Coming soon…

Below is the housing flyer we’re planning to distribute with our friends from Basildon & Southend Housing Action on selected estates in Basildon in a bid to de-bunk some of the myths and rumours about the housing situation that are circulating and to explain in plain language what’s actually going on. We’re experimenting with short sharp flyers instead of our usual papers to see if they’re more effective in getting the message across…

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A housing reading list

From speculation about new housing association homes at the Bata Fields development in East Tilbury going to people from outside of Thurrock, through rumours that some homes on the St. Clere’s development in Stanford-le-Hope are being brought by London councils to re-house people decanted as a result of ‘re-generation’ (a.k.a. social cleansing) to verifiable stories of people re-housed out here from the capital being victimised by resentful locals, there’s a lot of misunderstandings about the housing situation that need clearing up. Below is a list of pretty much everything we’ve written or re-blogged about the housing crisis…

A lot of this reading list focuses on what’s happening in London with the wholesale re-generation of housing estates that leads to social cleansing as residents are turfed out and re-housed many miles away, all too often out of the capital altogether. The point we want to make is that what happens in London with housing has a direct impact out here along the estuary. Which is why we ask people concerned about the housing situation here in Essex to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and show their solidarity with the housing struggles across London that are being fought by residents facing re-location as their estates are effectively destroyed in the name of ‘re-generation’.

One of the problems we face out here are the divide and rule merchants who don’t want people to see the bigger picture and through rumours and lies, create the kind of situation where anger is focused on the people moved out here who are the victims of what’s going on in London rather than the corrupt councils and developers who are the root cause of the problem in the capital. We’re not prepared to tolerate these divide and rule merchants with their nefarious, reactionary agendas in any way shape or form…

Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-off (re-blog from ASH)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/clusterfuck-labours-shameless-council-estate-rip-off/
10 Myths about London’s Housing Crisis (re-blog from ASH)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/10-myths-about-londons-housing-crisis/
No More Fake News! This is reality (re-blog from Focus E15)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/no-more-fake-news-this-is-reality/
A reminder of why we support housing struggles in Londonhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/a-reminder-of-why-we-support-housing-struggles-in-london/
Screwed up priorities…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/screwed-up-priorities/
Why I am a Focus E15 campaigner (re-blog from Focus E15)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/why-i-am-a-focus-e15-campaigner/
The housing domino effect…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/the-housing-domino-effect/
Is this the start of the gentrification of Tilbury?https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/is-this-the-start-of-the-gentrification-of-tilbury/

Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-off

Right, if you want the ultimate low down on what’s happening in London with social cleansing, here it is from our mate, Lolly… This piece was originally published in the latest Class War paper and then given an airing on the Net by our friends from ASH. Yes, we know we keep banging on about the housing situation in London – we do so because what happens in the capital has a direct impact out here along the estuary. Also, we believe in that old fashioned word, solidarity…

architectsforsocialhousing

A version of this article by long-time ASH member Lolly Oii was first published in the new release of Class War, the most dangerous tabloid in Britain and the only paper that speaks to the working class about working-class struggle. We liked it so much we asked the author if we could publish it on the ASH blog and she said yes. This is one of the best summaries we’ve read about estate demolition, what it’s doing to our communities and who is responsible.

Well, where do we begin to untangle this clusterfuck of an issue? Yes, we know there’s a lot to blame Maggie for – introducing the ‘right to buy’ and blocking any cash generated by sales from being used to build new homes; but under carefully hidden layers there’s a lot more blame that actually falls directly at Labour’s feet. In 1997 Tony Blair and his…

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10 Myths about London’s Housing Crisis

This piece from our mates at ASH was commissioned by the Guardian but never used. That’s the Guardian’s loss and they’ll have to live with that… Anyway, in a bid to get this piece read by as many people as possible we’re re-blogging it and would encourage anyone who has a blog to do the same. Yes, it’s about the housing crisis in London – as we’ve written numerous times before, what happens in the capital with housing has a direct impact all the way out here along the estuary. Not only that, there’s this old fashioned thing called solidarity which we’d like to show to housing activists and tenants in London fighting against social cleansing…

architectsforsocialhousing

This text was commissioned from ASH by the Guardian’s Housing Network, which subsequently refused to publish it. This is the second time an ASH piece has been commissioned and refused by the Guardian, which since Katharine Viner took over as editor in March 2015 has moved further and further to the political right, and whose articles on housing have increasingly resembled press releases for the councils, mayors, housing associations, property developers, builders, real estate firms and architectural practices feeding at the housing table – so we weren’t surprised. The last two years has shown ASH that there is nothing the mainstream press would publish that we would consider writing, and nothing we would write that they would consider publishing. Here is the text as rejected.

