Posts Tagged ‘lambeth united housing cooperative’

Stop Asset Stripping
Lambeth Council are organising a Leader’s Question Time this Thursday 16th January. The Lambeth United Housing Cooperative will be there putting questions about the Don’t Evict Maritza campaign. We urge all our supporters to join them.

There’s two ways you can help

  • Join the demonstration outside the meeting. It’s at 6:30pm, outside Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre, 309 Streatham High Road, SW16 6HX. There’s a map here
  • Come inside the meeting (also at Streatham Leisure Centre) and offer support. If possible please reserve tickets here, but there may be tickets available on the night

This event replaces our regular planning meeting

Congratulations to the Lambeth United Housing Cooperative for getting this article in the Lambeth Weekender
Weekender on Shortlife

40 year old communitiesA decent crowd turned up to the protest against the eviction of housing cooperatives last Thursday, possibly inspired by the publicity we got in SW Londoner.

Jules, from the Lambeth United Housing Cooperative, stressed the demonstration was important. The majority of remaining housing coops lie in the Clapham Town ward. The local councillors (Haselden and Wellbelove) promised to support the housing coops, a promise they then broke. Only Cllr Helen O’Malley, since deselected, has kept up her support

The venue of the question time has special significance. The Omnibus centre was saved from being sold off by various figures including local councillors, Mark Thomas (who sems quite supportive) and local author John O’Farrell (who failed to reply to numerous emails about the evictions). At the time the building was saved Cllr Haselden said: “we had to make the council see behind the pounds, shillings and pence” – yet he was quite happy to sell out residents of nearly 40 years standing

The atmosphere outside the meeting was great, the atmosphere inside the meeting less so. Cllr Lib Peck kept on saying the council couldn’t manage without the money that would be raised by confiscating the houses from the housing coop.

The fact Cllr Peck didn’t budge at the meeting wasn’t a suprise, but we do know Lambeth Council fears us. We’ve postponed the eviction of Charmaine Lodge and stopped the eviction of Jimmy Rogers through public pressure. We now need more public pressure to ensure housing coops continue to provide affordable accommodation in Lambeth

The Lambeth United Housing Cooperative recently issued this press release

The latest development in Lambeth Council’s purge of long-term housing co-op communities comes this week with the trial of Maritza Tschepp on Thursday.

Maritza Tschepp has lived in her home for 33 years, turning it from a derelict site – that was originally CPO’d in the mid 1970s for demolition by Lambeth Council – into a home of a standard well above many council properties, and one more than suitable to bring up three children in.

An active co-op member for more than 3 decades, Maritza also has 20 years experience of leading a local co-operative youth group, the Clapham Woodcraft Folk, including taking young people from Lambeth on many residentials such as Global Village, CoCamp and Snow-Camp. In a bizarre twist, the children of some Lambeth councillors and officers have benefitted from Maritza’s volunteer youth work. Lib Peck, the current leader of Lambeth Council, was until very recently a member of Clapham Woodcraft Folk.

Meanwhile, Maritza’s housing co-op, High Priority, took all nominations from the council waiting list even though the council had nothing to do with the upkeep of the co-op houses. High Priority Housing Co-op spent thousands of pounds on repairs to their houses, monies raised by their own members.

Now the council want to evict residents like Maritza and sell their houses off on the open market, at auction.

The sell-off has been roundly criticised as “savage” by councillors, local residents, local MP Kate Hoey, and even some of Lambeth Council’s own commissioners responsible for the council’s so-called ‘co-operative’ status have raised urgent concerns.

On the eve of Maritza’s trial Kate Hoey MP said:
“Lambeth Council’s eviction policy towards long-term residents of the borough is nothing short of a scandal. They have ‘criminalised’ active members of the community such as Maritza with this short-sighted and unforgivable policy.”

“I have consistently asked the council to think again, but still they continue to bulldoze through with this unfair action. Maritza herself has been part of a resident’s group, backed by the Co-operative Enterprise Hub amongst others, to reach a fair solution, but the council has not given this a fair hearing.”

“Maritza’s beautiful home will, if she is evicted, most likely be immediately ripped apart (at yet more cost to the council along with payments to lawyers and vacant property managers) as has happened elsewhere before being sold on the open market to a developer. With the shortage of housing in the borough this makes the council’s actions even more appalling.”

Meanwhile, Christian Hansen of Hansen Palomares, solicitors for Maritza, added:
“Lambeth’s behaviour has been terrible. As well as trying to take Ms Tschepp’s home, they’ve tried to bully her into giving up by making an additional claim, which they know is grossly unrealistic, for tens of thousands of pounds. They are bullying many other ‘short-life’ residents in the same way.”

Maritza said:
“The impact of Lambeth’s actions on my family has caused extreme stress. My children grew up in this house, it is our family home. I have invested decades of my own time and money into turning a neglected wreck into a comfortable home. It is upsetting that Lambeth seem to place no value on this, nor on my contribution to my local community. Instead this so-called ‘co-operative council’ intend to profit from my distress.”

Congratulations to all who helped out in the campaign to stop Charmaine Lodge’s eviction. Our victory has been covered by the Brixton Blog and SW Londoner