How we debunked the ‘regeneration’ lie: One year since the People’s Regeneration Show Home

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Last year we turned a smashed empty building into a beautiful family home. This is how we did it.

One year ago, several dozen of us did something remarkable. In the midst of London’s still-ongoing housing crisis, and as Barnet Council and Annington Properties Ltd continued to push for the social cleansing of the Sweets Way estate, we came together to undermine the core argument behind the destruction of our – and so many others’ – homes across London: that the only viable option for the estate was demolition and developer-led regeneration.

Following each family eviction, contractors were unleashed on our former homes, smashing porcelain, wastewater pipes and removing everything short of the doors they used to keep us out. In building after building, we found a pattern of deliberate damage that could only be explained as a way to make these otherwise liveable homes unliveable, in the midst of a housing crisis! The consistency between the buildings made clear that this was not the work of a rogue contractor, but a deliberate strategy to justify the demolition of the estate and to prevent its reoccupation.

But rather than dwell on the sociopathic tendencies of Sweets Way’s legal owners, we decided to prove that there was – and is – an alternative to handing homes to private developers for so-called ‘regeneration.’ In just one week, with found and donated materials, a few hundred pounds and countless hours of voluntary labour, we turned a smashed up shell of a building into a beautiful family home, overflowing with character and the strength of community that made it possible.

Now, one year on, we wanted to share how we did what we did. In July 2016, London is none-the-better-off then it was then. Estates are still being given away to private property developers intent only on making profit from the places we call home. Families are still being pushed out of London and forced to choose between rent, food, bills, furniture and other essentials.

The need for us – all of us – to continue to stand together and take back the homes we need has never been greater. The People’s Regeneration Show Home was one way we tried to do this, and we hope the lessons it offered can be put to use by others working to bring their communities together to shine a light on the regeneration lie and to demonstrate the power of people to create the housing solutions we need.

The PDF below offers a detailed guide to the steps we took to create the show home. Download it, share it, put it to use where you are and feel free to drop us a line [sweetswayresists[AT]] if there is anything we can do to help you make it happen!


Sweets Way Resists

Download the PDF guide here

Here are some of the things the media had to say about the show home:

CALL-OUT: Court solidarity with those arrested at SW eviction



WHERE? Willesdon Magistrates Court, (448 High Road, London, NW10 2DZ)
WHEN? Friday, December 18, 1pm


On 23 and 24 of September, the Sweets Way estate was evicted by dozens of High Court bailiffs and 7 vans of London Met police. Nearly a hundred occupiers of dozens of homes were turfed out, as was Mostafa, the last original resident of the estate. Supporters peacefully attempted to stop Mostafa’s eviction, many of whom were arrested. Fifteen now face criminal charges for obstructing High Court Enforcement Officers.

Their trial is scheduled to take place over three days, from 10am on Wednesday, December 16, through Friday, December 18. Supporters are encouraged to attend the hearings each day, but we are calling a solidarity rally outside Willesdon Magistrates Court for 1pm on Friday, December 18 to take a stand with those who were arrested for standing up to social cleansing.

Stay tuned for more details…

In Support Of Supporting Each Other


In the last week we celebrated the release of the two Sweets Way protesters who have been held on remand since the evictions at Sweets Way on the 23rd and 24th of September. That the magistrates granted bail without the requirement for the two protesters to give their names or any other details is a victory and testament to the moral grounds for resistance against the eviction of the estate.

The campaign has been a tough one for all involved, and it would be wrong to say it has been a picture-perfect example of political resistance the whole time. The campaign is a constantly-evolving thing, and we have all done our best to move with the times as circumstances have changed. With many different groups with different agendas coming to Sweets Way, particularly in the final couple of months, it became difficult to maintain the original image that was portrayed all the way back in February. Certainly there were displays of behaviour that did not sit well with people involved in the campaign or with outside supporters and spectators.

