Tag Archives: eviction

Stopping (some) dodgy evictions

Since the High Court Enforcement Officers have been given more of the eviction work, there’s been an increase in dodgy evictions, including evictions, without notice, of new sets of squatters, using old possession orders.

They make out that it’s the same or connected people and get a “warrant” or “writ of restitution”.

As there is no notice there is no opportunity to set aside the eviction writ on the basis that at a writ of restitution is not appropriate. But some clever squatters, when told by security that they would be out the next day, put a stop to this by putting in an application to stop any application without notice.

The relevant wording of the order goes:

It is ordered that:

1.    XXXXX be joined as Defendant in proceedings.

2.    Any application made by the Claimant in the said proceedings within the next 21 days is to be made on notice in writing to XXXXXXX and with no less than 48 hours notice of this application. ……

An application costs money, unless someone is on benefits or can prove no or practically no income, but if you’ve reason to think you’re under threat it could be worth it. Get in touch.

St Agnes Place Evictions

St Agnes Place, Kennington, London’s oldest squatted street was raided by riot cops and bailiffs on Tuesday morning.

Reports on Indymedia and St Agnes Place websites.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/11/328686.html

http://www.stagnesplace.net/

Big hello to BBC London and Evading Standards for the unbalanced reports of the eviction.

Big hello also to that greedy property developing Lib Dem councillor Keith Fitchett and the coruption riddden Lambeth Council ( Eyes passim! ).

The eviction of St. Agnes Place, – by Mark S Brown

On Tuesday 29th November, the illegal eviction took place of St Agnes Place. Residents here were thrown out onto the freezing street with nowhere to go, even though their hearing for possession of the property was not scheduled until mid-december. This was a totally illegal action by baliffs and police, as papers were not served. The police operation involved 200 police officers, with mounted police.

One resident, who remained barricaded in one house until late in the evening, was removed by a territorial armed police unit after having threatened to set alight to himself, and was extremely badly beaten in the street, receiving several brutal blows to the head with truncheons.

Squatters were not allowed to retrieve their belongings by the evening, meaning some people were without their own sleeping bags, bedding ..etc. This remained the case until late afternoon Wednesday. The reason given for this was that baliffs were still going from house-to-house, and that the house were a health and safety hazard (presumably because of the removal of floorboards).

The active members of the community are set to pursue a legal challenge.

The right-wing media and councillors portray the squatters of St. Agnes as free-loading parasites. While this may be true for some (certainly not all), the fact remains is that the real parasite is local councillor Fichett, who “misplaced” £3 million of taxpayers money, and yet, has incredibly been allowed to keep his job.
Lambeth Council cite the lost rental income from properties on the street over 30 years, which is a half-truth since Lambeth waved away it’s rights to rental income when they abandoned these properties (infact, squatters over the years have neglected to get their shit together and attain ownership of properties on the street under the old 12-year rule).

The council publicised their new plans for the area where the street exists, which include new leisure facilities for the community, plus 60 social housing units. It is unfortunate that the council was seen not to embrace the positive aspects to life on the street, and weigh the pros and cons of the cost of eviction, demolition and re-build and the architectural quality of these rows rows of housing in the decision. With the alcohol-soakled wave of anti-social behaviour washing across UK’s urban areas in recent years, the council should have considered the long-term legacy of the positive aspects of this street such as the remarkable lack of hard drugs (as opposed to any sink-estate or town block housing estate). St Agnes Place was voted
as UK’s safest street in a survey 2 years ago. Councillors neglected to work more closely with residents, such as through positive engagment in community projects which couild have transformed the fertile ground of community-based solutions.

Meanwhile, the kids adventure playground next door to the street remains under threat from development.

WAKE FOR ST AGNES PLACE, took place on the evening of the eviction “To celebrate 30 years of diversity and community, a celebration for St Agnes Place by the supporters of St Agnes Place community and evicted residents gathered outside the Town Hall in Brixton. They celebrated their community and praised residents still refusing to leave their homes. “Lambeth Council are not only corrupt
but are unlawful in their actions” one supporter was quoted as saying. There was a large and sympathetic press presence and all present resolved to continue the struggle until Lambeth Councillors responsible are brought to justice.

