Urban75 Home About Offline BrixtonBuzz Contact

Brixton Somerleyton Road development, Ovalhouse and Brixton Green - funding, proposed rents etc

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
The community in Carlton Mansions didn't need to be broken up in that way to enable the Somerleyton rd Development. The Somerleyton Rd Development was really benefitting from the input of CM residents, who had come to the earliest meetings and were generous, in particular, of their support for the idea of the theatre on the site. The co-op had voted to agree to the development, knowing that it would mean being re-housed. We were all sure that we didn't want the Mansions empty, for all sorts of reasons. :(

Once the Fire Inspection had taken place the Somerleyton Rd Team found that it was out of their hands, too. It was a housing issue.... :(

In truth, as an individual, I ask myself if as a council tax payer I want my local council to take rent and council tax for accommodation which has been declared a fire risk, and the answer is no. I don't want any landlord to be taking money for housing that is declared a risk(and I know the co-op took their own advice and increased fire prevention measures, and there will always be two views on the level of risk, but I would guess the council, any council, would take a conservative view given their liability), but I saw some of the immense upset caused by the eviction which was so much sooner than the agreed vacating of the building that had been discussed, and it was all a big mess. The co-op members lost their homes and the site lost the continuity with the only residents ON the site, who could have been the foundation of the new community.
I get tired of going over the same arguments.

The Coop proposed measures to lower risk.

The Council refused point blank to even countenance them.

Finally falling back on argument that works would start on site summer 2015. So, as they said in court, a Council would be seeking vacant possession at that time anyway. So it was never all about fire risk. We could not find a way around it as it was on Council Future Brixton website for example. Once Council had got us out the dates changed. This was a cynical move by Council. It was what finally did it for our case. Council knew what it was doing. Once the court action had started they were going to get us out one way or another.

I find this line of argument that it was all an unfortunate big mess annoying. Its the line the Council want to use.

Fact of the matter is some elements in the Council in the short life section and in Regen ( not Neil) always wanted to see the back of us. It was always playing cat and mouse with the Council. Finally they found reason to start legal action.

And btw there was no need for an injunction without notice. That was just nasty. Our lawyers said that the Council had pursued this in an unusually aggressive way. It was a civil dispute - the Council refused the offer to mediate. They also refused the offer we made in court not to contest the right to possession but only the date.

To add. I asked the Council to at least drop the pursuit of an injunction in court. They refused. Even our Barrister was appalled at this. It was a misuse of an injunction and an infringement of human rights. It showed the Council mentality.

The whole experience has made me have to start to rethink my whole approach. I used to think one could engage in a constructive way with a Labour Council. My advice to the Coop was always to negotiate not just have a go at Council. I was in end proved wrong. The Council is an arm of the State. You do not realise the power and resources they have until they are turned on your community. Council is not there to support communities or people. It has it own dynamic and is separate from civil society. This is easy to forget.

I bumped into former Coop member today in West End. He said to me that Brixton is all about big money coming now. We were just one lot who were pushed out. Arches are next. Council are not really going to oppose it. They want it. That the Council wanted us out so they could do with the Mansions whatever they want. Its easier with us out.
 
Last edited:

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
There isn't any private money in Somerleyton Rd, though - it isn't a LBL - private co-development.
No, I know.
IIRC it's being funded through an SPV or through a Public Works loan, I believe.
If it's the former, it doesn't matter that no private money went in - Lambeth will have the ability to sell on part or all of their interest in the SPV at a profit, a la PFI, and once they do that, all tenure security for residents is "up in the air", as there's not really much precedent for enforcing rent limits that isn't 30-50 years old.
 
Last edited:

OvalhouseDB

Well-Known Member
Gramsci - I'm not surprised, your difficulty walking past.

And I can't and don't argue against all your points. All I'm saying is that it wasn't necessary, for the Somerleyton Rd Development process, for people to move from the Mansions until site work began. And from the team that I am part of it was a big unexpected mess that was out of our team's hands, and was a loss.

ViolentPanda: the extensive legal work for the terms between the SPV and the OCB (the management structure for the developed project - managing the housing co-ops and the other uses) and the housing co-ops currently in progress will detail the terms of the leases over the life of the project. Tenure security is important and essential to the aim to build a strong community in the new homes. There will be resident and community places on the OCB. The structure protects against the sell off of target rent and other homes to buy to let landlords etc (which people have felt strongly about at consultation) - but I agree this needs not to be at the expense of tenure security.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
Gramsci - I'm not surprised, your difficulty walking past.

