residents fighting back against Peabody demolition

  • Post last modified:April 3, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Residents on the Peabody-run Lesnes housing estate in southeast London will be protesting against its plans to demolish their estate and evict them from their homes.

Lesnes Estate: residents fighting back

The protest – advertised as a protest and party – will take place on the Lesnes Estate in Thamesmead, London, on Saturday 6 April from 12pm – with music, food, and speeches followed by a march to the Peabody sales office on the estate:

Organised by the resident campaign group LesRes (Lesnes Resistance) and supported by housing and climate campaign group Housing Rebellion, the event will include speeches from local councillors and housing campaigners, including Aysen Dennis from Fight4Aylesbury.

In October 2022, Peabody was given planning permission for a regeneration plan that would demolish the estate to build 1,950 new homes, of which only 61 will be social rent and 35% will be ‘affordable,’ or priced at up to 80% of market rent.

Long-standing residents, who are facing compulsory purchase of their homes at a fraction of the price of the planned new homes, fear they will be displaced further out of London and torn away from a close-knit community.

Residents are calling on Peabody to refurbish rather than demolish the estate.

Multiple failures

They have previously called on the Mayor of London to hold a public hearing in which they could voice their concerns surrounding the planning application, as the Mayor has yet to formally approve Peabody’s plan.

London Assembly member Sian Berry has raised a number of concerns to the mayor including problems with the way the resident ballot was carried out and the failure to consider a retrofit option.

Campaigners are also concerned at the massive environmental impact of the proposed development, as demolition and new construction are highly carbon-intensive and ecologically destructive:

A protest on the estate last summer saw a three day occupation of one of the dozens of empty homes on the estate:

Residents insist they will not leave voluntarily and will stand firm against Peabody’s attempts to bully them out of their homes.

Alice Brown from the Architects Climate Action Network said:

We do not have the carbon budget to carry on with the ‘business as usual’ model of demolition and rebuild, if we are to keep with the limits set by the Paris Agreement. There is a moral imperative to make our best efforts to reduce the devastating consequences of climate breakdown.

Lesnes is just a “commodity” for Peabody

Resident homeowner Li Sun said:

For developers, houses are just commodities for making money, but for residents, they are basic needs and a place that carries the happiness and hopes of a family for even several generations. A good government should be people-oriented and listen to the voices of the people. It should not rob the poor and support the rich and become his accomplice.

Florence from Housing Rebellion said:

To stop the cycle of demolition and displacement, seen all over London, we must join together to fight for the right to high quality affordable housing, and end the devastating environmental impact of demolition and unnecessary new construction.

You can sign the petition to stop the demolition of the Lesnes Estate here.

Featured image and additional images via Housing Rebellion

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