However, in acknowledging this we also acknowledge that all the people involved in the occupation on the Sweets Way Estate are part of the same struggle against social cleansing, and inadequate housing policies by corrupt politicians and the companies they are in cahoots with. As people, we all at times operate on different levels, have different priorities, and ways of doing things. We need to be able to understand the perspectives of others, and through our differences find the common ground that will allow us to be effective in our actions. Sometimes it is easy to focus on the negative consequences of actions that take place directly in front of us, but when we take a step back we can see that companies like Annington are guilty of worse offences than curse words on a wall. Many of the people who moved into the Sweets Way Estate throughout the occupation were instrumental in supporting and being part of the campaign. From those that helped organise and attend demonstrations and those that would come over and play with the children at the community house, to those that simply occupied the estate for personal reasons but effected great political leverage in the fight to stop Mostafa being evicted and the estate being demolished.

And of course those who put themselves in the firing line and were arrested during the evictions that took place 3 weeks ago. We applaud their selfless acts of defiance, and are so glad to say they are all now at least on bail. We will continue to show up to their court cases and support them as they supported the campaign.

And so it seems that this is the end, but it is only the end of one particular stage of the campaign. This is an ongoing battle, and there are many fronts on which to face it. We fight for Mostafa, whom Barnet Homes continue to treat so unfairly, and we fight for everyone and anyone who faces losing their homes due to the injustice of the housing market. Through this campaign so many great people have come together, renters and squatters, activists and families, and made Sweets Way Resists possible with our mix of skills, experience, and other contributions. There are many lessons to be learnt from our experience over the last 8 months, but we couldn’t have achieved all that we did without each other, and connections and friendships have been forged in the fire of resistance, perhaps even in unexpected ways. Emerging from this fire, we can say with conviction that we are not done with Annington Homes yet, nor with Barnet Homes nor any of the other exploitative and corrupt developers and councillors involved in destroying people’s housing. Plans are in motion, and we won’t stop until we win!

Below are two messages to everyone from the former residents of the Sweets Way Estate:

As a parent you are teaching your child as your parents taught you, to help people especially those in need and to stand for what’s right, yet especially today where a few people who did exactly that (by standing with solidarity with disabled father who has been so mistreated and was facing eviction to make room for greedy tax exile investment), are going to court. Maybe we should teach our children the ugly reality – that if you stand for what’s right and decide to help those in need you will face jail and fines…

We do live in ugly world indeed. Since February we were fighting outrageous behaviour of Barnet Homes towards hard working people of the amazing community of Sweets Way. We fight to save much needed homes and the future of neighbourhood. My kids met beautiful people who committed their lives to changing the world, very inspirational people. So what I will teach my kids is very simple – helping others and making changes for better in this world is risky, and you might end up with criminal record or in jail, but making changes is much needed in this world and standing for those in need is essential. The system we live in is design to bully weak and support greed. So dear children, follow your heart, not the rules of the broken system.

As an ex-tenant of Sweets Way, my family and I would like to thank all the protesters who believe in the campaign to save Sweets Way.

We also like to give a big thanks to those protesters who were willing to be arrested to save Sweets Way and for protecting the last family left on the estate.

But most of all we would like to thank the two unnamed protesters who spent time in prison for something they believed in.

We have made some good friends though this campaign and I would just like to say keep up the good work.

Barnet tell Mostafa he’s on his own now

After months of inaccessible housing offers, a brutal eviction and an ongoing refusal to recognise the extent of his disability, Barnet Homes have discharged their duty to house Mostafa and his family, leaving them alone to find a home! Barnet need to hear from ALL of us this week!

Photo: Micha Theiner (The Independent)

Photo: Micha Theiner (The Independent)

Last Wednesday afternoon, after going to hospital earlier in the week with a stress-related illness following his eviction, Mostafa went back to his GP to get a stronger painkiller prescription. As is not uncommon when changing medication, the new drugs left him exhausted, hardly able to stay awake.

Mostafa’s son, Ash, emailed Barnet Homes to say that, under duress, his father was planning to sign for and accept the current inaccessible housing offer, but was unable to do so before the 2pm deadline they had decided upon, due to the side effects of his change in medication. He received no response.

At 7pm, he received a reply: it told him that his father had missed the latest deadline to accept the property and that Barnet Homes were discharging their duty to him. This also comes after a new letter from Mostafa’s GP, presented to Barnet Homes, outlined the exact extent of Mostafa’s needs. The letter was rejected by Barnet, even after they had asked for further evidence of his disability, claiming it wasn’t sufficient and that only a letter from a hospital consultant – which often take months to secure – would be accepted.

