Guinness Homes are killing nurses & bus drivers by building Imperial-by-Lea.

We will not forget selfish company directors that consider their developments more important than the lives of our friends & neighbours.

Balfron Social Club recently wrote about the Guinness Homes construction site Imperial-by-Lea in Bromley-by-Bow in Tower Hamlets which has remained open during the #Covid19 lockdown, which is still open on 14th April, weeks after everybody else has been forced to close down their businesses and stop going to work.

Weeks have now passed and many construction sites such as Imperial-by-Lea by Guinness Homes at Bromley by Bow in Tower Hamlets remain open.

Published by Balfron Social Club on 2nd April 2020.

Construction workers need to travel to and from work, and whilst NHS staff and bus drivers are dying in droves, the directors and board of Guinness Homes seem to think that their profits are more important than the lives of key workers- workers risking their lives on the front line of a global pandemic, to try and keep us safe.

Timelapse of construction at Imperial by Lea still operating weeks after covid19 lockdown

Construction companies may have issued guidelines for workers to keep 2 metres apart, but it is very clear that this is not possible for many of their insecure, poorly-paid construction workers, and it is evident in photographs that this is routinely not happening.

As I write, over 11,000 people in the UK have been officially confirmed dead due to covid19, and this figure excludes many thousands of people who have died at home or in care homes.

An incompetent government, spineless politicians and company directors who don’t care who dies have rapidly made the UK one of the worst affected countries in Europe from the Covid19 pandemic.

Keeping 2 metres apart at Imperial by Lea is not possible for construction workers.

Whilst our friends, family and neighbours including NHS staff and bus drivers are dying in droves, there is no doubt that the Directors and Board of Guinness Homes will be firmly locked down and isolating in their homes, or second homes, because it has become very clear that there is one rule for us, and another for them.

Whilst they Zoom, we die.

I do not believe that the privilege of these people should allow them to go unpunished for what is tantamount to the murder of critically important key workers, people risking their own lives to save the lives of our friends and neighbours in the fight against the Covid19 pandemic.

Guinness Homes building shite (sic) at Imperial-by-Lea, Bromley by Bow in Tower Hamlets

I have therefore compiled a list of the directors and board of Guinness Homes and am publishing it below, along with their details.

These people made purposeful choices that their profits are more important than the lives of key workers.

Enough is enough, it’s time to shut the sites.

Social distancing does not work on building sites

Each of the following people has the blood of NHS staff, bus drivers & key workers on their hands for keeping their construction sites open during #covid19 lockdown.

We will not forget their selfishness which has led to the deaths of key workers.

The following are Directors of @GuinnessHomes.

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We will not forget selfish company directors that consider their developments more important than the lives of our friends & neighbours. 

The following Directors of @GuinnessHomes feel they are more important than the lives of NHS staff & bus drivers (repeated here in text so that their names are picked up by search engines and their actions are never forgotten).

Angela Maria Drum.

Philip Michael Day.

Ian Joynson.

Jonathon Milburn.

Catriona Ruth Simons.

Peter Hedderly.

Trafford Wilson.

Paul Watson MBE.

The following are board members of @GuinnessHomes.

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Neil Braithwaite.

Mike Petter.

Amanda Calvert.

Phil Morgan.

Samantha Pitt.

Chris Wilson.

Chris Stevens.

Linda Sanders.

The following Twitter poll is live. Please click to vote.

It’s one rule for us, and another for them. If they were building homes that our local community could afford, we might have more sympathy for them.

But, they’re not. Whatever they tell you “affordable” housing is not affordable for our community. It’s a scam designed to fool you.

Does the image below look representative of the community of Bromley by Bow? Does it look representative of Tower Hamlets?

Do the Directors of Guinness Homes look like your neighbours? Or of our community?

Developers hoarding at Imperial by Lea, looks nothing like Tower Hamlets residents to me. Its clear who they’re building for.

Once again, the capitalists have clearly shown us that their profits are far more important than the lives of our friends and neighbours.

The directors of construction companies like Guinness Homes need to be held to account for the deaths of our friends and neighbours, for the deaths of people across London as people die in huge numbers, and they did nothing to help flatten the curve.

They need to be held to account for showing us how much contempt they hold for us.