History of St Agnes Place
Squatters first moved in to St Agnes Place in late 1974, some of its houses having been empty for 14 years. St Agnes Place was given new life by the squatter occupants. By April 1976, 65 people were squatting there. In April 1976, Lambeth Council announced a five-point plan of attack:

Immediate eviction for single squatters.
Power supply cut-offs to squatted premises.

More houses to be ”sealed up” or ”made uninhabitable” to deter squatters.

Council-funded groups to have their grants cut if they tolerated squatting. The use of private investigators to help deal with squatters. In addition, the crackdown on squatters involved the demolition of houses long before sites were actually required. In particular, Villa Road and St Agnes Place were due to be pulled down
for two open spaces. Although the Council readily admitted that it would not have enough money to complete either scheme for five years, it insisted it wanted to demolish the houses to get rid of the squatters as quickly as possible.

By December 1976 almost 100 people were squatting in St Agnes Place and, anxious to ensure this number did not increase, the Council gutted a number of houses immediately the tenants moved out. On 10 December, it expected to do the same to No 85 without too much difficulty. The tenant, 78-year-old Ruby Thompson who had lived there for 30 years was leaving, but as she went out squatters entered the house from the rear and occupied the two top floors, while workers wrecked her ground floor flat. (The workers were non-union because UCATT, the building workers union, had instructed its members to black work involving the gutting of good homes.) The press had been alerted to the event and lambasted the Council. The Evening Standard headlined its story ”Council “vandals” are defied by squatters”, and the Sunday Times later ran an editorial under a similar headline.

Councils were being urged to cut spending, and yet here was a council deliberately wrecking perfectly good homes for no reason other than a vendetta against squatters. Council-bashing in the press, particularly of Labour councils, became a suitable alternative to squatter-bashing, at least for a while. There was strong opposition within the Labour Group of the Labour-controlled Council for the anti-squatting measures policy. Norwood councillor Ted Knight (later to become the Leader of the new left-dominated Labour administration in 1978) was quoted as saying:

”The Council”s policies are bankrupt. They talk to the waiting list and say it is because of squatters. They talk to the homeless and say it is because of the waiting list. And yet we still have vast quantities of empty property.”

Indeed, the administrative resources needed to implement the policy were not available and, although some unlucky squatters suffered, squatting continued largely unabated in Lambeth. Any reduction in their number was due to the Council carrying out its redevelopment programme rather than to its punitive policy. The policy finally foundered when the Council underestimated the strength of the opposition to it and overplayed its hand at St Agnes Place.

On 19 January 1977, the occupants of St Agnes Place were awakened by the sound of a huge crane rigged up with a demolition ball moving into position outside. The street was closed off by police coaches parked across the road. The squatters resisted, and with the help of Lambeth Community Law Centre, hurriedly and successfully applied for an injunction to halt the demolition but not before 16 houses had been wrecked, 10 irretrievably.

The outcry which this affair caused brought an end to the Council’s most rabidly anti-squatting policies. On 25 January the Labour Group voted to think again about the future of St Agnes Place and later it agreed to allow the squatters to remain until the park could be laid out. Many councillors were angered by the deceit that had surrounded sending in demolition contractors as the decision had been kept secret from all but a handful of high-ranking officers and councillors. Even the police were said to have been misled when asked to attend. They were told to come to assist in an eviction and the officer in charge of the operation was later quoted as saying that he hoped never again to be involved in anything similar.

The fight for St Agnes Place has been a remarkable one. At times official attitudes were completely at odds with the needs of local people. For example, Councillor Carey, leader of the Conservative Group, had seconded the proposal to demolish St Agnes Place at a Planning Committee meeting with the memorable suggestion that there were already too many people living in Lambeth and ”to make sure that the extra population doesn”t stay, we should demolish houses that encourage them to do so.”

