You win some, you lose some

Our community house is now facing imminent eviction, we shut down Barnet Homes for 2 hours, a judge told Barnet Council that they can’t use high court bailiffs against Mostafa, and we were told that ‘no county court bailiffs will touch Sweets Way with a barge pole’!

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COMMUNITY HOUSE FACING EVICTION
Thursday began with an early start, prepping for and heading to the courts in Finchley Central in the rain. Our five-month old community occupation was up against a possession order. We knew there was precious little legal defence for our presence in the house, since most judges don’t seem as impressed as us that we have used our occupation to reinforce a powerful community in the face of deliberate attempts to destroy it, but we had to give it a go.

Unsurprisingly, we lost. Quickly. And the judge accepted the claimant’s assertion that High Court (not County Court) bailiffs would be required to remove us, since, according to the claimant’s barrister, ‘no county court bailiffs will touch Sweets Way with a barge pole.’ This comment was probably the only silver lining of a pretty bleak morning, and seems to be an indication that we’re doing something right. We assume all the county court bailiffs in London are taking a principled stand in solidarity with our struggle for housing justice by refusing to evict us.

WE SHUT DOWN BARNET HOMES!
IMG_20150827_124448From the courts, we went to Barnet Homes to protest the treatment Mostafa and his family have faced, and to make a series of demands that Barnet Homes needs to meet immediately to address the family’s needs. We shut down the building, at both entrances at several points over a two or three hour period, making crystal clear that if they continue to fail Mostafa and so many others, we will continue to make business-as-usual impossible for them.

MOSTAFA’S TEMPORARY COURTROOM VICTORY
Then, just as we were leaving, we heard from Mostafa, who had spent the morning at the Royal Courts of Justice, applying for a stay of execution on Barnet Council’s decision to allow High Court bailiffs to evict him without offering a time and date. What we all thought would have been a bureaucratic formality, turned out to be a major victory for the family and the campaign. Mostafa saw a judge, who was able to see Barnet’s utter lack of sensitivity over his needs as a person with disabilities and made clear that the Council would need to immediately cease any pending High Court bailiff actions and find a date to have a full and proper hearing to justify why they think they needed to do so in the first place.

This means that there will be at least weeks, possibly months, before the family have to leave their home, if Barnet continues to fail to offer them a suitable alternative. It also mean Mostafa will finally get a day in court to explain why he feels a High Court bailiff eviction is entirely unfair and disproportionate to the situation, after the decision to use High Court bailiffs against him was taken in secret, without his knowledge.

For once in the campaign, the justice system actually ruled on the side of justice! We won’t get too used to this, but it certainly helped balance out the legal ruling against our community home.

WE NEED REINFORCEMENTS
For the immediate future, we need people who are able to come stay the night at 76 Oakleigh Road North, to be able to help defend this crucial pocket of community strength we’ve held onto since Annington began evicting families from the estate.

If you think you can come along, please drop us an email on: sweetswayresists[AT]gmail.com

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THURSDAY! Two key ways to defend Sweets Way

We’re fighting in court for our community house at 9am, then doing a lunchtime protest at Barnet Homes to demand decent accommodation for Mostafa and the last family left on Sweets Way. CAN YOU JOIN US?

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KEY INFORMATION FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 27:

Sweets Way Resists courtroom solidarity
9am – 12pm
St Marys Court
Regents Park Road, N3
Near Finchley Central tube (Northern Line)

Barnet Homes Lunchtime Protest: Give Mostafa a home!
12:30pm – 2:00pm
Barnet House
1255 High Road, N20
Near Totteridge and Whetstone tube (Northern Line)

Two weeks ago we got notice that after five months in our second occupation house, we are going to have to go to court to defend our protest there. After months of bungling between Annington and the Ministry of Defence as to who is responsible for us being there, the MoD apparently agreed to take us to court over a home that Annington owns but lets back to the Ministry.

The community house at 76 Oakleigh Road North is our base of operations. We’re fully aware that the law will always defend private property rights over our rights to protest and to homes, but we need a strong showing outside and inside the courts to highlight that the law has positioned itself on the wrong side of justice.

CAN YOU JOIN US AT THE COURTS AT 9:00am?