Social distancing does not work on construction sites.

But where are our politicians, you may ask?

We know exactly where they are.

They are in the pockets of the developers.

Former lobbyist for property developers Mayor John Biggs fits nicely into the pockets of luxury property developers.

Mayor Sadiq Khan was sponsored into office by property developers and proudly splashes his brand all over construction site hoardings, like this one at Chobham Manor, in Newham.

Mayor John Biggs, in Tower Hamlets, who used to be a lobbyist for property developers, does nothing unless he is filming it for his PR.

Tower Hamlets has financial reserves of over £500,000,000.

Shut the sites. Protect our communities.

I reiterate my call that all of these sites should be requistioned and converted into 100% social housing. We have had enough of politicians and developers lying to us, telling us they are building “affordable” housing when the reality is anything but.

We will not forget.

Balfron Social Club (in lockdown)

Poplar

14th April 2020

Construction at Imperial-by-Lea during Covid-19 lockdown.

Across the country, and all over the world, we are being told to #StayHomeStaySafe during the covid-19 pandemic.

Construction at Imperial-by-Lea during Covid-19 lockdown. 2nd April 2020.

Across the country, and all over the world, we are being told to #StayHomeStaySafe during the covid-19 pandemic.

Yet these rules are being blatantly flouted by the property developers building luxury flats, for overseas investors.

Something great is on the way

Whilst the construction sites remain open, the workers are travelling to and from work, are potentially spreading the covid-19 virus to others also travelling to work. People being infected may be doctors, or nurses, or other key workers.

Building luxury flats for investors is not an essential service.

It’s clear that for the directors of Guinness Homes and Henry Construction, that the building of Imperial-by-Lea must continue whatever the consequences. It’s their cranes pictured in the timelapse video- they don’t care whether they infect our communities, and whether people die, just so long as they are ok and they meet the demands for investment properties from overseas buyers.

Something great, apparently.

I’m sure they will bleat that they are building social housing, but don’t be fooled. The majority of these flats being built will be sold as investments, with a sprinkling of “affordable” homes, and part-ownership flats, which will be considered to be “affordable” homes, but they are not affordable to us. We need social housing, not luxury flats for overseas investors.

Social distancing at Imperial-by-Lea

And where are the directors? You can be pretty sure they are at home, self-isolating, whilst they put the lives of their workers and everybody they come into contact with at risk.

It’s time to stop listening to incompetent politicians, and to take direct action.

Shut the sites, save lives.

Balfron Social Club (in lockdown)

2nd April 2020

#shutthesites

We are “all to blame” for the gentrification of Balfron Tower, claims Dr. Owen Hatherley.

I thoroughly agree that Owen Hatherley, and many of his ethically-challenged self-entitled chums, are certainly to blame for the gentrification of Balfron Tower, and also for the overall dismantlement of social housing in the United Kingdom in general, during a housing crisis.

But they are not the people that have to live with the consequences of what they support, or apologise for; they are not displaced from their communities, they have not been thrown out of their homes so they can be sold off to rich people who have come into Poplar and brutally attacked our working class community, following Poplar Harca’s CEO Steve Strides proclamation of “doing God’s work in Poplar” to create “a new Shoreditch”, brutally displacing working class communities and demolishing our social housing, dismantling the social tenancy system to build part-ownership models, financially out of the reach of almost everybody in our community, whilst their advertising hoardings boast of “affordable” housing that is being delivered in such small numbers it cannot be considered anything more than tokenism. Most of these people do not even live in the communities that they are waging class war against.

Nobody ever voted for Poplar Harca to operate as a local authority, yet they operate in this exact way. Nobody ever voted for them to operate or control parks, schools, markets, housing, transport, police, pubs, arts centres, community centres or to brand their name across every school child in Poplar.

Welcome to socialism in 21st Century Britain.

A few social housing tenants and leaseholders did get to vote for Poplar Harca, in a ballot transfer many years ago, where billions of pounds of publicly-owned housing stock was transferred, mostly free of charge, to a “Housing Association and Regeneration Communities Association”, who then mortgaged our entire community, via Bernadette Conroy, a Poplar Harca board member and a Vice President of HSBC, all with full liability firmly placed upon the Tower Hamlets tax payer.