After a discharge, Mostafa will be determined to be ‘intentionally homeless,’ a twisted use of language that aims to blame people who have suffered through unjust treatment by the Council, for their situation. If this discharge of duty is upheld, Mostafa will have incredibly limited recourse to housing support in the next two years, and it will be much harder to challenge the three years of mistreatment he has already received from the Council.

Barnet Homes need to reverse their decision NOW! And if they are going to do so, they need to know that the public spotlight hasn’t gone away after their family’s eviction. They need to hear from us!

Email Troy Henshall [], Chief Executive of Barnet Homes, and ask him to re-assume duty of care for Mostafa’s housing needs, effective immediately. You can find a template email here.

Barnet seem more concerned with asserting vindictive power over Mostafa’s life, than with living up to their duty of care. For the past several months, they have constantly said that a new home is within his reach, then have pulled it away at the last second, or claimed that yet another piece of information is required before they can act to address his needs. This is utterly shameful and the individuals responsible shouldn’t be allowed to stay in their jobs, as the details of Mostafa’s treatment come to light.

Barnet clearly thought that after the media explosion sparked by their cruel eviction of a wheelchair user, that attention would fade and they could get on with the dirty work of washing their hands of his situation. Let’s prove them wrong! We will not rest until Barnet have provided Mostafa with the home he needs and deserves!

Will Barnet Homes make Mostafa an accessible offer now?

We have news that gives Mostafa and his family a little hope. On Friday Ash, Mostafa’s son, obtained a letter from his GP as evidence that Mostafa needs a fully-wheelchair accessible home. Will Barnet Homes accept it?


Will you help us and stand by Mostafa on Monday?

When: This Monday @ 12:30pm
Where: Outside Barnet Homes (1255 High Road, N20)
What: To deliver the latest petition names, and ask Barnet Homes to respect the medical opinions of Mostafa’s GP (and other health professionals), and make him an offer of a truly accessible property.

Here’s a rundown of what has happened in the last few days:

On Wednesday Mostafa was evicted from his current house on the Sweets Way estate. He was now homeless, and the urgency of the situation had multiplied.

But after delivering the 33,000 petition signatures gathered in his name to Barnet Homes, he received an email reiterating the same arguments he had heard countless times over: that based on the information they had, he was not in need of a fully-wheelchair accessible home. But it also included the following passage: “We will be happy to revisit this decision if we are able to receive further information from the consultant at the hospital you attend.”

Having approached the hospital for this evidence but knowing that hospital bureaucracy would mean waiting a long time for it, we thought about what might be the next-best-option. Mostafa has been seeing the same GP for nearly four years, since the accident that left him with his current disability. As the longest-standing health professional in Mostafa’s life, his GP seemed like a strong candidate to explain to Barnet Homes exactly the extent to which Mostafa can and cannot mobilise without a wheelchair.

Upon calling Barnet Homes on Mostafa’s behalf to confirm their receipt of the new evidence, we were immediately told: ‘this is not the evidence we asked for.’ We explained that it was the best that was available in the urgency of the current situation, and was in fact likely a stronger indicator of Mostafa’s medical needs, than that of a less-frequently-visited hospital consultant.

We were told that next week the new evidence would be reviewed and eventually promised that Mostafa’s current offer wouldn’t be withdrawn before Monday, but they would not commit to holding the property until a decision had been made by Barnet’s medical assessors.

Meanwhile, a family friend has agreed to let Mostafa stay with him over the weekend. This has only been possible because the friend’s son has agreed to stay with others ‘til Monday, leaving Mostafa his room. We need to be sure that on Monday, Barnet Homes looks rationally at the evidence before them, accepts the scale of Mostafa’s housing needs and either agrees to make the currently-offered home fully-wheelchair accessible, or to make him a new offer that is.

Since the petition delivery, thousands more of you that have added your names to the tally. We want to go back on Monday to re-submit the petition and ask that Barnet Homes make Mostafa a truly-suitable offer. They asked for more evidence, and Mostafa has provided it to the best of his ability; let’s hope this leads to a decision that works for all involved.