After the courts, whatever the verdict, we will be marching on Barnet Homes, across the road from Sweets Way, to demand that Mostafa and his family – who have been barricaded into their home for over two weeks, bravely resisting their eviction – are properly rehoused.

Mostafa uses a wheelchair, following a spinal injury incurred working as a carer for the elderly three years ago, and has been bounced between inappropriate temporary accommodation by Barnet Homes ever since.

Just today (Wednesday), Barnet Homes made Mostafa an offer of a multi-level house in Enfield, miles away from his hospital appointments. It was also a 4 bedroom property (the family only needs 3 bedrooms) so will inevitably be well beyond their price range, given what housing benefit is allowed to pay. So in essence, this is a non-offer, designed to let Barnet Homes tell the media tomorrow as we protest outside their offices, that they have carried out their duty to the family, and that they must leave Sweets Way immediately.

This is of course utter bollocks. For years Barnet have had information about Mostafa’s health needs, yet they made this ‘offer’ a day before we are due to protest at their offices. We once again make the following demands of Barnet:

  • Provide SUITABLE housing for the family, based on the needs
  • Immediately reclassify Mostafa from Band Three to Band One housing priority, based on the provided information about his health needs, his children’s needs and the ongoing cumulative impacts of his mistreatment by the Council
  • STOP the current high court bailiff eviction process until Mostafa has been moved into SUITABLE alternative housing
  • Adhere to the LAW to assess Mostafa and others like him, who are at risk of homelessness, BEFORE they are made homeless
  • STOP the sell-off/give-away of public housing stock, and the approval of home demolitions, until the families of Barnet are properly served by Barnet’s social housing provision.

We would also like to clarify that the family have NOT given Barnet Homes permission to discuss details of their case with the media, though they have done just that, breaching the family’s right to privacy.

Because of the horrible treatment they’ve received, and the lack of alternatives made available to them, the family have vowed not to leave 46 Sweets Way until they are offered something that meets Mostafa’s needs. They have been bravely resisting eviction with the help of dozens of supporters for over two weeks since High Court bailiffs were first sent round to chuck the family out on August 10, but were sent away by our resistance.

JOIN US AT BARNET HOMES FROM 12:30 – 2:00pm TO MAKE SURE BARNET HOMES FEELS THE PRESSURE OVER THE LUNCH BREAK.

YOU CAN ALSO TWEET @BARNETHOMES OR WRITE ON THE COUNCIL’S FACEBOOK WALL TO TELL THEM TO LIVE UP TO THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE FAMILY.

 

Sweets Way Community House Under Threat: We Need Your Help

Sweets Way Resists, one of London’s loudest housing protests, has come under threat, after residents were issued with a possession claim on the campaign’s base, 76 Oakleigh Road North.

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The Community House, as number 76 is known, has been a meeting point for evicted families and their supporters for nearly six months. But it is more than that. The Community House is a place of refuge, where parents, and their children, can feel at home amidst a time of great turmoil in their lives. We need your help to prevent this refuge being taken away from the people who so desperately need it.

Sweets Way is a large housing estate in London N20. With 142 fantastic family homes, it could comfortably house over 500 people. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, the families who lived there were forced out and evicted as part of a policy of social cleansing, which will see luxury homes – and a small percentage of nominally ‘affordable’ (but grossly unaffordable) ones – built on the site.

The estate, owned by the Ministry of Defence, was leased for free to a British tax exile who has openly said that he saves money by not visiting his family. In contrast, the former residents of Sweets Way have very little but spare nothing in fighting to keep their community together, and to preserve their families’ sanity.

Guy Hands, the tax exile behind the developer, Annington Homes, left Kent for Guernsey by choice and because of greed. The working class families of Sweets Way don’t have the luxury of choice. They’ve been moved around London and beyond like pawns on a chess-set, breaking hearts and risking jobs and schooling. Together, Annington, the MOD and Barnet Council, have made these families’ lives a living hell.

The Residents of Sweets Way Talk about the Community House (scroll to the bottom to see how you can help)

Anna:
To watch your children stressing about the future with such intensity that they’re crying at night and asking what’s going to happen with us tomorrow, where we’re going to live, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. And the reason for our pain is very selfish. The people who are in charge of caring for the majority simply care more for profit than for people. How can you explain that to a child? As much as I’d like to spare my children, how can I protect them from seeing neighbours being dragged out of their homes? How do you explain that?

