On 13 July 300 people attended a protest at Lambeth Town Hall to protest against Lambeth Council’s decision to proceed with the full demolition of the estate. This decision was made public, on Twitter, by Councillor Mathew Bennet, both before residents were informed and days before it was due to be put to a vote at the cabinet meeting.
ASH was one of a number of groups out to support residents. The breadth of groups – from Hands off Knights Walk, and Save Central Hill, two other Lambeth estates facing demolition, to Unite – is testimony to the fact that Cressingham Gardens is not an isolated situation, but part of the UKs failure to protect and develop a decent system of good quality, genuinely affordable homes. In social, economic and design terms, Cressingham Gardens is a successful part of our collective heritage of council housing. We should be maintaining and learning from it, not demolishing a community to make way for private buy-to-lets, a housing system London knows not to work.
The protest continued outside the Town Hall while residents attended the meeting and the councillors, in the face of overwhelming support for refurbishment, voted to demolish.
For a good account of the meeting, see this Brixton Buzz article http://www.brixtonbuzz.com/2015/07/lambeth-council-agrees-to-press-ahead-with-redevelopment-of-cressingham-gardens-following-passionate-cabinet-discussion/
The good news, however is that residents have been granted a judicial review by the High Court, where human rights lawyers instructed by a resident will argue that Lambeth unlawfully disregarded residents responses during the consultation period. So watch this space.
Finally, here is a sign made by an ASH member. Unfortunately, it looks like we will be needing it again, so feel free to print / use / modify.