In early May 2015, the Grenfell Action Group published a blog that explained how the noose of regeneration is tightening around the necks of those living in social housing in North Kensington:
It is the our conviction that RBKC and it’s trigger man, Cllr Feilding-Mellen, are about to launch a vicious assault on the North Kensington community that will see social housing destroyed so that the Council can replace traditional working class homes with unaffordable “affordable” housing and penthouses and apartments for the “buy to leave” market”.
It is our understanding that the Estate’s in North Kensington being targeted for this purpose by the neo-cons in Hornton Street are as follows: the Treverton Estate, parts of the Balfour of Burleigh Estate, the remains of Silchester Estate and the “finger blocks” of our own beloved Lancaster West Estate.
Accompanying the threat to these estates is a constant background whine from Cllr Feilding-Mellen (RBKC Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration) sprouting propaganda that tenants will be allowed to return to their communities in the event of being decanted through “regeneration”:
BEWARE! DO NOT TRUST FEILDING-MELLEN AND THE LIES BEING PEDDLED BY THIS IMMORAL, LAND AND HOME GRABBING COUNCIL.
The truth of the matter is that the RBKC has drafted a “Decant Policy” that is both heartless and draconian and allows the Council to socially cleanse working class communities with impunity. While Feilding-Mellen talks about allowing tenants to return to their previous homes after estates have undergone “regeneration”, the legislation drafted by RBKC explicitly works against this happening. It would seem that the Council is entirely two-faced and is prepared to use both the carrot and the stick to enforce regeneration and ensure that tenants have no capacity to understand their struggle or to mount effective resistance.
We urge our readers to check out the details of the RBKC “Decant Policy” and come to understand just how frightening and fascist these policies are:
The RBKC “Decant Policy” has removed the guarantee (present in the RBKC Core Strategy and also in the GLA’s “London Plan)” that tenants have a right to return to their existing communities after their Estate’s have undergone “regeneration”. Unbelievably, the RBKC actually removed the word “guarantee”, which appeared in the draft of their “Decant Policy” but was deliberately removed from the final policy document so that they would have no legal obligation to re-house tenants in their original communities.
We, also, urge our readers to check out an equally chilling leaflet recently published by RBKC entitled Regneration: What it could mean for you- a leaflet for secure tenants:
www.rbkc.gov.uk/pdf/Regeneration a leaflet for secure tenants March 2015.pdf
This leaflet reiterates the harshness of the “Decant Policy” and is of cold comfort to social housing tenants in RBKC. Tenants facing regeneration will find that they have one year to find alternative accommodation and, if they cannot return to their original communities, which is likely to be the outcome in many cases, face being moved to the likes of Peterborough or Manchester. A refusal to relocate to one of these locations will result in the RBKC deeming the tenant “intentionally homeless” and they will forfeit their right to housing.
We know that the words of RBKC Councillors cannot be trusted after they shamelessly lied and tricked the Lancaster West community regarding the closure of our much loved “right of way” along Station Walk. We certainly do not trust Cllr Feilding-Mellen to deliver on his promise that secure tenants “housing rights” will be respected and we know that the RBKC now have the legislation in place to socially cleanse working class communities for profit and consistent with their extremist right-wing ideology.
We, also, know that we cannot rely on the pathetic RBKC Labour Group to assist their electorate in North Kensington as they have not even had the decency to alert the communities threatened with “regeneration” of the consequences they might face, far less, help them organise any effective resistance.
As we have known all along, If the threat of social cleansing is to be repelled in North Kensington it will have to come from the actions of the community. A lead and inspiration can be taken from the various campaigns (FocusE15, Sweets Way, Guinness Occupation, etc) around London which have shown that resistance is possible and victory obtainable. Meanwhile, when Cllr Feilding-Mellen and his quislings at RBKC Council come knocking down your Estate and telling you that it is good for you – think twice before swallowing their lies.