But these tenants were lied to, they voted for Poplar Harca because they were told that they would be given new windows, new kitchens and new bathrooms. They were not told the truth that they would be brutally and ruthlessly thrown out of Balfron Tower, or their estate demolished and their family displaced, so Poplar Harca could do sleazy deals with sleazy property developers, like Londonewcastle.

I wrote a short thread on twitter, exploring some more of the people who are “all to blame”, read not to blame, for the social cleansing of Balfron Tower, from the blatant eugenics-like hatred of the working classes from Arts Council England funded Bow Arts, to apologists for social cleansing such as Anna Minton of the University of East London and Owen Hatherley.

We are not “all to blame” for the social cleansing of Balfron Tower. But a lot of people are; from property developers, journalists, politicians (all Labour), artists, arts organisations, Arts Council England, Historic England, National Trust, British Council, University of East London and University of the Arts, amongst many others.

It is not now, nor will it ever be acceptable to invest in, or live, in a regenerated Balfron Tower that has 0% social housing. The experiment in privatising our social housing has not worked, and it’s time to nationalise all housing built with public funds, or housing that as been built to replace it. The attacks on our working class communities have gone too far and people must be held to account. Owen Hatherley’s defence of Studio Egret West, and the vandalism done to both the building and the community will not be forgotten.

Balfron Social Club has campaigned since 2014 to retain 50% social housing in a refurbished Balfron Tower. The current amount being offered is zero. This is not good enough. My advice for those considering purchasing or living in the all new-improved Balfron Tower, would be to familiarise yourself with High Rise by JG Ballard.

You’re going to need it.

Balfron Social Club, Poplar

3rd June 2019

Big Issue issues an award for corruption & social cleansing

Homelessness charity The Big Issue gives working-class communities in London’s east end a slap in the face, as it rewards Katharine Hibbert & Dot Dot Dot for helping property developers to dismantle social housing.

From the Telegraph 3rd March 2015:

Give me a chance to sort it out: a Poplar Harca Placemaking Case Study

Paul Augarde, London Film School graduate and Director of Placemaking for Poplar Harca, asks residents for a chance to sort out the annexation of Poplar’s lock-up garages.

Ok, Paul. How long do you need?

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/poplar-parade-of-garages-to-become-4m-east-end-fashion-hub-a3164031.html


image by Rab Harling; Copyright 2019
image by Rab Harling; Copyright 2019
image by Rab Harling; Copyright 2019
image by Rab Harling; Copyright 2019
image by Rab Harling; Copyright 2019

Um, yeah. Cheers Paul. Well done. Have another promotion, mate.


Courtesy of Canton Street residents, Poplar.
lol
Not so lol now though, is it?

Want to read more about Paul Augarde, Poplar Harca and how they deviate public funds towards a property developers agenda?

http://balfronsocialclub.org/2018/04/16/artwash-and-the-rhizome-the-social-cleansing-of/

If only Balfron Tower could talk, if only we could see

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Balfron Tower (pic: @balfronsocial)

 

If only Balfron Tower could talk, if only we could see

A Balfron Social Club guest blog post by Stephen Pritchard

 

Time lapses.  Remembrances.  Lives once fixed, now in transit.  Different places.  Other spaces.

If only Balfron Tower could talk.

Each wall, window, walkway.  Every conduit, fixture, fitting, lock.  The underground garages.  The lifts.  The noticeboards.  Dispossessed.

The views.  People’s views.  Displaced.

If only we could see.

No filming.  No photography.

Fixed perspectives.  Fixed outlooks.

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No filming, no photography (pic: @etiennelefleur)

All the while, the City creeps nearer. ¬†Beacons. ¬†Warning signs. ¬†Shiny neoliberal lights. ¬†Precursors of forthcoming ‚Äúredevelopment‚ÄĚ. ¬†Glass fronted. ¬†Flimsy giants. ¬†Harbingers of impending gentrification. ¬†They are coming. ¬†They will come. ¬†They will erase generations, feast on the past, wipe clean past lives, past happiness, past hardships. ¬†Brutal.

Call in the artists, the property guardians, dark soundtracks, bleak CGI mock ups trumpeting ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre coming home, baby!‚ÄĚ

Not yet.  Just Sitex doors.  Left possessions tipped in skips.  Locks.  For now.