And I can't and don't argue against all your points. All I'm saying is that it wasn't necessary, for the Somerleyton Rd Development process, for people to move from the Mansions until site work began. And from the team that I am part of it was a big unexpected mess that was out of our team's hands, and was a loss.

ViolentPanda: the extensive legal work for the terms between the SPV and the OCB (the management structure for the developed project - managing the housing co-ops and the other uses) and the housing co-ops currently in progress will detail the terms of the leases over the life of the project. Tenure security is important and essential to the aim to build a strong community in the new homes. There will be resident and community places on the OCB. The structure protects against the sell off of target rent and other homes to buy to let landlords etc (which people have felt strongly about at consultation) - but I agree this needs not to be at the expense of tenure security.
Thanks for that. I think the glaring gap in the SPV model isn't so much an ability to sell off to B-t-L landlords, it's rather the possibility that the SPV has no block on selling on part or all of the vehicle to - for example - a private equity fund, who'd then plead the commercial imperative to maximise returns from their investment. Lambeth either don't appear to have their eyes open, or possibly don't care what might happen 5-10 years down the road.
 

editor

hiraethified
And so it continues: Brixton Green instructed someone to take over the office of one of the volunteers today without giving any written notice whatsoever. The police were called.

del.jpg
 

editor

hiraethified
Brixton Green's mission statement sure seems at odds with what they're actually doing:

Brixton Green is about Brixton people working together to be at the forefront of the redevelopment of Somerleyton Road, in the heart of Brixton, London
It seems that they've handed over the centre to the Green Man Skills Zone.

The people behind the Green Man Skills Zone at Loughborough Junction have taken over running the community space at Six Brixton on behalf of Brixton Green. Six Brixton is the former meals on wheels kitchen that the council has made available on a ‘meanwhile’ basis until construction starts for the Somerleyton Road project – currently expected in November this year.

Over the next few days they’ll be undertaking some maintenance and redecorating work and will be ready to re-open next week for local bookings and some exciting projects for the months remaining. Michael Groce from the Green Man talks about their plans:

"Our job is to make sure a wide variety of local people get to use the space at Six Brixton, as well as support those already doing so. People can get in touch about renting this much needed community resource or come along to some of the fantastic events.

More importantly we want Six Brixton to be at the forefront of the future development on Somerleyton Road – somewhere local residents can come to for information about what’s happening and for training, apprenticeships and job opportunities.

This means using our experience and expertise to help local groups and individuals benefit from the Somerleyton Road and wider Future Brixton projects."

http://futurebrixton.org/somerleyton/green-man-at-six-brixton/
Was anyone consulted about these changes?
 

editor

hiraethified
Here's what "I won't post up on urban again because they ask too many questions" Brad thinks:
Brad Carroll – Director, Brixton Green says: “The Green Man Skills Zone has been fantastic at nurturing local enterprises and supporting local people into employment. We want to help make sure the Somerleyton Road Project provides jobs for local people. Having Green Man Skills managing Six Brixton will help ensure this happens.”
 
Mysterious!

The BB article which mentions the financial accounts is a bit misleading though - the note on Page 5 explains the apparent operating at a deficit - by saying that the GLA funding for the previous financial year had been released (albeit after the year end) which is pretty common practice for the GLA and means that many organisations like this appear to be running a deficit, when it's a cash flow issue being foisted on them by a funder. Structured as an IP (Industrial and Provident Society), BG are held by the same financial and reporting requirements as a co-operative, credit union etc. details on that are here

Press release on what the GLA funded seems to be here, which took about 4 clicks.

If you want to ask the funder about the £9k of arts funded activity you're free to contact them via www.awardsforall.org and they'll more than happily answer.

Have you tried calling Tessa Jowell about them? She's their patron - her office number's easily available?
 

editor

hiraethified
And I'm guessing Jason has already tried: info@brixtongreen.org from their donate page? Perhaps an email to that and then cc'ing in Tessa might prompt a response?

Their registered and postal address is still obviously the Opus one too. It's all over their website.
You'd think a community based organisation would ensure that it would be extra easy for the aforementioned community to actually reach them. Apparently not.
 
Yes I've read that - have you tried their phone number, dropped in to see them at Opus, written to the email address, written them a letter, asked Tessa?

I assume so?
 

editor

hiraethified
Yes I've read that - have you tried their phone number, dropped in to see them at Opus, written to the email address, written them a letter, asked Tessa?

