment
The REAL crime, Mark, is leaving perfectly fit housing empty when so many people need a place to live.
Posted by : John, Brockley | Wednesday 18/Apr/2012 | Report this comment
Thank you, Mark, for making that point. We did make it clear to the family that they might be evicted but they chose to take the risk. The new squatting law will not be retrospective so the family in Angus Street will not be criminalised, but the law will affect future squatters. We hope we won’t have to continue this course of action and that councils will refurbish and use all their houses.
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