In the aftermath of the St Agnes Place affair, the entire ”get tough on squatting” steamroller ground to a halt, not only in Lambeth, but elsewhere. The continuing presence of squatters in St Agnes Place, constituted a victory for all squatters. The outcome of these struggles, moreover, comprised a victory for the homeless in Lambeth, because it prevented the loss of housing that the original plans entailed. The role of squatting in forcing policy changes out of Lambeth Council had been absolutely crucial. As Lambeth’s Assistant Director of Housing remarked ”If it wasn’t for squatter pressure we”d have all these [houses] down months ago and nobody would have noticed.”

Squatted street Faces Demolition

Londons longest surviving sqatted streets threatened with demolition

Jim, Kathy, Danny, Victor, Uwe and Fred

St. Agnes Place, Kennington, is London’s oldest squatted street. Two hundred people are threatened with imminent eviction and the twenty-something Victorian terraced houses are soon to be demolished.

St. Agnes Place is a community. For over thirty years it has evolved into a stimulating, challenging and rewarding mixture of cultures with creative people and vulnerable people, from all over the world. St. Agnes Place is home to the Rastafarian movement in Britain. Bob Marley used the International Rastafarian Headquarters as a second home in the seventies. Many other former residents are now working as doctors and in other careers which were only made possible by the welcoming arms of the streets patron. It is indeed a unique community; nowhere else in London can there be found a street of such diversity, where people from multi-cultural backgrounds live together with such a degree of interaction and mutual support.
Since the mid-seventies, Lambeth Council have constantly used the force of the law and avoided talking to the residents on a more personal level. Consequently the possibility of arriving at an amicable solution between the two parties has never been fully explored.
Lambeth Council has stated in their recent determination to evict Saint Agnes Place that the residents have no legal defence in this case. But is not the right to enjoy the security and safety of your home a reason to oppose such an eviction? The Human Rights Bill says that it is.
Lambeth Council are moving the eviction order forward with ruthless haste, before the residents can effectively protest or make their voice heard in the media. Should this eviction go ahead hundreds of people will made homeless during the cold winter months solely for profit. As of yet Lambeth Council have not responded to enquiries about their development plans following the eviction.

20 – 10 – 05 :
Lambeth County Court yesterday gave in to the Councils demand to have the eviction warrant executed by High Court bailiffs and sherrifs. Also, permission was granted to execute the evicxtion on Sundays. That means, Lambeth Council could roll in every minute from now. The residents ask all former residents and sympathisers to rally for the survival of the community. Some people will leave their houses in the next few days. We need people to fill the vacancies and help to resist the greedy developers!
Very important: Please send this on to other sympathetic media!!!

Save Christiania Petition

Petition to save Christiania, one of Europe’ oldest suriving autonomous zones, from destruction:

Save Christiania

IN Denmark the present right wing government wishes, with the support of the Danish people’s Party, to close Christiania under the guise of city renewal.

We do not want Christiania renewed and thereby loose our rights in the area. Christiania has in the course of the last 31 years renewed and restored itself.

We wish to preserve Christiania as an independent area which can be experienced by people from all over the world. Please sign our petition and forward this email to your friends.

http://www.christiania.org/~befri/gl.php3

Travellers Fight for Homes

Travellers Tell Officials; “We’ll Fight For Our Homes”

The first-ever talks with local government officials to take place at Dale Farm, the 85-family community threatened with destruction by Basildon district council, appears have produced a positive outcome. Residents’ spokesman Richard Sheridan has welcomed a proposal from Philip Hamberger, assistant to chief executive Bala Mahedram, to set up an inter-community public meeting at Crays Hill later this autumn. “We’re obliged to promote good community relations,” newly-appointed diversity consultant Fola Kudehinbu, told the meeting held at the home of resident Mary Ann McCarthy. (13 Sept). Mrs McCarthy said all the residents wanted was to be left in peace to enjoy the homes they had created on the land they had purchased. They wanted nothing from the council except a piece of paper granting planning permission.