Join us at 12:30pm on Monday (Sept 28) outside Barnet Homes (1255 High Road, N20) to deliver the latest petition names, and ask them to respect the medical opinions of Mostafa’s GP (and other health professionals), and make him an offer of a truly accessible property.

Mostafa evicted and prisoner solidarity needed!

This morning the violent thugs returned to the estate after yesterday’s brutal Sweetstopia eviction and executed their possession order against Mostafa and his family, the final original residents at Sweets Way. Solidarity actions with those arrested at 6pm.


High Court bailiffs smashed through the window of the room Mostafa was sleeping in, to forcibly remove him from his home today. The eviction leaves the family without a home, unwilling to sign for a property offered by Barnet Homes that he literally can’t get in and out of in his wheelchair. This offer would be enough of an insult, were it not already coming after three years of mistreatment of the family by Barnet Homes.

The family have been attempting to secure additional evidence that Barnet claim they need to house him properly, but have been stifled by bureaucracy in the past week. Today, they will be pursuing alternative evidence that will be presented to Barnet as soon as it is received. The family has until tomorrow (Friday) to accept the current offer or face discharge from the Barnet Homes housing list.

Many supporters gathered to impede Mostafa’s eviction, with several taking to the roof of the house to do so. High Court bailiffs in a cherry picker crane have since physically removed the protestors, one-by-one, arresting them for obstruction. Sixteen arrests of peaceful protesters were made this morning.

We will continue to support Mostafa in this critical moment. We also need to make sure that those who were defending his home feel all of our support for their brave stands this morning and over the last months.

Join us at either Colindale police station (Grahame Park Way, NW9 5TW) OR South Harrow Police Station (74 Northolt Road, HA2 0DN) at 6pm (people are being held at both stations) to demand their unconditional release!

We will not see our friends locked up, while Guy Hands and the architects of social cleansing at Sweets Way are allowed to walk free!


This is the Sweets Way Resists statement on the current mass eviction happening across the estate. Support needed at Mostafa’s at 6am Thursday for 2nd round of evictions!

UPDATE: After a brutal day, Sweetstopia was evicted, as was the People’s Regeneration Show Home, but Mostafa and the Sweets Way Resists community house remain. We expect bailiffs and police to return tomorrow (Thursday) morning and need support. Please come to 46 Sweets Way at 6am if you can, to help keep Mostafa in his home!


After more than six months of occupation to prevent the demolition of 142 family homes, Barnet Council, Annington Properties, the London Metropolitan Police and other emergency services are colluding to carry out a violent eviction of the entire Sweets Way estate.

Mostafa and his family remain in their home, but will be in court today at 3pm challenging the use of high court bailiffs for their eviction. If they lose, it seems inevitable that the eviction will extend to 46 Sweets Way immediately, while they are still in at the courthouse.

What we are facing right now is the hard edge of social cleansing; when we dig in and fight to stay in our homes and our communities in London, we are met with violence. This is the brutal truth of ‘regeneration’ and ‘gentrification.’

The use of public resources to carry out this eviction is especially disturbing, and the Met and Council have a lot to answer for. Public money should not be spent protecting Annington’s private investment, particularly as its returns will end up in Guernsey and the Cayman Islands, robbing the British public of any benefits from this twisted arrangement, once again.

With or without the occupation, we will continue to fight Annington and Barnet at every juncture. We will not stand by and accept the social cleansing of our community, or our city.

We have impeded development for more than six months; many families have been rehoused in better situations, and we have shone a bright light on the vile processes through which poor and working people are being cleansed from the capital.

We remind everyone in London and beyond who are facing other battles in the fight for homes and community, that we need to stand together to keep our communities intact, especially as so few politicians are willing to stand with us.

We may lose the estate, but we have joined Focus E15, New Era, Our West Hendon, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth, the Aylesbury resistance and others in making it clear that social cleansing will come at an immense price for Councils and developers alike.

It is no longer business as usual for the architects of social cleansing.

The fight is not over! Come to Mostafa’s house at 46 Sweets Way for 6am Wednesday to help stop the eviction of the final original Sweets Way resident!

