GMB London support BWTUC call for 159 empty homes in Chelsea to be repaired and reoccupied
GMB London support BWTUC call for Clarion Housing to bring back 159 social housing units in Chelsea for Grenfell Tower fire residentsAffinity Sutton should not have decanted residents from these blocks in 2015 and then broken the flats to make them uninhabitable before the application for planning permission to demolish and redevelop parts of the estate had been granted says GMB London
GMB London fully support the call by Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council for Clarion Housing to recommission 159 social housing units on the Sutton Estate Chelsea to be used to rehome Grenfell Tower residents. (see notes to editors for copy of BWTUC press release)
The 159 units have been empty since October 2015 when Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton planned to redevelop part of the estate.
Warren Kenny, GMB London region secretary, said
“GMB London region has members living on this estate who have asked the union for support in opposing the cut in the number of social housing units on the estate.
“Affinity Sutton should not have decanted residents from these blocks in 2015 and then broken the flats to make them uninhabitable before the application for planning permission to demolish and redevelop parts of the estate had been granted. There is no permission to demolish and redevelop the estate.
“GMB London back the call by BWTUC and the residents for the 159 units to be repaired and offered for re-occupation by Grenfell Tower fire residents.”
Contact: Gary Doolan on 07590 262 504
Notes to editors
1) BWTUC Press release 13 July 2017
BWTUC CALLS ON CLARION HOUSING (Formerly Affinity Sutton) TO BRING BACK INTO USE 159 SOCIAL HOUSING UNITS IN CHELSEA LYING EMPTY AND OFFER THEM AS HOMES FOR GRENFELL TOWER FIRE RESIDENTS
If Kensington and Chelsea Council won't use its powers to force action on this it should be ordered to bring back into commission these flats that the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton itself vandalised in 2015 after decanting the residents says BWTUC
The July meeting of Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council agreed to call on the public authorities and the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton to re-commission the 159 units of social housing on the Sutton Estate in Chelsea now lying idle together with the many other flats which are being left empty and to offer them as temporary housing to the homeless Grenfell Tower fire residents.
The residents of these 159 units were decanted in October 2015 by the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton in advance of an application to Kensington and Chelsea Council for planning permission to demolish and redevelop parts of the estate. This was turned down in November 2016.
Since then, many other homes and sheltered housing units on the estate have been left empty after residents died or moved out, rather than offer them as homes to London families.
One of the residents decanted from accommodation now lying empty was rehoused in Grenfell Tower and lost her five year old son in the fire.
The Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton applied to Kensington and Chelsea council in October 2015 to demolish 462 flats and replace them with 316, a net loss of 146 social units. GMB, who represent lower paid workers in local government and the NHS, objected on the grounds of this significant loss of Social Housing, a 31.6% reduction in social housing units for the next generation. The application was rejected in December 2016 but the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton has given notice of plans to appeal against the rejection. (See notes to editors for GMB press releases on the proposed redevelopment and GMB objections to to the council.
Seamus MacBride, President of BWTUC, said,
“It is a scandal that the Sutton Trust’s successor body is not only not accepting the rejection of the application to reduce the number of social dwellings in the area but has presided over the leaving of valuable social housing units vacant for nearly two years now.
“Kensington and Chelsea Council has the powers to force Sutton Trust to re-commission these 159 flats and it should use those powers. A crash programme of work should be undertaken without delay. The refurbished units could be offered to the Grenfell Tower fire victims as temporary accommodation.
“If Kensington and Chelsea Council won't move on this they should be forced to bring back into commission the flats that the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton itself broke up after decanting the residents in 2015"
Ian Henderson, chair of the residents’ association at the Sutton Trust Estate in Chelsea, said,
"On top of the 159 flats that have been emptied, there are flats throughout the estate which are deliberately being left empty including sheltered housing. Clarion in their attempt to demolish the estate to be replaced by multi-million pound flats, will be destroying a community, and complicit in the social cleansing of the area.
“We call upon the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to serve Affinity Sutton with a Section 215 notice (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/11491/319798.pdf) to force Affinity Sutton to bring these homes back into use for the residents of Grenfell Tower.
“Or the Council should consider make a Compulsory Purchase order so that blocks A to D can be brought back into use for Social Housing as was their intended purpose in the will of William Sutton.
“RBKC have again failed to meet the needs of homeless families from Grenfell Tower , 158 of whom are still living in temporary housing . We call upon the Cabinet of RBKC to stand down and be replaced by Commissioners. The continual failure of the Council is endemic of their attitude to social housing tenants across the Borough, this attitude is continuing and needs to stop today .”