London’s Housing Crisis: Please Support the Sweets Way Tenants Facing Eviction in Barnet

Tenants of Sweets Way Estate in Barnet resisting eviction and the demolition of their homes (Photo via Sweets Way Resists).Please sign and share the Sweets Way tenants’ petition calling for their homes to be saved from demolition on Change.org, and see below for their story. Also see the postscript following the court decision on March 30.

London’s housing crisis is something that preoccupies me on a daily basis, although I don’t get to write about it anywhere near as much as I’d like. As a social housing tenant who has lived in London for 30 years, I can say that, since the Tory-led government came to power five years ago, I have never felt as vulnerable or as demeaned, and I have watched aghast as the current housing bubble has driven house prices beyond the reach of most families — and, perhaps more crucially, has also driven rents to levels never seen before.

With rents and mortgages easily reaching £15,000 or £20,000 a year, matching the median income in London, it is understandable why so many hard-working people are now paying out so much for a roof over their heads that they have little left over for their own enjoyment (and crucially, to put into the wider economy), or cannot make ends meet and are obliged to use food banks, or are having to leave London entirely.

In addition, for many social tenants, life is increasingly insecure, as cash-strapped councils claim that they are unable to afford the maintenance on aging estates, and, as a result, sell the land to developers to build new estates, from which existing tenants are priced out, replaced by foreign investors and relatively wealthy British buyers. These developments are supposed to include “affordable” social housing, but more often than not whatever social component exists is actually unaffordable for most workers, because, in September 2013, London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, set affordable rents at 80 percent of market rents. Read the rest of this entry »

The Old and the New: Photos of a Journey through Waterloo, Borough and Bermondsey

The lone house, WaterlooWaterloo StationThe arch under the bridgeUnder the railwayDerelictThe patriotic barbers
Roupell StreetHouses on Roupell StreetThe King's Arms, WaterlooThe big blue bridgeLike the seasideBigger on top: the Palestra
The Lord NelsonI know that you know that nobody knowsThe face in the shadowsUnion Theatre CafeMoonraker AlleyAn empty retail unit, Moonraker Alley
The office in the archKing Alfred and Henry Wood HallThe Black Horse, Great Dover StreetHartley's Jam Factory Gated Luxury FlatsHartley's chimneyYouth club mural in Southwark

The Old and the New: A Journey through Waterloo, Borough and Bermondsey, a set on Flickr.

These photos are the last in a series of photos from Friday August 31, 2012, when, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike, I cycled through central London and back to my home in Brockley, in south east London, after attending a protest in Triton Square, just off Euston Road, outside the offices of Atos Healthcare, the multinational company that is running the government’s vile review process for disabled people, which is designed to find them fit for work when they are not. See the Flickr set here.

After the protest, I cycled through Fitzrovia to Oxford Street, and then on to Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross and the Southbank Centre. The previous Flickr sets are here, here and here. Read the rest of this entry »

Real Life in South London: Photos of a Journey through Nunhead, Peckham, Walworth and Borough

The abandoned swingsNot what it seemsThe overgrown nurseryThe Olde Apple Tree pubMadhouse TyresLittle Lllly's Flowers
Keston House, WalworthWindows on the Aylesbury EstateFoxy street art, BoroughStreet art mole, BoroughEat at Jeff's with HopeThe Priory: For Sale, To Let and Sold
For Whom The Bell TollsThe silver apartment blockThe abandoned warehouseDerelict buildings on Blackfriars RoadThe speculative view

Real Life in South London: A Journey through Nunhead, Peckham, Walworth and Borough, a set on Flickr.

Since I began my project, ten weeks ago, to cycle the whole of London by bike, armed only with a camera, I have managed to become quite familiar with the whole of south east London, Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs, and the banks of the Thames — on the north from London Bridge to the Royal Docks, and on the south from Blackfriars Bridge to Thamesmead, as well as travelling to Stratford — in search of the Olympicsand back, and in this latest set, taken a few weeks ago on a bike ride into central London from south east London — to be followed imminently by a rainy set of photos from the City of London — I found some parts of south east London I had never found before — in Nunhead (in the London Borough of Lewisham) and Peckham, Walworth and Borough (in the London Borough of Southwark), and some that were familiar, which I came across in a largely unplanned manner.

The parts of London I have covered in the last ten weeks are, I concede, only a fraction of this vast metropolis, but the dozens of journeys I have undertaken have made me fit, and have stretched my eyes and my mind, which had become cooped up after six years of researching and writing about Guantánamo and the “war on terror,” and after the 21 months that I have spent railing against the cruelty and myopia of the Tory-led coalition government, which, through an obsession with destroying the state and privatising whatever was not already privatised by Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, has initiated a savage and deluded age of austerity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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