Focus E15 protesters take over former East Ham police station
- Credit: Archant
Protesters occupied a former police station to highlight what they say is a lack of social housing in the borough.
Four members of the Focus E15 campaign group – whose motto is “social housing, not social cleansing” – took control of the empty ex-station in High Street South, East Ham.
They proceeded to the balcony and hung out banners as other members established themselves outside the doorway during Sunday’s protest.
“The council say there is no space to house people, but this old police station would provide beautiful homes,” Focus E15’s Ella Bradbury, 26, said after protesting in the building.
“They say they haven’t got any resources – but they are spending money on the the Mayor’s Newham Show.”
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She added: “People are being evicted from their homes and Robin Wales is denying people the opportunity to live in Newham.”
Responding to the protest, a spokesman for Newham Council said the authority was “at the forefront of fighting the housing crisis”.
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“We are one of only a handful of councils who has set up its own company to build thousands of new homes in the borough and create additional rental properties,” he said.
“We work in partnership with registered housing provider Local Space to provide temporary accommodation, the majority of which are in the borough, to our homeless residents.”
He added the council was the first to introduce borough-wide private sector licensing to raise housing standards and prevent “criminal landlords” from exploiting tenants.
Addressing the campaigners’ criticism of the Mayor’s Newham Show, the spokesman focussed on how it “brings local residents together”.
“This year more than 50,000 people of all ages enjoyed two days of free fun and entertainment as well as being able to find out more about the wide range of services the council and our partners offer,” he said.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, said officers were called at 4pm and stayed outside the former station until 5.35pm when the protest concluded.