On the afternoon of Sept 11th members of the Grenfell Action Group, the Grenfell Tower Leaseholders Association and the Lancaster West Residents Association will meet with the Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Nick Paget-Brown.
We will have many questions to put to the Leader of the Ruling Party in Hornton Street but top of the agenda will be the threat of the social cleansing of our community following the Council’s sickening and immoral managed decline of Lancaster West Estate.
At a recent meeting with Councillor Fielding Mellen, (Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration), Laura Johnson (RBKC Head of Housing) and Peter Maddision (TMO Assets) local stakeholders were informed that there is no funding available for even maintaining the existing housing stock on Lancaster West for the foreseeable future.
This is despite the fact that the vast majority of Lancaster West Estate has seen little or no investment in improving or maintaining the existing housing and amenity for over 40 years.
The Estate has literally been allowed to decline into a slum due to the negligence of the Council, our local Labour Councillors and the TMO and with no prospect of any further investment the future looks very bleak indeed.
When pressed about the ultimate fate of Lancaster West residents in the face of such lack of investment and deliberate cruelty, Councillor Fielding Mellen, conceded that the long-term vision of the Council will be to “regenerate” the Lancaster West Estate although he would not put a time frame on when the Council planned for this to happen.
However, it will be at this point that current Lancaster West residents’ real problems begin as the Council has already put the legislation in place to socially cleanse our community. In our view RBKC have a brutal and frightening time planned for anyone unfortunate enough to live in their social housing.
This heartless legislation is contained in a new RBKC document called the ‘Decant Policy’ the architect of which was the previous Cabinet Member for Housing and Property, Councillor Tim Coleridge, a man who appears to have falsely claimed that he abhorred the idea of social cleansing.
This shameful fascist policy will destroy our community and allow the Council to simply return existing tenants on Lancaster West Estate to the ‘common housing register’ for a period of one year. If no suitable property has been identified within this time frame then the Council will make one final offer with no guarantee that this offer will allow the tenant to return to their existing community or even to the Rotten Borough.
Most likely Lancaster West residents will be offered property outside of London and be compelled to move to places like Peterborough or Manchester.
On refusal of such a final offer the tenant will be deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless and will have their property repossessed by the Council without any further obligation to rehouse.
Shakespeare records the triumph of the wicked in a famous line from King Lear:
“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport”
We believe that the Council should be a custodian of the well-being of all in our Borough and not a force for evil spreading fear and unease amongst the most vulnerable residents before forcibly removing them from their communities. Shame on them.