Stratford Carpenters Estate residents in protest over UCL plans

�Tenants on the Carpenters Estate in Stratford have accused council chiefs of ignoring their views.

Residents face losing their homes if proposals to build a new campus for University College London (UCL) come to fruition.

UCL signed a deal with Newham Council, giving them six months to form the proposals.

But Carpenters residents believe the agreement was already confirmed before the two parties started a joint consultation.

They are also angry that security staff were hired to, they claim, keep out dissenting voices at their AGM last November and at a meeting on January 17 held to discuss the plans.

Joseph Alexander, vice- chairman of Carpenters Against Regeneration Plans (CARP), said people are unhappy with the way the consultation has been handled.

He said: “We believe that the council has not told us the full story.

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“I don’t really want to leave this community. I moved here with the intention of spending my life here.

“This is one of Newham’s sustainable communities. Dismantling it goes against the council’s policies.”

But the site, in the shadow of the Olympic Park, has been earmarked for development since 2010.

A Newham Council spokesman said more than half of Carpenters residents have moved out since it started a rehousing programme.

Resident Mary Finch, of Gibbins Road, said she was struggling to cope with the prospect of the upheaval.

The pensioner has lived on the estate for more than 40 years and saw both her children attend Carpenters Primary.

She also worked at the school as a dinner lady and teaching assistant until her retirement.

Mrs Finch said: “I’ve lost a lot of weight, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I just can’t believe they are doing it.

“I want to fight them but after the meeting I realised that I have got to pull myself together and think of alternative plans.”

A UCL spokesman said they remained committed to their proposals and have promised to send representatives to all future meetings to take residents’ views into account.

A Newham Council spokesman said: “There are good people living on the Carpenters Estate but it is in decline and we want to improve the area for them.

“We will continue to engage with them throughout the process and take into account any concerns they may have.”