The only explanation is that unfortunately there is something wrong with this world and we need to fight to change that. The Community House made our children believe in humanity again, because we’ve encountered so many amazing people through our struggle, and the children have learnt that there are good people, selflessly committed to changing the world to make it better, and that there are many of them. If you are one of them, please stand with us.

The Community House is not only a place of struggle and campaigning, but it’s also a place for our families to recover and support each other after everything we’ve been through. Families from other communities also come here to find solace and understanding. Please don’t take this away from us. We are not the ones in the wrong here. We are only fighting for the rights of ordinary people to have somewhere to live.

Unless you’ve been violently evicted from your home and deprived of all power over something so basic as the roof over your head, it’s hard to understand how such an experience feels. I never thought this would happen to me, none of us did. Our struggle may sound like a faraway prospect for you, but believe us, we once felt exactly the same.

Andy and Zlatka:
We lived in Sweets Way for five years. Since the eviction we’ve been through such terrible stress and sleepless nights, not knowing whether we’ll have a roof over our heads.

We both work in a hospital, but renting a flat is impossible without our wages being topped up by housing benefit. The few units of so-called ‘affordable’ housing that Annington are going to build on this site would take up more than 90% of our salaries. In what way is that affordable?

Please join us, we need your help to save the Community House and keep our campaign and our spirits strong. We never thought we’d be in this situation; we’ve worked our whole lives. It could happen to you.  

Sometimes our seven-year-old son cries at night about losing his friends and having to move schools, on top of all the housing nightmare and uncertainty. The Community House is a home to him.

This is everyone’s struggle and we need to fight it now before it reaches the point of no return. We’re fighting even though we’re tired. If you have any strength at all, join our struggle – for us, for yourselves, for the children.

How you can help:

To defend our Community House, we would be very grateful if you could do one or both of the following:

  1. Come to court with us on the morning of 27th August 2015 to offer moral support, and to let the authorities know that a lot of people disagree with their policy of social cleansing. Please bring banners or make placards if you can, but your presence is enough and would mean so much to us. More details will be available from @SweetsWayN20 or on Facebook Sweets Way Resists, or by emailing sweetswayresists@gmail.com. The address of the court is:Barnet County Court
    St Mary’s Court
    Regents Park Road
    Finchley Central
    London
    N3 1BQ
  2. Write to the following people, telling them that you object to their plans to evict us from our Community House, and to stop the land being used for profit. We’ve included a draft letter (below) for you to copy and paste if you don’t have time to write your own. Please make sure you include your full name and postal address when writing or emailing. And, if you’re a Barnet resident, please state this clearly in your letter.
    1. Annington Homes
      1. 1 James St, London, W1U 1DR
      2. media@annington.co.uk
    2. MOD (Secretary of State for Defence)
      1. Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence, Whitehall Buildings, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB
      2. michael.fallon.mp@parliament.uk
    3. Barnet Homes
      1. Troy Henshall, Barnet Homes, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, London, N20 0EJ
      2. troy.henshall@barnet.gov.uk
    4. Sweets Way’s MP (in the Chipping Barnet Constituency)
      1. Theresa Villiers MP, 163 High Street, Barnet, Herts, EN5 5SU
      2. theresa@theresavilliers.co.uk
    5. The Prime Minister
      1. David Cameron PM, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
      2. Use this form to email: https://email.number10.gov.uk/
    6. Housing Ombudsman Service
      1. Housing Ombudsman Service, 81 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4HN
      2. info@housing-ombudsman.org.uk, or use this online complaint form: http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/resolve-a-complaint/getting-help-from-the-housing-ombudsman/
    7. Mayor of London
      1. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Greater London Authority, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, More London, London, SE1 2AA
      2. mayor@london.gov.uk

If we don’t act now we’ll end up with a city where 20 people crammed into one house will be the new norm. A city in which essential workers can no longer afford to live. A city that holds no future for our children.

A city that will fall apart.

Thank you for your support, from the families of Sweets Way

Suggested draft for writing to the people above – please remember that if you are a Barnet resident, you should open by mentioning this in the letter, “As a Barnet resident, I am writing to urge…”. And include your full name and postal address.

Dear X

I’m writing to urge you to stop the eviction of Sweets Way Resists from their protest occupation at 76 Oakleigh Road North, London, N20 9EZ.

I stand with the former residents of Sweets Way N20 in their fight for homes for all. The way these families have been treated – forcibly evicted and dispersed around London (and beyond) – has made their lives a living hell. This treatment is a direct result of a policy of social cleansing that puts profit before people.

76 Oakleigh Road North is affectionately known by former residents of Sweets Way as the ‘Community House’. As well as a protest occupation, it has become something of a refuge for evicted families, somewhere where they can find solace and understanding.

The residents and their supporters have been issued with a possession claim and been summoned to Barnet County Court on 27th August 2015.

I also ask that you use your powers to immediately terminate Annington’s lease on the Sweets Way estate. Give the land to public ownership so that the working class families who lived there, and who so badly need a home, can return.

The former residents of Sweets Way, and their supporters, have the right to protest. I ask that you defend this right, and do everything in your power to prevent their eviction.

Yours sincerely

FIRST NAME SURNAME

ADDRESS 1
TOWN
POSTCODE

EMAIL ADDRESS (if you have one)

CALL OUT: Last Monday was just the first battle won in a long fight. Once again we need your help!

Nearly a week ago, 100 supporters gathered outside the home of the last remaining Sweets Way residents, Mostafa and his family. It was the greatest collective, community action of our campaign thus far. Mostafa has written a statement of his thanks:

“Barnet homes had three years to rehouse me. My family provided Barnet homes with all the information from my GP , hospital letters, professor letters and few other  health organisation which show that I have to be rehoused as soon as possible otherwise my health condition will get worst. Unfortunately Barnet homes did not take anything into account.

10 months ago I was re-housed on the Sweets Way estate when they already knew it will be demolished. My family and myself are living in the empty estate which makes me and my family live in fear. I have lost my confidence, self esteem and my personality has been destroyed.

Barnet homes told ITV: ” Mr Alivredipour’s accommodation needs are still being discussed with him family including the Alivredipour’s who presented themselves homeless were placed in properties in Sweets Way on a temporary basis on the clear understanding that they would need to vacate in 2015″

Unfortunately this statement is False.

On Monday the people who showed up to support me, they gave me back hope. I don’t know how to thank everyone I’m so grateful to see all the support from people.”

This week we have camped through rain, sun and increasingly colder nights outside Mostafa’s house. Despite minor squabbles with security Sweets Way has remained a bailiff free zone. Yet, we know that they will be back stronger and more powerful then ever.

We predict another visit. This time it will not be as easy. The stakes are higher as contractors and builders close in to prepare the estate for demolition. Mostafa and his family remain the last bastion of hope for this community. There is still no word from Barnet council as to whether they have found a decent home for the family therefore they face the uncertainty of having to be in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

So, what can you do?

Come and visit us on Sunday from 3 for an open afternoon; get to know the crew, the estate and the last residents.

Also if you have time we need people to camp outside 46 Sweets Way on a regular basis. If you are unable, donations of tents and sleeping equipment would be greatly appreciated.

However if camping is an uncomfortable prospect, we can arrange accommodation in our show home or the community house if you let us know in advance.

Contact us: sweetswayresists[AT]gmail[DOT]com /

Tweet us: @SweetsWayN20

Or find us on Facebook.

Our community house: 76 Oakleigh Road North,  N20 0NU.  The nearest tube is Totteridge & Whetstone.

PayPal donations would also be simply amazing. Thank you! https://sweetswayresists.wordpress.com/donate/

Bailiffs sent away! Mostafa still at Sweets Way!

On Monday, people kept a family from being evicted and pushed a council to reverse the decision that would have left them homeless. But we need to keep up the pressure to keep Mostafa and the family safe.

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Photo by Hannah Nicklin

On Sunday night, many of us didn’t go to sleep. Bailiffs were due at 46 Sweets Way and because we had seen what Mostafa and his family had gone through, and we had seen them failed over and over again by the various systems that are meant to protect them, we knew we needed to prepare with them to stay in their home.

We were prepared to do everything peaceful within our power to stop High Court bailiffs from entering the home of the last family at Sweets Way and making them homeless. Some of us planned to take photos and document the experience, others were prepared to take civil disobedience and face arrest.

But whatever kind of action we spent the night before preparing to do, we prepared to do it because it was right.

As it turned out, there were enough of us there that sending away the bailiffs proved to only require a very passive form of resistance: being there! Enough of us, even, that they didn’t show their faces or even make an attempt to breach the gauntlet of more than 60 people (including allies from Our West Hendon, Barnet Housing Action, Haringey Housing Action Group, Barnet Alliance for Public Services and Black Dissidents) and an extensive array of amateur barricading.

In fact, we only even found out that the bailiffs had come and gone when we called Barnet Council’s lawyers. We asked if the bailiffs were still scheduled to arrive and were told that the two of them that had been dispatched knew immediately they were no match for our collective power, and left. (They didn’t use exactly those words…).

You could feel the sense of collective power in the air – we knew what we had achieved, and the energy was electric! A group of regular people had sent away the bailiffs and kept a family in their home! And we knew we would be able to do it again.

Better yet, as Barnet had been punishing the family over the a small amount of rent arrears accrued since the Council unexpectedly cut their housing benefit, they received a message this afternoon informing them that their housing benefit had been reinstated, retroactive a month ago. This will address their arrears and allow Barnet to once again own up to their responsibility to house the family appropriately.

This is a clear victory spurred by our collective action to highlight the Council’s many failures to Mostafa, and the number of media requests that came off the back of our action. Once again, Barnet need to find the family somewhere to go. And it’s up to us to make sure they have a home until the point where they have an alternative that truly meets their needs.

This will require a lot of work from all of us, preparing to fight off the bailiff threat whenever it rears its ugly head. High Court bailiffs don’t normally offer a time or date when they are coming, and are entitled to use physical force to enter and remove families from a house. Because of this, Mostafa and the family remain barricaded in and ready for an attack.

We need to be there with them.

We have a strong contingent of occupiers staying around Sweets Way at the moment, but we need more people who can stay there (or who live very locally) in the coming days, to ensure an initial line of defence when bailiffs do return. It would be tragic if all our hard work yesterday was lost because a few of us slept late one day.

Get in touch if you live within in a few minutes of the estate, or can come stay over during the coming days. sweetswayresists[AT]gmail[DOT]com / 07812 372 298

We are all inspired by what we were able to do yesterday – let’s be sure it continues to grow!

PS – having made it through many months of intense campaigning without any way of receiving cash donations beyond the bits of cash visitors would sometimes pass along, we have set-up a PayPal account and would appreciate any help in covering some of the extra costs that several of us incurred, personally, during the People’s Regeneration Show Home project. Thank you so much!

PPS – We are lucky to have a whole bunch of pics from yesterday that have been shared with us by Hannah Nicklin!

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ALL OUT FOR SWEETS WAY!

The kitchen of the show home

In the last 48 hours, everything has ramped up at Sweets Way for what is likely to be a major confrontation between those who believe in the right to housing and community, and those who would see London cleansed of all but the wealthiest.

Annington has sent in contractors, Cuddy, to prepare the estate for demolition. Fences have begun to be erected around large swathes of the estate and contractors and security guards have begun to more actively intimidate us.

Yesterday two bailiffs, with two policemen in tow, attempted to deliver court orders to occupiers. However, through a strong showing of people power, we sent them away, peacefully preventing the delivery of the notices.

Meanwhile, Mostafa and his family – the last remaining household on Sweets Way – have been told by Barnet Council’s solicitors that High Court bailiffs will be coming to evict the family on Monday morning.

We will do all that we can do to keep Mostafa in his home. He has been through such mistreatment already, with Barnet repeatedly failing to take on their duty of care for him, due to his disability, and we need a very strong presence on Monday morning to send away the highest level of bailiffs the courts can send.

Can you join us to stand up to the bailiffs on Monday morning, 8am at 46 Sweets Way?

In the meantime, we are opening up the estate this weekend to show off the People’s Regeneration Show Home, the independent nation of Sweetstopia and the state of the estate as a whole.

Join us Saturday, 2-5pm for show home tours, and stick around if you can to help prepare for eviction resistance!

This is truly crunch time for the campaign to save our estate. We are up against giants, but we’ve managed to win some crucial victories, in spite of the odds.

That said, we need your help. The days ahead may decide if Sweets Way will continue to exist as more than a memory of its former residents and those it sparked the imagination of, through our refusal to go quietly into the pages of a future history book.

So come down! If our fight has inspired you, come join us this weekend and Monday morning!

We can still win! But it’s up to all of us to prove it!

STOP MOSTAFA’S EVICTION, Monday, 8am!

CALL-OUT: Keep Mostafa’s family in Sweets Way, Monday, August 10, 8am, 46 Sweets Way, N20 0NT (Meet at Sweetstopia, 95 Sweets Way)

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Mostafa’s family are the last remaining family on the Sweets Way estate. They have fought to stay where they are because Barnet Council have failed to provide alternative accommodation suitable to Mostafa’s physical health needs, having developed a serious disability while working as a carer three years ago.

Now they have been told that High Court bailiffs will be coming to evict the family of six on Monday morning, and we are committed to helping them stay in their homes until Barnet Council have found a truly suitable alternative accommodation for them.

In the midst of the eviction process, Barnet cut off the family’s housing benefit, leading to rent arrears, and are now using this as an excuse to avoid their duty of care to them. Both because of the Council’s horrendous treatment of Mostafa and his family, and because they are the last family standing on the estate, it is critical that we mobilise to stop this eviction!

There will be roles for people who are comfortable with different kinds of action on the day. There are always legal risks involved in stopping evictions, but we aim to make sure that everyone who is present can play a part, no matter what their level of comfort with different forms of direct action.

Regardless, we will need as many people as possible if we are to keep Mostafa in his home. Please arrive at 8am outside the gates of Sweetstopia (95 Sweets Way) for a 9am start.

DETAILS: Monday, August 10, 8am, 46 Sweets Way, London, N20 0NT (Meet at Sweetstopia, 95 Sweets Way)

D.I.O. Regeneration: Proving that we can Do It Ourselves

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As of last Thursday, Sweets Way Resists had succeeded in regenerating 1/142nd of the Sweets Way estate. We did so in just six days and for about £370, using a lot of volunteer labour and a mix of found and donated materials. We hope that the People’s Regeneration Show Home will encourage others around London and beyond to come together and reclaim – and when necessary rebuild – homes where they are, rather than leaving them in the hands of those who simply see them as investments.

Beyond inspiring others with a little taste of what regular people are capable of doing to a smashed up building, we also showed that we can do Annington’s job – regeneration – better than they can. We’ve shown that the story of private development offering the only route to quality affordable homes is a convenient myth that facilitates the decimation of socially-rented housing stock, for the benefit of private profits. There IS another way.

Remember what we’ve done in this past week every time you hear a council, developer or social housing provider argue that it would be ‘too expensive’ to do anything other than just sell-off public homes or leave regeneration in the hands of the private sector! Why not put that argument to the test?

By our math, if we keep up our regeneration plans at last week’s rate, we could make the entire estate re-inhabitable for a mere £52,540. Which is considerably less than we’re sure Annington have earmarked for the project, or what Barnet Council spend each year on housing benefit given to private landlords.

Needless to say, their regeneration plans are slated to be considerably more expensive and will yield far fewer units below market rent than the current 142 houses. Annington will argue that none were ever social housing, but doing so is simply a distraction from the fact that they were leased as such for the past six years, and so in practice, their regen plans will drastically reduce the number of houses available to those who can’t afford full market rent from 142, to 59. (And those 59 are in themselves a mix of so-called ‘affordable’ homes that will cost up to 80% of market rent, and part-buy-part-let schemes, neither of which will be accessible to the majority of former residents.)

When we went into 153 Sweets Way, its waste water piping had been deliberately destroyed; its toilet and sink were smashed to bits; its upstairs windows were left open, letting rain in. Very few of us have any specialist skills or experience in DIY or renovation work, yet with just a bit of skilled help from a plumber, an electrician and a cabinetmaker, we fixed-up a building that had not simply been left to deteriorate over time, but had been deliberately made uninhabitable by its owners.

Most of us agree that the council should be offering homes to those who need them – but given their abject failure to protect critical housing stock in the midst of a housing crisis, it’s up to all of us to protect and secure the homes we need. Until they prove they can do their job, we’ll do what is needed to keep good homes and strong communities from being torn apart.

We’d call this D.I.Y. but it is more collective, more collaborative than that. None of us could have turned this home around on our own, but together, we can outdo one of the largest property owners in the country at their own game.

This is a D.I.O project – Doing It Ourselves – and we hope that others will take it and run with it wherever they are facing the sell-off and demolition of their homes. It’s up to all of us to find our way out of this housing crisis – let’s continue to prove that we can do it ourselves!

Come to 153 Sweets Way (N20 0NX) to get a sense of what we’re capable of, and learn more about how you might create a People’s Regeneration Show Home on your own estate!

On Saturday (August 8) we’re holding an open day on the estate. You can join us for:

– Our weekly street stall, 11-1 in front of Waitrose on the Whetstone High Road
– Tours of the People’s Regeneration Show Home and it’s smashed up counterpart, the Annington Degeneration Show Home, next door, 2-3pm @ 153 Sweets Way
– An open meeting hosted by Sweets Way Resists and Sweetstopia after the tours looking at ways to protect our estate from demolition.

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Come to Sweets Way and see the People’s Regeneration Show Home!

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House smashed up by Annington to prevent people from living in it, has been occupied and refurbished by Sweets Way Resists’ families and supporters this week. It is now open to the public.

WHERE? 153 Sweets Way, N20 0NX (near Totteridge and Whetstone tube)

WHEN? Thursday, July 30 (10am – 1pm)

Well it was more-than-a-bit daunting for a few dozen of us to take this on, particularly as very few of us had any experience in the ways of regeneration projects, or even simple DIY. But we got there!

After six intensely-long days of sanding, painting, tiling, sawing, cleaning, plastering, gardening, concrete-pouring, drilling, plumbing, cabinetmaking and more, we are proud to show off the house that we have re-built together!

In less-than-a-week we have been able to throw into question the logic of countless so-called regeneration projects, by highlighting what a community of committed people with found and donated materials can do to address our own housing needs, without relying on private investment and the demolition of perfectly-good homes.

While we won’t claim to have achieved housing refurb perfection at 153 Sweets Way, we think we’ve done a pretty good job of making the house livable – and beautiful – once again, even if it is still missing a few awkward bits-and-bobs. Given the limits on both time (six days) and money (less than £300), we’d LOVE to see campaigners on another estate in London do better! (Seriously – give it a go!)

Here are a few pics of the work-in-progress… Come join us if you can, if you’d like to see how things have ended up at 153 Sweets Way, or if you’d like to learn about how to do a People’s Regeneration of a home on your own estate!

PEOPLE’S REGENERATION SHOW HOME LAUNCH
Thursday, July 30, 10am – 1pm
153 Sweets Way, London, N20 0NX

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You can see our press release here.

UPDATE: People’s Regeneration Show Home launch delayed (like every other regen project, ever)

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…Apparently 72-hours was a bit ambitious to redo an entire house… so we’ll be working through to Wednesday to highlight the possibility that still exists in each of the homes on our estate.

We hoped we could undo all the reckless damage inflicted on 153 Sweets Way in just 3 days, but Annington’s hired vandals really did a job on the place! A couple more days should give us sufficient time to get 153 Sweets Way ready for a family to live in. And we’ll still have done so for just a few hundred quid, so running late doesn’t mean the price tag is shooting up, like it does with most regeneration projects.

If you want to get involved or come document the process, come on down and join us today or tomorrow, or for the new launch day on Wednesday, between 11am and 5pm.

The house next door is now also open and has been left untouched, as a living record of what Annington does to these buildings to keep people from living in them, which this project is showing an alternative to.

Since we know not everyone is keen to get involved in DIY, we’re also keen for people to come help with feeding those of us doing the DIY work, and tidying up at our community house, as dozens of people come and go all day.

There’s always something you can do to get involved if you’re keen, so come down!

Here’s some pics of the process so far:

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