Controversy over Lambeth’s short-life tenants continues as one resident escapes eviction


Charmain Lodge was set to be evicted today.


By SWLondoner staff

The controversial eviction of a Lambeth resident has been cancelled after days of action from campaigners.

Charmain Lodge, a short-life council tenant who has been living in her home for 14 years, was facing homelessness because of a council policy to sell short-life properties.

Her GP and other health workers made submissions on her behalf for the eviction threat to be lifted, saying that her housing situation could make her serious medical problems worse.

Ms Lodge was set to be evicted today (Thursday), but at the Town Hall on Monday the leader of Lambeth Council suggested this would not go ahead.

“I have asked officers to work with you closely to find somewhere for you to live permanently,” Councillor Lib Peck told Ms Lodge after a group of residents and activists handed in a petition.

Although delighted at the decision not to evict Ms Lodge, pressure group Lambeth Save Our Services said they were still concerned that the council planned to persist with a policy that would put other residents in the same position.

“The council’s purge of housing co-operatives threatens to destroy 6,800 years of community! It must stop,” they say on their website.

The group has the support of Helen O’Malley, the Labour Councillor for Clapham Town ward, who has criticised the housing policy of the council.

As ward councillor, I have asked repeatedly that Lambeth begin to treat its residents with fairness, compassion and professionalism,” she said.

Lambeth is the last borough to deal with its short-life properties. In 1970, councils purchased and emptied a number of properties for regeneration or demolition, but after this fell through due to a lack of funding, they instead designated them as ‘short-life’ properties and allowed people to live in them paying little or no rent.

“The government has provided just £93m in backlog decent homes funding – less than 20% of the total required,” says Peter Robbins, cabinet member for housing and regeneration in the Guardian.

“Some of the short-life properties are worth £2m, which alone would bring 150 to 200 properties up to standard. Putting on our accountants’ hats these are very clearly under-used assets that we can realise.”

Photo courtesy of ericrichardson, with thanks.

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