The council had run a consultation on options for the estate, but removed all options that weren’t demolition. The judge Justice Elisabeth Laing found that this made its decision to demolish illegal.
Resident and campaigner Gerlinde Gniewosz told Socialist Worker, “We’re over the moon. They now have to put the option of refurbishing the estate back on the table and run a proper consultation. And there’s a clear majority that would prefer refurbishment.”
Campaigners ran their own survey of residents’ views with responses from over 70 percent of homes—the majority of them opposing demolition.
Gerlinde said, “The evidence the council was collecting for its consultation was pointing the same way. But they cut it short when it wasn’t going the way they wanted. What’s the point of doing a consultation if you’re just going to rig it.”
Councils across London bent on getting rid of council homes will have been watching the Cressingham Gardens case closely.
Tenant Eva Bokrosova was the claimant. She said, “The council has put me and my neighbours on Cressingham Gardens through absolute agony for three full years since the regeneration was first mentioned.
“I believe they only ever had their eye on one goal – full demolition – and that they are motivated by a political agenda rather than what is best for residents.”
The campaign has been active for several years, organising demonstrations and other events as well as fighting in court.
Gerlinde said, “It’s about community empowerment. The protests brought the issue to the attention of wider numbers of people.
“There’s been amazing support from across Brixton—people have been doing gigs in Brixton too raise money for our legal costs.”
Eva said, “I hope that we can inspire others that with an organised effort residents can show up authorities who misuse their power for what they are – bullies.