What no one wanted, she said, was for the council to send in bulldozers and crush everything that belonged to them, along with their hopes and dreams for a better future for their children and grandchildren. “I don’t want to see all the children shouting and screaming,” Mrs McCarthy told Mr Hamberger. “We’ll put up a fight if you send the bailiffs in here.”

In response Mr Hamberger said he personally could not alter the decision made by the council to spend £2 million on an eviction operation. For now it was up to the courts. But whoever was left at Dale Farm, whether 20% or 50% of the present population, his purpose was to improve relations.

“You can’t improve relations by evicting people,” interjected Wickford resident Anna Kobayashi. “We have a hundred Travellers coming to our church and that to my mind is real community relations.”

Mr Sheridan said he was determined to see 100% of the people remained. “We don’t want you to spend £2 million trying to get us off here – keep your money and leave us to live happily ever after.”

He suggested that the council could help promote a better image of Travellers simply by using different language. For start, the word encampment should be dropped and Dale Farm described instead as a village.

Dale Farm campaigner Grattan Puxon pointed out that on past evidence of the way bailiff company Constant & Co. operate, Basildon council would be breaking the law should direct action be ordered. In particular, he warned against the use of heavy machinery belonging to HE Services.

“Video evidence,” said Mr Puxon, “shows Constant terrorising children and wantonly burning property. These eviction operations contravene health and safety regulations.”

He reminded the council officials that at the recent eviction involving families at nearby Hovefields Avenue Constant and HE Services had acted in contempt of a high court injunction by sending a bulldozer crashing through fences on the property of Mrs Gilheaney, of Ash
View.

Before the meeting, residents removed a barrier of gas-canisters, which had hampered letter deliveries to Dale Farm. They have been replaced by a steel-gate and barbed-wire, limiting access along the private road to authorised vehicles only.

******************************************************

If readers wish to protest the use of bulldozers here is a sample email

Dear Mr Hugh Edeleanu,

At a recent eviction (26 July) at Wickford, Essex,one of your bulldozers crushed the fencing on the property of Mrs Gilheaney, of Ash View, in an act of trespass that was in contempt of a High Court Injunction.

We ask you not to further damage your own image by hiring out your machinery and drivers to Constant & Co, the “Gypsy eviction specialists”.

In particular, we request that you take no part in the bulldozing of the 85 homes at Dale Farm, Crays Hills, Essex, as planned by Basildon district council. Human Rights Monitors will be video-filmingthis operation, if it takes place

Olympic evictions at Clays Lane

The University of East London is evicting students from its Park Village estate at Clays Lane, Stratford, East London. The estate is to be handed over to the London Development Agency and will be part of the site for the Olympic Village if London gets the 2012 Olympics. The students are being removed even though the decision on the Olympics won’t be made until 6th July and if London doesn’t get the Olympics the estate will be let out again through a housing agency. If London does get the Olympics then the LDA says it will demolish the estate within six months even though the rest of the Village site won’t be available for construction till 2007. Notice to quit for the students expires on 19th July.

The estate consists of two tower blocks and a large number of four or six person houses. It is in perfectly good condition! Have a look for yourselves.

Facing Bulldozers In UK Ethnic-Cleansing

The Dale Farm “Freedom March” is a response to eviction proceedings brought by Chelmsford Borough Council.

Nora Egan, a young mother facing eviction from Dale Farm, has called the”Freedom March” against the planned destruction of the UK’s largest Traveller settlement at Cray’s Hill, Essex. Sylvia Dunn, the first Romany general-election candidate in British history, now giving her all in a bid to unseat anti-Gypsy Tory leader Michael Howard in Folkestone, plans to head the march along with Roma activists including those who have seen their homes destroyed.

The march will take place at 12 noon on Saturday, 14 May at Gloucester Park, Basildon the day after some 80 families are supposed to vacate their 50 crowded yards.

Travellers hope this last appeal will persuade council leader Tory Malcolm Buckley to call off what would be an inevitably violent attack on the settlement. Such an eviction was originally contemplated for l3 May, when temporary planning permission expires.

“Filmstars have promised to be here if they try to evict us,” said Mrs Sheridan. “But we hope no such protest will be necessary.”