Business suits, fluorescent-clad workers, white-shirted private security guards. Builders or destroyers?

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A Sitex door bars access to the former home of an elderly Balfron Tower leaseholder, bullied from his home through the courts with threats of a Compulsory Purchase Order (pic: @balfronsocial)

Balfron Tower was a refuge for its many social housing tenants. ¬†Soon it will be another vacuous space filled with neoliberal lifestyle choice, as empty of lives, real lives, as the empty promises made by the local ‚Äúhousing regeneration and community association‚ÄĚ and the luxury residential property developers. ¬†A haven for thieving City bankers. ¬†Left-empty overseas billionaire investments. Hedge fund safe bets. ¬†Tax evasion. ¬†Buy-to-leave.

And now the last resident has gone, decanted to God knows where, they have wiped the soul from Balfron Tower. ¬†It will never return. ¬†They will make sure of it. ¬†They have replaced people with assets for private investors, homes with a ‚Äúnew world‚ÄĚ bereft of communities ‚Äď another dead world of capital investment. A global world of shadowy deals and care-free exploitation. ¬†Their world.

Cinema. ¬†Launderette. ¬†Play Room. ¬†Garden Room. ¬†Cocktail bar. ¬†Goldfinger Archive. ¬†Trunk Store. Treehouse. ¬†What? ¬†Social housing transformed into 1960s ‚Äúdesign icon‚ÄĚ, how lovely. ¬†How incredibly ironic. ¬†How to ‚Äúunlock the potential for an unprecedented cast of stakeholders‚ÄĚ.

So wrong.  So, so wrong.

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Up for the Yoga Room, down for the Music Room, design proposals for the Balfron Tower regeneration (Source: unknown)

And yet, Balfron Tower remembers its proud past.  Its residents will never forget.  Their ups and downs are cast in screed.  Their births and deaths, breakups and marriages haunt stairwells and walkways.  Lifts murmur songs from decades of everyday living.  Everyday hymns to everyone and no one.

Balfron Tower, like its past residents, remembers.  Together, they remember things heard and overheard; seen, unseen and overseen; touched and untouched.  Spoken, now muted, conversations.  Different people, living together high above London, through good and bad. Sharing.  Learning from one another.  Partying.  Playing.  Fighting.  Living.  Always living.

Inversion / Reflection shares little bits of some of these stories.  Resident’s lives. Balfron Tower’s life.  The film is not a crass product of socially engaged artists in the pay of profiteering property developers or housing associations hell bent on gentrification by a wryly smiling social art practice that paints a thinly disguised veil over gentrification.  It stands sensitive.  Understated.  Peaceful. Honest.  Proud.  A fitting commemoration of those displaced at the hands of unbridled gentrifiers who will, with their own rabid teeth, devour themselves eventually.  Cindy.  Gavin.  Felicity.  Shiraz. Evelyn.

Inversion/Reflection: What Does Balfron Tower Mean to You? A short film by Rab Harling

Balfron Tower.

It didn’t have to be this way.  Those involved didn’t need to exploit people. They didn’t have to lie. They didn’t have to socially cleanse.

This is not what Goldfinger planned.

He turns in his grave as capitalist greed stamps out the dying embers of our hopes and dreams for social housing.  Balfron Tower was and still is a symbol of our welfare state.  Built on optimism. Killed by selfishness.  Justice for all replaced by the dog-eat-dog world of possessive hyper-individualism and neoliberal capital accumulation by dispossession.  Systematic asset-stripping and land grabbing.

Balfron Tower is another battleground in a class struggle ‚Äď a class war. ¬†The rich elite may have temporarily taken¬†control but one day we will assert our right to the city and we will take it back!

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A Balfron Social Club guest blog post by Stephen Pritchard

@etiennelefleur

http://colouringinculture.org/

Balfron Social Club

Poplar

Balfron Tower redevelopment video by Hawkins\Brown

This controversial video has now been removed from Vimeo, but thankfully we we were so shocked by it that we made a copy and are distributing it here in the belief that the dissemination of its contents are in the best public interest. 

We do not believe that the wholesale removal of social housing from Balfron Tower, and the exploitation of its architectural heritage, will ever be acceptable, or accepted by our community. 

The transfer of housing to registered social landlord Poplar Harca from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was made based upon promises to tenants of new windows, kitchens and bathrooms, yet what has followed has been a successive sequence of landgrabs, as they sweep through estates, displacing our communities, devouring social housing, demolishing our homes and replacing them with increased density, low-quality flats with only 11%* social housing. 1-bed flats in the redevelopments are renting for £350 per week.

This video was originally published on Vimeo on July 2014. We believe it shows a vision horrific to the true intention of Ernö Goldfinger.

We reiterate that there should be a minimum of 50% social housing retained in all social housing redevelopments. 

Stop social cleansing. Stop the #landgrab.

 

 

 

* See separate blog post on the 89% landgrab on Linton and Printon Houses: http://50percentbalfron.tumblr.com/post/123355006549/our-area-is-nice-when-it-wants-to-be

 

Balfron Social Club

Poplar

20th July 2015

Turning Balfron Tower Inside Out

Balfron Tower, July 2015                                            pic: @balfronsocial

This guest blog post, by artist Rab Harling, is a transcript from his presentation to the ‚ÄúSocial Injustice & Inequalities: ‚ÄėRace, Gender & Class‚Äô‚ÄĚ conference at The Centre for Social Justice and Inequalities, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick on 10th July 2015.

Between February 2011 & February 2014, I was a resident of Ernö Goldfinger’s brutalist icon Balfron Tower in Tower Hamlets. Throughout this period, predominantly making connections through word-of-mouth, I set about capturing, on large format transparency film, from a singular viewpoint, a perspective from within each of my neighbour’s homes. By taking an identically situated photograph in as many of my neighbour’s homes as possible, I intended to deconstruct the form of the architecture of Balfron Tower, with my ultimate intention being to create an, as yet unrealised, photographic sculpture of the building in its geometrically deconstructed form: effectively turning Balfron Tower Inside out.

During this process I encountered a glimpse into the function of Balfron Tower and the realities of some of the lives occupying this Grade II listed, purpose-built social housing block; a block under attack from regeneration by those who claim to have the best interests of the community at heart. Balfron Tower is being regenerated. I believe that the proposed wholesale removal of social housing and its subsequent sale on the private market is not regeneration but social cleansing.

I will now play you a slideshow I made using approximately 40% of the material I captured, with a narration from Keith, who lived in Balfron Tower for 15 years between 1998-2013, before being relocated out of the borough, with no option to return to his home in the gentrified tower.

SCREENING of 

Inversion/Reflection: Turning Balfron Tower Inside Out

https://vimeo.com/104439481

(password: balfron)

Another five years of Conservative cultural policy finds us experiencing a culture-industry being shaped by powerful forces. In austere times public money for luxuries such as art must engage ‚Äúthe community‚ÄĚ. The recent RSA and Warwick Commission report ‚ÄúEnriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth‚ÄĚ highlights ‚Äúparticipation‚ÄĚ as its key recurring feature.

But what happens when publicly funded arts organisational agenda conspire against grass-roots community creativity? Social restructuring is devastating London’s working-class communities, and artists are being co-opted and curated to participate in the PR.

Balfron Tower‚Äôs social housing tenants have now mostly been ‚Äúdecanted‚ÄĚ. Commencing back in 2007 the buildings housing association owner started to split the community up, using a variety of nefarious and ethically redundant tactics. The community was then partly replaced mostly by young, short-term occupants and property guardians with insecure tenancies. A large number of the 146 flats were being rented to artists by a local ‚Äúarts‚ÄĚ organisation to serve as live / work spaces for artists.

This process is now commonly referred to as ‚Äúartwash‚ÄĚ and was being tactically and ruthlessly employed at Balfron Tower; a usually highly effective PR tool to be used as luxury flats replaced social housing; with artists paying ¬£800 a month for the privilege of living and working in the tower.