Barnet Homes have decided that Mostafa can walk

Yesterday Barnet refused to commit to the renovations needed to make a house offered to the last Sweets Way family, accessible for Mostafa’s needs as a wheelchair user.


Mostafa, in his home at Sweets Way

Barnet Homes decided, unequivocally on Monday, that Mostafa – a resident of the last Sweets Way household and a wheelchair user with serious spinal injuries – is able to walk. They refused to tell the family exactly how they had come to this conclusion.

This would be utterly ridiculous if the costs were not so high. Mostafa injured his back three years ago while working as a carer in a home for the elderly. Since then, Barnet Homes have bounced the family around between temporary accommodations, none of which have been suitable to Mostafa’s needs. But after years of indignity and challenges created by inadequate housing offers, Mostafa is clear that he will not settle for something that fails to meet his basic needs. His Sweets Way home is far from perfect, but he’s not keen to go through the stress of another move, only to find his situation worsened and access reduced.

The house offered by Barnet Homes is not in Barnet (it is in Enfield), miles away from Mostafa’s medical appointments, his five-year-old daughter’s school, and the family and support networks that Mostafa relies on. But even these concerns aside for a moment, there is nothing suitable about the property itself.

In spite of the facts, Barnet have decided that Mostafa is only a part-time wheelchair user, and that he only needs the wheelchair when he is outside of the house. They somehow came to this conclusion after reading the latest report from Mostafa’s occupational therapist, which includes the following passages:

  • “[Mostafa] reports having very limited confidence when mobilising without wheelchair. [He] described that when mobilising, his left leg can “collapse”, presenting a possible further falls risk, and this appears to be affecting his confidence to mobilise without use of his wheelchair.
  • [Mostafa] reported previous falls within the current and previous property, one of which he claimed had resulted in him becoming unconscious…
  • [Mostafa’s] medication regime also reportedly causes him significant dizziness and drowsiness, and the pain he experiences in the mornings does not abate for roughly 1.5 hours until his medication has taken effect.”

And were these quotes not evidence enough, they are corroborated by several other reports, by Mostafa’s GP, a local disability charity, and several other medical professionals and experts. Finally, that same occupational therapist report recommends that a new home “should feature doorways that are wide enough to allow [Mostafa] to mobilise independently in his wheelchair.” This is simply not the case at the new house and Barnet Homes claims there is simply no need for it to be.

When asked how they came to the conclusion that Mostafa was ‘able to mobilise within the house with the use of a cane,’ they could only say that ‘we make our assessments based on looking at the range of factors available to us.’ What specifically those factors were, and how the assessment came to so thoroughly contradict the statements about Mostafa’s need for a wheelchair-friendly home, remains shrouded in mystery. All the officials will say is that ‘we’re clearly not going to agree on the assessment,’ as though Mostafa’s ability to get in and out of rooms in his house was something that needed to be agreed upon!

Ultimately, because Barnet’s housing policy is so skewed towards finding any excuse to discharge people from its list, Mostafa accepted the place, but on the conditions that he will move once a series of basic health and safety questions have been adequately addressed, the main one being that the door frames are widened to allow his wheelchair to pass freely through them.

The coming days will determine the critical detail of the arrangement, though at this stage, Barnet expect Mostafa to move into a home that will require him to have twenty-four-hour adult support around to actually live in. They will not admit that this is the case, and though they have the power to discharge him from their housing list, they do not have the power to deny the realities of Mostafa’s disability.

The selective reading of Mostafa’s medical reports is unacceptable. We know that if they are doing this to him, they are inevitably doing the same to so many others. Their offer has been reluctantly accepted, but the details are still to be ironed out – and now is the moment when Barnet Homes needs to hear from all of us, so they know that they can’t simply pick-and-choose the facts they deem worthy of assessment and then decide what they are responsible for, based on hand-picked details, which they are unwilling to even reveal to the family involved.

Mostafa needs the following adaptations made to the property on offer, if it is going to be an acceptable place for him to live with his family:

  1. All ground floor door frames expanded to allow an independent wheelchair user to pass through easily,
  2. A stair lift so Mostafa can reach his daughter’s second floor bedroom.

