Squats evicted, Rushcroft Road
Some of Brixton's famous squats get turfed out
(Photos/words © urban75, 10th March, 2009)
Rushcroft Road is an attractive street of Edwardian mansion blocks running from Tate Gardens opposite Lambeth Town Hall to Coldharbour Lane.
The street has a long association with community squatting - read the full story here: Rushcroft Road and Clifton Mansions community.
On the 10th March, 2009, two long standing squats at Hereford House and Rosslyn House were evicted by a large number of police. These photos were taken a few hours after the squatters had been removed.
» Read the story behind the evictions
Cops outside Rosslyn House after the eviction.
Cops securing Hereford House, on the corner of Electric Lane.
Evictions in Rushcroft Road, Brixton
Rushcroft Road - too posh?
Fatal shooting on Rushcroft Road (27th April 2007)
The story behind the evictions
The following was posted by 'Casaubon' on the forum thread about the evictions.
As this is my first post I should introduce myself.
This is going to be very long for a first post – apologies, but I want to get a few things off my chest.
My main original reason for joining U75 was to keep informed about developments in central Brixton and Rushcroft Rd, where I lived.
A few years ago I moved up the Hill, as part of the re-housing by Lambeth of ex-London & Quadrant tenants from Rushcroft Rd.
I was involved in the fights to keep our homes and community on Rushcroft Rd, and I try to keep informed even though I don't live there any more.
June '09 will be the tenth anniversary of the case in the House of Lords that was meant to definitively resolve the tenure/occupation issues of Rushcroft Rd.
I was intending to end my long lurk by using the boards to ask whether there have been any developments on Rushcroft, as I've been horrified that Lambeth council still hasn't resolved the issues – TEN YEARS AFTER THE HOUSE OF LORDS JUDGEMENT.
Now it seems that Lambeth have decided to act, in typically insensitive and stupid fashion.
Does anyone know if Lambeth has any coherent or realistic plans for Rushcroft Rd (other than dumping the properties at auction as soon as possible)?
I think it's worth pointing out that the situation on Rushcroft Rd (and Clifton Mansions) has been a scandal since at least 1979.
- Around 110 flats in Rushcroft and Clifton were handed by Lambeth to London & Quadrant (L&Q) without any formal agreement or contract (back of an envelope in the Trinity Arms is my bet).
- From around '79 Lambeth ceased to collect any rent for these properties. All rent was kept by L&Q
- L&Q never carried out any meaningful maintenance on the properties, because they never had any sort of long-term tenure. Most of the blocks have deteriorated shockingly.
- L&Q and Lambeth maintained the fiction that occupants were not tenants, but 'Short-Life Licensees', with no security of tenure beyond 28 days. Some people lived with this 'security' for more than 20 years.
- The House of Lords decision destroyed the 'short-life' sham, and said that the L&Q 'licencees' had always been tenants of L&Q, and actually had some rights, contrary to what we were told for 20 years.
- L&Q reacted to the Lords decision by simply running away, renouncing any tenures that may have existed. Lambeth, instead of insisting that L&Q rectify the results of their neglect, paid L&Q's legal bills as well as their own. (Around £200K for this one case alone. And there were several others going on simultaneously)
- L&Q tenants (around 90 on Rushcroft by 1999) were told that their tenancies with L&Q were void, and they were now illegal occupiers.
- Lambeth refused to accept rent from the occupiers, as this would establish a new tenancy
- Lambeth hasn't had a penny of rent from around 90 flats for 10 years, the properties have decayed to a genuinely alarming extent, and the households of Rushcroft Rd have had to put up with 10 unnecessary years of stress.
The community of Rushcroft Rd provided a relatively stable and peaceful population in a 'difficult' part of Brixton, during the most difficult period of Brixton's history.
The community should have been supported by Lambeth – not for any 'worthy' reasons, but because it had evolved organically into a functioning community which could have provided a meaningful basis for regeneration.
Instead, Lambeth council has spent years, and hundreds of thousands of pounds, destroying the community while watching their property fall apart.
During my time on Rushcroft, Lambeth was ruled at different times by all three main political parties, and there was 'no overall control' for a couple of years too, I think.
I dealt directly with representatives of all three main parties – and I can sincerely say that they were almost entirely a bunch of short-sighted, stupid, ill-informed, self-serving, mealy-mouthed, lying cunts.
I also had a lot of dealings with officers of Lambeth council, and they were worse than the politicians – really, where do they find such stupid and heartless staff, is there an agency?
With one exception, I wouldn't cross the road to piss in their mouths if their teeth were on fire.
In my experience there's simply no point in trying to deal Lambeth in a constructive, intelligent manner – they're simply not capable.
Good things happen in Brixton despite the council, not because of it.
Direct and/or legal action is the only way to get them to engage meaningfully with issues.
Good luck to the evictees and remaining occupants – take heart from the fact that it's Lambeth you're fighting, and they can usually be relied on to fuck everything up.
Sorry for the length of the post/rant, it seems a bit pretentious for a first post, but I feel a lot better for getting (some of) it off my chest.
Discuss this on this forum thread.
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