Artists were, mostly unwittingly though some with enthusiastic complicity, being used to paper over cracks in the proposed privatisation of the tower. However, things did not exactly run to plan. Residents, already incensed by the loss of their homes and the appalling way they were being treated by the housing association, took exception to artists using their homes as the backdrop for their dystopian visions; constantly delayed by film crews occupying lifts and obstructing access and also very much aware that the ‚Äėartwash‚Äô was part of the gentrification process that was costing them their homes. This was not helped by the aggressive attitude towards them by the housing association and the arts organisation; an Arts Council England national portfolio organisation, an organisation that paradoxically sells itself as both a resource for emerging artists as well as an agency that uses artists to ‚Äėregenerate‚Äô neighbourhoods and force working class communities from their homes.

Welcome to Balfron Tower                                         pic: @rabharling

By late-2010 when I proposed my project to the ‚Äúarts‚ÄĚ organisation, a ban on art projects taking place in or around the building was already being aggressively enforced by the residents committee. There was no mention of this as I laid down a significant security deposit (which was never returned) on top of the ¬£800 for a months rent. I was later told that they believed that I would give up and move on, something I witnessed so many other artists do after trying half-heartedly to get disinterested and often hostile people to participate in their projects.

Throughout the three years I was in Balfron Tower, I encountered parameters of aggressive cultural curation that were waging a neoliberal war on the working classes. Revenge evictions and intimidation were commonplace against artists that didn’t fit with the corporate brand, or expressed even the slightest critique, either through their work or in the media, both mainstream and social. Top-down art-led social restructuring was being ruthlessly foisted upon neighbourhoods and being generously funded by Arts Council England.

Meanwhile, behind the spectacle, social housing was being asset-stripped.

I believe that the use of artists as a smokescreen for the social cleansing of social housing is turning communities against artists and damaging a profession that like so many others in recent years, has been subjected to a bland, mono-cultural middle-class curation that is strangling creativity. Art has been reduced to a carefully curated spectacle and those that want to play must conform.

How can communities respond to art, and artists, as they are so often encouraged to do so, when artists have come to symbolize the devastation of their communities? How can the recent plethora of publicly funded reports such as the RSA and Warwick Commission report be taken as anything more than well meaning committee minded groupthink, somewhat detached from the implications the realities these policies are creating on the ground.

The result has been that artists are sadly increasingly seen as harbingers of the wrecking ball, or in the case of Balfron Tower, thanks to its protected heritage status, harbingers of impending Canary Wharf bankers, with little or no interest in the social heritage of their luxury, highly fashionable apartments.

Balfron Social Club

Poplar

14 July 2015

Our Area is Nice When it Wants to Be.

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A mural by local children outside condemned social housing block Linton House in Mile End                                       pic: @balfronsocial

“Our area is nice when it wants to be
This depends on everyone in our community
It is our home where we are brought up
Our friends and family mean a lot to us‚ÄĚ

-by The Junior Club Members

Were these words and this mural created in more optimistic days? Days when a vote to transfer the management of your council flat from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was based upon promises made by Poplar Harca of new kitchens, bathrooms and windows?

Welcome to the new reality of social housing in Poplar, Bow and Mile End; a reality now outsourced to ‚ÄúRegistered Social Landlord‚ÄĚ Poplar Harca; a reality in which community art murals by Junior Club members are ripped down (along with their homes) and replaced with ‚Äúcommunity art‚ÄĚ that isn‚Äôt really made by members of the community, but by those drafted in and curated by Poplar Harca‚Äôs ‚ÄúHead of Creativity and Innovation‚ÄĚ, curated into his own bland view of what community art is: art that ‚Äúplaceshapes‚ÄĚ community, artwash for the mass destruction of social housing and the dismantlement and social cleansing of our communities.

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Linton House in Mile End. Awaiting demolition.           pic: @balfronsocial

The same community that not so long ago was deemed worthy of creating a mural that celebrated being brought up in a community; that recognised the importance of being surrounded by a network of family and friends.

It continues to mean something to us. It still depends on everyone in the community being nice. Its just that the ones who aren’t being nice anymore aren’t hanging out on street corners scaring the elderly, but are hanging out in their corporate headquarters, doing deals with bankers at HSBC, eager to get their hands on the tax-payer funded capital assets that are (or were) our homes.

