Pictures: Russell Brand backs Focus E15 mums despite end to occupation
- Credit: Archant
Focus E15 campaigners have agreed to end their occupation of the Carpenters Estate - but have vowed to continue their fight.
Newham Council will regain possession of the block of four flats on Tuesday, following a ruling at Bow County Court this morning.
There was a carnival atmosphere outside the court where more than 100 people gathered to support the campaigners, including comedian Russell Brand.
Speaking to the Recorder, he said: “I want to see homes for people who need them.
“They’re single mums fighting for homes. It doesn’t get anymore basic than that unless they start taking organs out of people’s bodies.
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“I disagree with people being cleared off Carpenters Estate so they can gentrify the area. What’s happening here is an indication of a much broader story and that’s what I’m interested in.
“If we don’t get involved now who knows what’s going to happen.”
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Many protesters held aloft banners, chanting “social housing is our right, here to stay, here to fight” and “stop making people homeless, stop breaking families up.”
Speaking earlier ahead of the agreement, Jasmin Stone, who is leading the Focus E15 campaign, said: “We want to thank everybody for coming to support us.
“Whatever happens today, this is just the beginning.”
Campaigners have occupied the Stratford flats since September 21. Among their hoards of supporters was Glyn Robbins, a Unite Housing worker trade union.
Speaking before the verdict this morning, he said: “I’ve worked in housing in Newham for years, anyone who works in housing can tell you there’s absolutely no policy justification for what they’re trying to do.
“That housing [Carpenter’s Estate] is perfectly good and perfectly habitable, people should be living in it. And that’s why I’m here today to support them.”
In a statement, a Newham Council spokesperson said: “At the instruction of the Mayor and councillors, officers have restarted negotiations with the Carpenters Tenant Management Organisation to make the low rise properties on the estate available for temporary family housing as quickly as possible.
“We are pleased that we have been able to reach a peaceful, legally binding agreement which allows us to take back the property by 7 October, particularly given the increasingly aggressive nature of the protest, as seen on Monday night.
“The Council will be writing to the remaining residents of the Carpenter’s Estate to reassure them about the steps we are taking to make empty properties on the estate available as temporary homes for families who need them and to reassure them about our plans for the future of the whole estate.”