Until these adaptations (as well as those already agreed to by Barnet) are complete, Mostafa would only be able to live in the new property with twenty-four hour assistance, for both practical needs and in case of emergencies. This is not acceptable.

We held a noisy protest outside Barnet Homes today, but we need to keep the pressure up. They need to know that London is watching them and will continue to stand with Mostafa.

Send Troy Henshall [], Interim Chief Executive of the Barnet Group (which owns Barnet Homes) an email right away, and tell him that Barnet needs to acknowledge the true state of Mostafa’s health, and then accept exactly what their responsibilities are.

Demand that they do exactly what is needed to make the new property accessible, and that they support Mostafa’s right to remain at Sweets Way until they can demonstrate, without doubt, that he will be safe and able to live independently in his new home!

Make sure Mostafa gets the home he needs!

Barnet Homes have made Mostafa an offer of a new house, but we need to make sure they will make it truly accessible for a wheelchair user before he accepts it. Join us on Monday to support Mostafa at Barnet Homes!

You may have been following Mostafa’s story for some time now. As the last original resident on Sweets Way, we have rallied together to help keep him and his family in their home and to pressure Barnet to find him accommodation that truly meets his needs.

We have gone to court, been to meetings, held protests and resisted a High Court bailiff eviction attempt against him. And the pressure is working!

Last week, Barnet Homes offered Mostafa a long-term home. However, it was a home that didn’t meet his physical access needs. After some negotiation, Barnet have agreed to make some of the changes to the property that would make it accessible to a wheelchair user, though they refuse to acknowledge the difficulty Mostafa has within the house, without his wheelchair. They think it is fine for him to rely on a strong adult being there with him 24/7 to help him so-much-as go to the bathroom or kitchen, and don’t think it is important for him to be able to reach his five-year-old daughter in what-would-be her third floor bedroom.

Barnet have given the family until Monday afternoon to accept the house. If they don’t, Barnet have said they will declare the family ‘intentionally homeless’ and discharge them from the housing list.

He said:

“As it stands, this offer is unacceptable. Barnet Homes are pressuring me and stressing me out to accept it, but without the specified firm commitments to renovate the building, it is not suitable for my needs. Even with renovations, it is still out of the borough and miles away from my family, friends and doctors. The house is three floors and they expect me to leave my five year old daughter on the third floor which I cannot access, either in case of an emergency, or just to put her to bed at night.”

Mostafa wants to accept the house, after three years of anger and indignity from the council, but wants to be sure they have committed to the changes he needs to be able to live with reasonable independence with his family.

Join us on Monday (Sept 7), 1pm at Barnet Homes (1255 High Road, Whetstone, N20), to make sure Mostafa gets the home – and the renovations – he needs!

Video by

Brutal attack by new private security firm!

On Wednesday night, new security guards, Dorman, were caught on video violently attacking occupiers. CALL THEM NOW AND DEMAND THE GUARDS ARE FIRED!


At about 8pm on Wednesday, private security attacked two occupiers from Sweetstopia, who were wheeling a shopping trolly across the estate.

None of us ever wanted our campaign to protect our homes to come to this, but those with money have clearly decided that the only way to protect their investment, is through violence. Wednesday a new security firm, Dorman, arrived on site, and within hours had sparked the first outbreak of violence in six months of peaceful campaigning.

After a young man and woman from the Sweetstopia occupation were violently wrestled to the ground by security guards without cause, dozens of occupiers came to their defence. Dorman security began to attack and detain them (without having the legal authority to do so), closing a group in behind the temporary Heras fencing placed around many of the empty houses on the estate.

We called the police, who arrived and moderated between us and Dorman, but not before one of the occupiers was physically beaten by security, leaving him with a bleeding head injury and was eventually sent to hospital.

Even after the police left, Dorman again assaulted more occupiers until we called the police once again.

During the attacks, Dorman guards covered up, shone lights at, and threw away cameras and phones that were filming their brutality. None of the security had badges on display either, which is illegal.


Call Dorman NOW and demand that their staff at Sweets Way are IMMEDIATELY FIRED.

Call them on 0208 951 4909 or 07957 360 185.

Video by In My Way To Free: