Well, some people in Lee Green have had a busy Easter….
Supporters of Greenwich People Before Profit have occupied a huge house that has been left empty and neglected by Greenwich Council for two years.
All the families living in the house – at 88 Eltham Road near the western border of the borough – were evicted by the council. As far as we know, the evictions took place after the leaseholder couldn’t afford to renew or extend the lease.
The building had been half-heartedly secured, so it was not difficult for campaigners to gain access. We found that the overall condition of the house was good – although there is work to do, with wires and copper piping severed, floorboards lifted and a section of ceiling down.
Previously the house was divided into seven flats and we will try to make as much of it as possible habitable.
If anyone would like to help work at the house, or give support in other ways, please come to our next meeting on Saturday 14 April at 2.00 p.m., at 88 Eltham Road, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenwich People Before Profit is following the example of our counterparts in Lewisham, who occupied five long-term empty council houses in February. They are refurbishing them for homeless families to live in.
A spokesperson for Greenwich PBP said: “Given the need for social housing in the borough, and the particularly serious housing problems for young people, it is scandalous that this property has been empty for two years. We want to make it habitable.
“Homelessness is rising again. Government figures show that in the last quarter of 2011, homeless applications were up by 18% across England and 36% in London. London rents are unaffordable. We hope everyone in Greenwich, including the council, will support our action.”
The formation of Greenwich People Before Profit was discussed here earlier this year – although over in New Cross, their cafe has closed in curious circumstances. One to watch, anyhow.