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Printon House in Mile End. Social Housing by Poplar Harca: Decanted, Demolished, Rebuilt and Sold               pic: @balfronsocial

So, what about the community on the Burdett Estate in Bow where that mural sits? For Printon House and Linton House the wrecking ball is imminent. An established pattern that has already seen most of the Poplar Harca-managed Leopold Estate demolished, with the remaining blocks (and their residents) still anxiously awaiting their fate. Their sin was simply not having a great enough density in their housing, and that they are social housing tenants, who have a level of housing security that those in the private rented sector could only dream of, and rents that aren‚Äôt ‚Äúaffordable‚ÄĚ but are actually affordable. Just who is it that can afford to pay the ¬£350 per week for a 1-bed flat in these re-developments?

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Demolition Notice nailed to a¬†‚Äúdoor‚ÄĚ in Printon House ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†pic: @balfronsocial

But surely Poplar Harca are a registered social landlord? Surely they wouldn’t act like a private property developer ruthlessly dismantling communities to build luxury flats for the financial service employees at nearby Canary Wharf? Would they?

Why don’t we take a look at some numbers? These demolition notices recently appeared on the doors in Linton and Printon House, although they are dated 4th November 2013. Their recent appearance could surely not in any way appear intimidating to the remaining residents, as they discover demolition notices stapled to every door in the block. They do however reveal replacement plans for what will materialise to replace the 78 socially rented flats that currently occupy this space.

And that is 11% social housing, with the rest available for sale.

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Initial Demolition Notice for Linton and Printon House          pic: @balfronsocial

Yes. 11%.

Does this really sound like a registered social landlord with its interests representing the community? Or does this sound like an exploitative property developer ripping apart the carcass of social housing to divide up the spoils?

To break down the figures further: Printon and Linton currently contain 78 socially rented flats. They are to be replaced with 12 flats for social rent, 12 flats for shared ownership and 85 flats for private sale. These numbers are a scandal and a disgrace.

Yes, Poplar Harca are also planning to provide other facilities such as a mosque, a primary school and a ‚Äėcultural‚Äô facility, but none of these additional facilities are the responsibility of a registered social landlord. Building schools etc. are the responsibility of the council; the same council who gave away our social housing to an organisation that has ripped through our community socially cleansing it as they go.

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A resident of Linton House has their possessions loaded into a van.                pic: @Balfronsocial

11% social housing retention is quite simply a land grab.

We reiterate our calls for retention of a minimum of 50% social housing in all re-developments of social housing blocks and estates.

Balfron Social Club

Poplar

6th July 2015

Tweed House RIP

Tweed House was social housing on the Limehouse Cut canal and the A12 in Poplar, East London. Tweed House’s decline was typical of most of the borough’s housing stock; it had been managed into the ground. After it was taken over by Poplar Harca in a stock transfer from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, it was decanted, demolished and rebuilt, following a fairly typical pattern that is now the fate of many of our social housing blocks.

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Tweed House in Poplar is a good example of managed decline                    pic: @balfronsocial

You can now rent a smaller 1-bed flat in the higher density re-development for ¬£350 per week, that‚Äôs ¬£1517 pcm. 

Tweed House, originally pictured where Erno Goldfinger’s Glenkerry House was ultimately built.

Or you could always buy a part-share if you qualify to be eligible for ‚Äúaffordable‚ÄĚ housing. Oh, and earn ¬£60,000.

But look! Isn’t it shiny? And green.

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Shiny and green: Yeoman Court.                  pic: @balfronsocial

Who has this sort of money? What kind of community do they envisage living here? One that is as soulless as the CGI imagery they decorate our streets with, somewhat familiar but distant at the same time, promising us something different so long as we don‚Äôt look too closely at the small print? This kind of greed is devastating our communities. Registered Social Landlords devour social housing and regurgitate poor-quality ‚Äúluxury‚ÄĚ flats to sell to overseas investors, and others take advantage to escape the heartbreaking damage they are doing to our communities and our city with their ‚Äúregeneration‚ÄĚ by renting out their homes for outrageous sums few round here are earning. 

Is standing back and watching horrified as our friends and neighbours are evicted and decanted really all we can do?

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A somewhat muted acknowledgment to Tweed House which provided proper social housing on this site for decades         pic: @balfronsocial

http://www.primelocation.com/to-rent/details/35964195?search_identifier=18dd5bc268adfb0af40ad75a90381cee#UVfkFmbsZ83tBKcQ.97

Balfron Social Club

Poplar

2nd July 2015