I get tired of going over the same arguments.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.
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.