Peabody Family Voice campaign against social rent homes sales. Update on action.

(Cross posted from the Peabody Family Voice Website on http://pfvoice.org.uk)

What you can do to stop HAs selling off properties meant for tenants

Here is a message from a campaigner against HA property selloffs
Thank you so much everyone for the support in whatever way you have offered it. We have been overwhelmed with the messages and numbers who have turned up for the protests at the property viewings and the auctions – at very short notice.
It seems to us that every Londoner is in some way affected by the housing crisis – in every sector of our society. Even some Tories say it is “a disgrace” and “immoral” to sell off the family silver in this way – and yet the two Conservative councils, Westminster and Wandsworth, themselves sold off social housing at auction.
And several housing associations are unashamedly cashing in with Allsops, Savills and their private speculators from Dubai buying up our invaluable street properties in the better areas of London.
Here are some things you can do to assist:
1. A number of us wrote to Lord Kerslake,  kerslakeb@parliament.uk – the Chair of Peabody – and copied in our Councillors. Lord Kerslake responded pretty promptly, but with the same “justifications” as before – that they will be using the money for future developments.
Yet Peabody has made a surplus of £175m last year. The charitable aims of their benefactor George Peabody were to house the working poor. Now their new developments for leasehold sale, shared ownership which is not “ownership”, and “Affordable Housing” which is not affordable to most people, are no comparison to the social homes people have for life, to build a community, bring up their children, grow old together. They are steadily being sold off and our communities decimated.
2. The Peabody CEO wrote an article which shows how these protests have affected them this last week:  https://www.24housing.co.uk/opinion/our-social-purpose-is-alive-and-well/
You can write to Brendan Sarsfield on brendan.sarsfield@peabody.org.uk or comment on the piece on the journal website.
4. You can write to Inside Housing’s editor Martin Hilditch at editorial@insidehousing.co.uk which surprisingly did not cover the story, yet interviewed the housing minister Kit Malthouse at length about tenant involvement a few weeks ago!
5. Of the two Peabody houses on Millbank, one was sold and one did not reach its reserve price. Of those in Victoria Park, neither reached their reserve price. There is another up for auction this week and a second protest will take place outside the house tomorrow, Monday, at 7.45am for a couple of hours. Here are the details on Facebook:  17 Robertson Road, E2 9LX
6. You can sign a 38 degrees petition started a few days ago to stop this house and others being sold –  here – please help us boost this.
7. Like some have brilliantly done, you can write to your MP and request that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Govt, James Brokenshire, is asked by your MP what he is going to do about this matter.
8. There is a further protest outside the Kensington Town Hall in W8 7NX this Wednesday at 6.30pm to demand that social homes, not luxury flats, are built on the massive 2-acre Earls Court Exhibition Centres.  Facebook event Wednesday 27th at 6.30pm
9. Some tenants and supporters have shared all this on Facebook and Twitter and word has spread. Please share this as widely as you can. If you can find the time, write to the Evening Standard too – they do publish. And as many media outlets as you can think of.
If you haven’t seen the Hackney Gazette article, you can view it  here and the Westend Extra  here
This is the next auction coming up this week. (This is an online auction, so the main way of protesting would be outside individual properties. There is one Peabody house which is very nearby, in Tottenham (and very nice it looks too). Here are some details:

https://bidx1.com/en-gb/auction/property/31716 8 Peabody Estate, Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17 7QJ – Freehold two floor terraced house, Full vacant possession, Good location.)

It seems like this reckless behaviour will not stop unless we put the pressure on the people who have the power and influence to stop these sales. This is what a Westminster resident wrote:
“Are these august personages aware that Savill’s apparently have a policy of marketing in Dubai properties belonging to Housing Associations in the UK, which was revealed this morning??  Is this appropriate in the current dire lack of housing at moderate rents??
 “It seems that Peabody are bent on approaching the most expensive of firms in order to achieve the highest possible price for the two houses which ought to remain a significant part of their portfolio to provide social housing.  When will this policy of Housing Associations and Peabody in particular be reviewed??”
Let us know if you wish to see the correspondence between ourselves and Lord Kerslake in order to take it up further with him.

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