  1. There is no housing crisis, if by crisis we mean something out of control. The shortage of housing and the corresponding boom in UK house prices…

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The gentrification of Grays is underway…

Persimmon Homes Essex have started work on the Urban Central development on the site of the former gasworks just to the north west of Grays town centre: Urban Central: Work starts on Grays Town Centre housing developmenthttp://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/05/02/urban-central-work-starts-grays-town-centre-housing-development/ In the bullshit from Persimmon, they talk about the homes being aimed at professionals amongst others. Which is an indicator of how insane the housing market has become when even professionals working in London are considering Grays as a place to live and commute from.

We also have this from Persimmon: “Grays is a very popular place to live with a bustling high street, fashionable restaurants and shops and easy train access into London. We know that these properties will prove to be very popular indeed.” Now we don’t want to knock Grays but we must have blinked last Saturday when were in the town as we didn’t notice any fashionable restaurants! Which makes us think that Persimmon are projecting into the future to the kind of gentrified town they wish to see…

There’s not one single mention of the miserly proportion of ‘affordable’ homes that Persimmon are obliged to provide. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one but it could well be the case it will be grudgingly provided in a completely different and considerably less convenient location. What has to be said is that this development does sod all to reduce the waiting list for social housing in Thurrock. Not that this is going to be a priority as the regeneration and subsequent social cleansing of anywhere in Thurrock that’s near to the c2c line into London gets underway.

This echoes what’s going on in Basildon with the project of turning the place into a Tory voting commuter town: Screwed up priorities…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/screwed-up-priorities/ What Thurrock and Basildon have in common is that compared to the total insanity of the property market in London, for young professionals, house prices are affordable and they are looking to move out here while they still have a relatively easy commute into the capital. Which means an extensive exercise in the re-branding of both locations to draw these people in at the expense of the rest of us.

The only possible compensating factor is that the housing market in London is showing signs of slowing down with the possibility that at some point in the not too distant future as the uncertainties about Brexit increase, it could well start tanking. A London housing market that’s tanking will be seen by many commentators as a disaster – we see it as an opportunity to get the notion that housing is not a financial asset but a basic right onto the agenda…

This is the start of gentrification in Tilbury…

Phase One of the housing development on St. Chads Road in Tilbury that’s being built by the Thurrock Council owned Gloriana Thurrock Ltd. is almost complete and will be handed over in April. Properties for rent on this development are already being advertised on Right Move – http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-58379245.html Have a look at what they want for the monthly rent and you’ll see why we think the gentrification of Tilbury is underway!

The ‘affordable’ housing component of this development is just 20% of the total number of homes being being built – these are restricted to two bedroom properties only. These will not be available until the completion of Phase Two which is due to happen this coming summer. The homes will be allocated through the council’s housing register.

The three bedroom properties are being advertised by Right Move at £1,124 per calendar month (£259 per week). For a couple with children to be able to afford the rent on a property like this, they would need to be earning around £35,000 a year. That pretty much puts these properties beyond the reach of most people living in Tilbury.

So with rents at this level, Gloriana Thurrock Ltd. which was supposedly set up by the council towards the end of 2013 by the then Labour administration with the aim of building homes on land that commercial developers supposedly wouldn’t touch, is turning into yet another commercial property developer! Sure, Thurrock Council officers (and some councillors) will try and justify this as a necessary revenue generating initiative to offset the drastic cuts in money from central government. The point is that Gloriana Thurrock Ltd. are doing little or nothing to ease pressure on the housing waiting list as they build homes for people from outside the borough.

Given that the St.Chads developments is within reasonable walking distance of the station, it wouldn’t be surprising if a lot of people moving there are commuters who have been priced out of London. The same thing is happening in Basildon with the Tory leader of Basildon Council, Cllr. Phil Turner practically rolling out the red carpet to welcome an influx of potential Tory voters into the town! This is just another manifestation of The housing domino effecthttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/the-housing-domino-effect/ that’s a consequence of the project of making London a welcome home for the global super rich.

This is what you get when housing is regarded as yet another financial asset to be brought and sold for profit rather than as a basic human need that has to be met. We now have a situation where housing provision is being used as a means of social engineering and social control. Young, productive and relatively well paid commuters are being made welcome. Low earners are expected to struggle as best they can in cramped, precarious accommodation – if their labour is no longer required, they’re deemed to be expendable and they’ll find there is no place for them anywhere along the estuary. If for whatever reason you’re disabled and on the housing waiting list, expect to be moved right out of the area to a decaying seaside town further up the east coast.

Things will only change once people start to realise that the system we have is screwing more and more of us over and is ultimately unsustainable. A political, social and economic order that is failing to meet the housing needs of an ever growing proportion of the population can only stagger on so far before something gives. Only when that happens will we have the chance to install a system that meets our needs as people instead of one that merely sees us as production units to be discarded when we are no longer of any use.