Property speculators and landlords came together at the Royal Institution in London last Thursday at an event organised by media firm Bisnow. They discussed plans to push out the poor to make way for their profit-driven redevelopment projects.
Speakers at the invite-only event were candid about their plans for the private rental sector (PRS).
Barry Coltrini, from Essential Living, revealed, “PRS as a product is not there to solve the housing crisis. It’s there to provide a product and choice.”
Debra Yudolph, a partner at Say Property Consulting, chipped in, “It’s difficult to gentrify places without excluding the people that should remain there.”
Developers want to get into the “buy to rent” market rather than building homes and selling them on.
While development company bosses are working out how to make the fastest buck, tenants across London are fighting to keep their homes.
Naila Choudhury spoke to Socialist Worker about how she’s fighting the redevelopment of huge swathes of public land in Brent Cross, north London.
The redevelopment threatens some 217 homes, some rented, some owned. Two housing associations are set to take control of the new homes being planned.
“The council is being deliberately vague about what rights we have in terms of returning to the area,” she said, describing how residents are getting organised.
“We’ve been putting through objections to the proposals. I think consultations the council held with residents have been misleading.
“They’ve been giving out incomplete information.”
Naila and other tenants have taken petitions round the affected estates and got other residents to fill out a questionnaire. That includes the question, “Do you want to transfer from council ownership to housing associations?”
A majority of tenants and residents have said no.
A key step in the campaign is 26 May—the date the council is set to submit planning proposals to push through the redevelopment.
Campaigners want to get their petition against the proposals submitted by then.
“We wanted a public meeting with a representative from the council and the developers but they made excuses why they couldn’t meet us,” said Naila.
“Last Saturday we went ahead with a public meeting anyway. There was a big turnout.
“They want to meet us one by one and entice us with offers but they haven’t discussed how our rights will be affected by going into the arrangement.
“But if we all come together it will have more of an effect. We need to block this from an early stage.”