All My Little Words

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, Visits Cressingham Gardens Estate

Posted in Domestic Policy, Economics, Politics by nickchristian on October 30, 2014

This article was originally published in the October edition of Brixton Bugle.

The leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Natalie Bennett, was in Brixton on Tuesday to visit Cressingham Gardens, the Brockwell Park housing estate which Lambeth Council has marked for “regeneration”.

Joined by Councillor Scott Ainslie (St Leonard’s Ward) and Jonathan Bartley, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for the Streatham constituency which covers Cressingham Gardens, she spoke with residents campaigning to protect the estate against demolition.

Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett visits Cressingham Gardens Estate

Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett visits Cressingham Gardens Estate

At the meeting at her home on Bodley Manor Way, Gerlinde Gniewosz, co-chair of the Tenants and Residents Association called for closer scrutiny of the financial calculations which have led Lambeth Council to favour rebuilding, rather than repair: “We generate £1.2million a year in council rents from the three hundred homes here. Only about two hundred [thousand pounds] is going into maintenance. Double that is going into administration and management and we don’t know where the rest is.”

Ms Bennett expressed her party’s full support for the locals’ efforts to save their homes. “I think it’s very clear that there’s a real community of people here and buildings that are basically utterly sound and very well designed,” she said.

She also criticized Lambeth, and councils in general, for “becoming like property developers, getting pound signs in their eyes and thinking about their housing stock as a financial asset, a resource that they’re able to draw on.”

Jonathan Bartley went even further, attacking Lambeth Council for a policy which he described as “social cleansing”.

He said: “We have heard numerous accounts of how they have wasted money, botched repairs and let Cressingham Gardens run down.  Bulldozing any part of it would be to make the residents pay the penalty for the council’s mismanagement.”

On the subject of wider housing policy Ms Bennett commented: “The Green Party calls for the abolition of “right to buy”. We need a great deal more council housing. We also need controls on private landlords so that their tenants can have security of tenure and controls over rent increases. We need to turn the housing market around so it works for people, not for the financial sector.”

The final decision regarding the future of Cressingham Gardens is due to be made in December.

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