Myatts Field – Our Health, Our Lives, Our Homes

Picture credit Urban 75

Picture credit Urban 75

Our Health, Our Lives, Our Homes
Protest 10am July 25th
Bramah Green Community Centre, Myatts Field North SW9 7RG
Contact Steve on 07944 293854 or officerramb@gmail.com

Residents living on the Myatts Field North PFI ‘regeneration’ scheme , situated between Brixton and the Oval and now branded ‘Oval Quarter ‘ by estate agents and developers , are planning to protest against intolerable living conditions on the demolition site on Friday , July 25th , meeting at Bramah Green Community Centre on the estate at 10am.

The protest is organised by the Myatts Field North Residents Association and Monitoring Board (RAMB) which represents council tenants and leaseholders living on the estate, and is supported by Defend Council Housing , Lambeth Housing Activists, Unite Community Fuel Poverty Action and Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth.

What is termed ‘regeneration’ by Lambeth Council and the PFI developers has become an intolerable situation for many residents who fear for their health, mental well being and safety living on the demolition site.

Some leaseholders , having lived In the area for generations, have been forced out of the redevelopment because they can’t afford the new homes, and tenants moving to new build housing face rent and council tax hikes which put even the new council homes beyond what they can afford.

Many tenants have left the area to be re- housed elsewhere – sometimes in inferior accommodation, away from family , friends or school connections.
Many of those who have opted to stay are increasingly angry with the poor standard of services they get from the PFI consortium.

The £150m PFI project was branded as a life changing opportunity for the residents.

By building higher density housing the developers have squeezed 980 homes onto a site which previously contained just 477 council homes, while providing a new community centre and claiming to retain the same amount of public space.

The additional homes on the site – 357 for private sale and 146 shared ownership – are selling at prices consistent with the bubble in London ( over £500m for a 3 bedroom home ) – a different world from the majority of people in the Vassall ward, which Is one of the most deprived wards in the borough of Lambeth.

One former leaseholder who had lived on the estate for 22 years and has now told by the council to go on the homelessness register and apply for temporary accommodation was told she needed an income of £63,000 p.a. to apply for a shared ownership home.

And while some council tenants are relieved to be living in new homes after years of living on a badly maintained estate, many have had to give up cherished gardens and homes that they loved.

Many residents feel that they are not treated well during the process of moving home. To a developer watching its profit margins and costs, residents still living on the site are just in the way. One leaseholder was evicted from her home while her children were in the house, and was only returned to her property after a protest by neighbours.

And many tenants who are remaining in their homes during the construction process – including elderly and vulnerable tenants with disabilities – are finding the noise , dust and contractor traffic intolerable, but say that the council never listens when they ask for help.

A recent report produced jointly by residents and Professor Hodkinson of the University of Leeds has highlighted serious health and safety breaches on the PFI site. Lambeth Council have yet to respond to these latest revelations, which used testimony from a ‘whistle blower ‘ who worked for one of the PFI contractors.

Prior to this , residents working with Professor Stuart Hodkinson compiled a survey showing very poor standards of refurbishments in the retained council homes. As a result of this, Lambeth Council have now been prompted to do their own survey of the refurbishment.

Residents are now so fed up we are taking to the streets in an attempt to get our grievances heard.

Having been ignored by the developers and council for so long , we are welcoming other estates, community groups and trade unions to the protest. We want council housing built for the needs of the 27,000 on Lambeth’s waiting list , not fake ‘regenerations’ which do little or nothing to address the borough’s housing need, but reap rich rewards for the PFI corporations and banks.