 The local Basildon ECHO has quoted yard owners as saying “It will take the army to move us.” Earlier, a planning inspector warned of a civil riot should bulldozers be deployed to demolish homes.

Recently actor Corin Redgrave visited Dale Farm and later pledged that he and sister Vanessa Redgrave would return with thousands to create a human shield around Dale Farm. He promised, however, that it would be a totally peaceful and lawful event.

 Meanwhile, Mr Buckley has commissioned notorious private bailiff firm, Constant & Co., to draw up eviction plans. The council have set aside £1.5 million to cover the expected cost. In similar operations at nearby Chelmsford and at Ridge, Hertfordshire, riot police have been mustered in support of Constant bailiffs and numbers of people assaulted and injured.

 A chalet-home, three caravans including a mobile-home and several vehicles were destroyed after dawn raids. The value of private property and personal belongings burned and ploughed up in these two evictions alone has been estimated at more than £500,000.

 Evictions are being monitored, evidence has been gathered and human rights cases have been brought against the perpetrators ( bailiffs, councils, police ) and the Trans-European Roma Federation has denounced this style of operation as ethnic-cleansing.

 Some 600 Travellers and supporters marched through central London on a Roma Nation Day protest calling for an end to such evictions and swifter planning consent for caravan and mobile-home parks.

 Dale Farm has now become the focus of this campaign, being the latest of many to face eviction. At least 200 plots, or individual yards, have been bulldozed in the past 18 months – following the withholding of planning permission due to widespread racial prejudice against Gypsies in Britain.

This prejudice has been exacerbated in the run up to the UK general election by Tory leader Michael Howard. He staged a television event this month close to Dale Farm announcing that his party would push through the closing down of all such “illegal Gypsy encampments.”

In his enthusiasm to play the racist card against a vulnerable minority, Mr Howard ignore the fact that Day Farm is not “illegal”, neither is it an encampment. Planning consent for this virtual village, home to close on one thousand people, only awaits
further confirmation and extension.

 Some 15 fresh planning applications have been submitted and a public inquiry will commence on 10 May. It is expected to be still in process when the Dale Farm “freedom march” reaches Basildon Civic Centre four days later.

Directions: A127 towards Southend. Look out for caravans on left at Basildon and turn into Oak Lane. Take Southend train from Liverpool Street Station. More details soon.

on behalf of Dale Farm

Save Dale Farm

Eviction Threat From Council

The largest Traveller site in the country with over a thousand residents, Dale Farm in Crays Hill, near Basildon and Wickford, Essex, is under threat of eviction. Basildon council will make a decision by the 28th May, but have already paid bailiff company Constant and Co £20,000 to make a plan for eviction. This company makes a lot of money brutally evicting people from their homes.

The whole site is not facing immediate eviction but around 40 – 60 families are. The council is planning to spend a million GPRS and a half of ratepayers money to make these families homeless. cheap jerseys After Dale Farm there really is nowhere to go. Dale Farm has been a refuge in the last few years for families evicted from other sites. The impossible odds of actually receiving planning permission for Traveller sites (over 90% rate of refusal) means brutal and violent evictions across the country.

The size of Dale Farm was cheap nba jerseys an attempt to find safety in numbers, which is soon to Zeiten be stripped away. The right wing press has made headlines in the wholesale nba jerseys last few months claiming that the Gypsy – Traveller community is using Human Rights law for their own benefit. The European Convention on Human Rights does protect the rights of communities to live in a way that is culturally significant to them, and also stops people being moved away from vital services. Children will world! lose their education through eviction, the ill will lose their medical treatment, wholesale jerseys China the au elderly will lose their care.

What You Can Do 

Come to a Public Meeting at the Ramparts Centre, Rampart St, off Commercial Road, Whitechapel, London. ( nr Aldgate East ). Sunday 29th may. 1 PM.

 Join the campaign to support Dale Farm come to the meeting or visit

You could also  send a protest letter to Basildon council. or our ‘listening’ Birgit governmment.