I assume so?
I wasn't trying to get in touch with them in this instance, but they've certainly never answered any of my emails in the past and we all know what happened when people asked them questions on here.

And why should people be expected to write a bloody letter (and pay for the postage) or go walkabout up Acre Lane or go through a third party just to talk to someone who claims to represent them?

Besides, the video footage above and today's surprise eviction would appear to confirm their exceedingly poor communication skills.
 
Easy tiger, no need to snap. You might have noticed I tried to help the accuracy of your article and provide some info on the questions it asked. I've better things to be doing, in fact the pizza next to me is in danger of going cold. If BG call me back tomorrow I'll let you know - and then you'll have a number you know is working to pursue you inquiries, or at least know that you're being screened.

Aside from that, you're moving the goalposts;

At what point have I ever supported them 'evicting people', or ignoring attempts to communicate with people? It's terrible practice. I've just asked you whether you've exhausted ways of communicating with them and suggested alternatives that will force them to reply in front of some one more senior and with publicly agreed correspondence times + an office phone number she can't hide behind.

I don't know how many people BG employ, or who has access to their twitter or email accounts. I don't know the content or tone of your communication with them. I don't know anything other than the picture you posted about in post #97 as that's all the article includes - a photo and a line about what's purported to be happening.
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
And so it continues: Brixton Green instructed someone to take over the office of one of the volunteers today without giving any written notice whatsoever. The police were called.

View attachment 72760
Thats Maria who has done a lot at number 6. She is an active member of the Latin American community in Brixton.

She organised the "Brixton Come Together Festival". Which Brixton Green praised her for on there website:

This weekend the St Matthew’s Peace Gardens were taken over by a fantastic community festival organized by Maria Santos. The festival is called Brixton Come Together and is an inclusive event for all parts of the Brixton community.
Brixton Green were very proud to be part of this festival and happy to see so many of our members contributing. Other great Brixton community organizations attended the event including Colombiage.
Dennis Gyamfi, a trustee and founding member of Brixton Green, gave a great speech explaining the importance of Brixton people uniting particularly at this time.
And now they kick her out of Number 6.

If BG are going to be given the finished development to manage this is hardly a good sign.
 
As a side note - how can Dennis Gyamfi be a trustee of BG? They only list Brad on their accounts. Unless DG is a co-opted Trustee with no powers?

Is there multiple bodies for it - I&P and then something else? I don't have a trade account to any of the co-directors registration sites to check. CH1 any ideas?
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
At what point have I ever supported them 'evicting people', or ignoring attempts to communicate with people? It's terrible practice. I've just asked you whether you've exhausted ways of communicating with them and suggested alternatives that will force them to reply in front of some one more senior and with publicly agreed correspondence times + an office phone number she can't hide behind.
Tricky Skills has been trying to contact them as well from what he has posted elsewhere. He has not got replies from them either.
 

Gramsci

Well-Known Member
As a side note - how can Dennis Gyamfi be a trustee of BG? They only list Brad on their accounts. Unless DG is a co-opted Trustee with no powers?

Is there multiple bodies for it - I&P and then something else? I don't have a trade account to any of the co-directors registration sites to check. CH1 any ideas?
I think the webpage I linked up is quite old. I cannot see a date on it. He may have stood down.

Might be idea to get screenshot of that page.
 
Yes, but even so - they don't seem to have a structure that ever allowed that - I'll take a hunt tomorrow. He's still traceable through some of the director website listing orgs, but never quite trust the free ones. BG could have had a wider director / trustee board and then later voted to reduce it. That rings bells with me from something posted on here.
 
Sorry I forgot to post this earlier.

I had a missed call from BG's land line today. Don't have vmail activated on my phone, so they didn't leave a message.
 

editor

hiraethified
Sorry I forgot to post this earlier.

I had a missed call from BG's land line today. Don't have vmail activated on my phone, so they didn't leave a message.
Have we reached a point that Brixton Green actually returning a call is deemed worthy of a post?

These people claim to represent the local community, yet their reluctance and/or refusal to engage with the local community is already widely documented - and their recent antics of locking out long-term volunteers without notice and booting out a community organiser unannounced really leaves them with zero credibility.
 
Sorry dear, I was just doing what I said I was going to do last night. Had I not updated it, I'd be doing the same bad things re. communication that BG appear to be doing.

So, I'm sorry that taking perhaps 15 seconds of my time to post an update of something that I said I would do last night offends you.

Again, at no point in my posting history here have I ever defended BG.
 
Top