Wednesday, February 17, 2010

80 Days to Save Maydew House

My colleague Val Shawcross has said that there are just 80 days left to save Maydew House, a tower block of 144 local authority flats in Rotherhithe which the LibDem/Tory Administration had decided to empty and sell off for private housing. On the 21st of January a public meeting was held at which residents were told that the Council intended to move them out of their homes from April onwards. The decision was due to be ratified by the Executive at their meeting last week - just 19days after the "public consultation" meeting!

Unsurprisingly residents and Southwark's Labour Group didn't think this was an entirely appropriate way to act, and in the face of a growing campaign the LibDems have now backed down, deciding to kick any formal decision on the future of Maydew House into the post-local election "long grass" of June. Local elections are due to take place in Southwark on May 6th!

Several lessons can be learned from this experience. Firstly, the LibDems are clearly happy to sell off our council housing stock to private developers. Theirs are not 'secret plans' - they are plans which they are implementing when they can get away with it.

Secondly, the level of consultation they consider appropriate is pathetic. To expect residents who have lived in a block for 20 or 30 years to get out of their homes in just over 2 months is inhuman and irresponsible.

Thirdly, no council housing in Southwark is safe from the LibDems. Their words are pledges to retain council housing; their actions are to get rid of it. So what estate, or block or house which is currently owned by the Council will not be sold off to private developers if the LibDems continue in power in Southwark after May 6th? The truth is that we cannot believe any pledge that they may make, and that nothing is safe.

So it is not just the case that we have 80 days to save Maydew House - we have 80 days to save our entire stock of social housing in Southwark.

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