TENANTS on the Heygate estate in south London’s Elephant and Castle are being sent ‘take it now or face eviction later’ letters, as part of a drive to empty the council estate to make way for private developers.
Southwark Council has plans to demolish Heygate and Aylesbury estates, housing thousands of people, and allow private flats and homes for sale to be built on the land.
In a letter to tenants of Ashenden block, the council said that Ashenden and Cuddington tenants ‘were given Band 1 priority in January 2008. . . It is therefore very important that you actively engage in bidding for the properties available on homesearch.
‘If you do not bid then there will soon come a time when the Council will make you one offer only of a property they think suits your needs.
‘If you refuse this property then you may be taken to Court.’
Ashenden tenant Margaret Cunningham told News Line: ‘Miss MacMillan, the lady three doors away, is terrified because they want her to move out to sheltered accommodation. She’s 88 years old.’
Her husband Jim said: ‘I’m being treated like a pack of hounds being herded together and told they’re not wanted.’
He added: ‘They’ve just sold one set of properties on Wansey Street and they’re getting rid of two estates. The council couldn’t give a monkey’s uncle for the estate.’
Margaret said: ‘I think it’s appalling because we’ve got a lot of elderly people in Ashenden. And no one wants to come and reassure them.’
Jim said that, ‘No one wants to know. We’re being told we’ll get one bid for alternative council accommodation and if you don’t like it, you’ll be taken to county court.
‘The council are the ones who’ve sold the estate, no one else. They want to turn this area into an area for city slickers. You’ll lose the respect of the people who vote for you.’
Southwark is reported to be £60 million in debt, said Jim, and ‘now they’ve sold the town hall.’
He added that Southwark has now got ‘the worst record for the upkeep of council flats.
‘Can you see them coming to renovate our flat when they’re knocking it down!’