‘We’re fighting for our rights!’ say West Hendon tenants

A section of ‘Our West Hendon’ tenants and supporters determined to defend their rights
A section of ‘Our West Hendon’ tenants and supporters determined to defend their rights

OVER 250 tenants and supporters at the West Hendon estate in north London yesterday packed the community centre on the estate for a meeting which was also addressed by mums and tenants from the the E15 estate in Stratford.

Tenants in West Hendon were angry at plans to evict them and the leaseholders as a result of Barnet Council’s ‘regeneration’ plan.

Leaseholder Kalim Khalick told the meeting: ‘My family and I have lived on the estate for 40 years.

‘We are going through regeneration but it is really redevelopment.

‘Barnet council have called it regeneration to get past the planning laws. This process started in 2002 and will end in 2026. Ten people who voted for the regeneration have already passed away.

‘How can you call it regeneration? Barnet council are expecting people to live on a building site with cranes and lorries 24-hours a day.

‘You have night lights glaring down at people 24 hours a day. ‘West Hendon is a very peaceful estate but the council and the media are trying to demonise us.

‘The public inquiry is going on at the moment in the town hall, and Barnet council are trying for a Compulsory Purchase Order to force the leaseholders out.

‘We are being offered compensation and we can’t go anywhere. We’ve been offered £175,000 for a two-bedroom flat and we can’t get anything less than £275,000.

‘The whole process is to put us down. We are classified as deprived. Barnet council won’t address us unless they have a police escort. This is not just about West Hendon, it’s about social cleansing.

‘We’re staying until we get our rights and if necessary we’ll stop the regeneration.’

Jasmin Stone from Focus E15, said: ‘In August 2015, we were living in a hostel and we were handed eviction notices by Newham Council.

‘We were told we would be housed in Manchester and other places. We had a battle to be housed by Newham borough.

‘We were told by the mayor, “if you can’t afford to live in Newham – leave”.

‘We had a political occupation of 450 council homes that were lying empty for eight years. They were perfectly good homes and we occupied four flats for two weeks.

‘We agreed to leave on the basis that the council would put families in the empty homes. Now 70 working class families are moving in.’

Jonty Leff, from the Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists, told the meeting: ‘They are planning to drive people out of London.

‘The centre of London is becoming like Dubai – huge skyscrapers owned by greedy speculators. E15 and New Era showed that people will not put up with it and can win.

‘It is a fight against the government. There also need to be strikes by the trade unions. We need to kick the Tories out.

‘We need a workers government and socialism.’