28th October 2008
Ownership of the house is claimed by Places for People, Britain’s largest housing association. Its chief executive, David Cowans, topped the list of richest “social” housing providers with a salary of £257,928 in 2007 (Every single penny on the backs of the poor). Instead of providing adequate social housing they work for corporate gain and through speculation with our money are feeling the pinch of the property market crash. This is a social housing provider playing with public money.
Number 87 is actually owned by Places for People’s charitable arm (Places for People Individual Support), which is supposed to provide housing for homeless and the elderly. They plan to turn the majority of the house into private owned apartments. It currently is housing 20+ people.
It has been empty for over 3 years and squatted by a large number of otherwise homeless people since April 2008.
At 12.00pm today (28 Oct 2008), baliffs acting for Places for People arrived – shortly to be accompanied by the police – demanding that the residents be out by 12.30pm. They claimed paperwork had been sent through to the occupants, but in fact no notice of eviction had come through. This was an illegal attempt at making people homeless and was answered with solidarity.
A critical mass of people began to build in response to those resisting the illegal eviction and by about 1.30pm there were between 30-50 people outside the gates on Ashley Road, with many many more inside, ready to resist what the bailiffs and police were preparing.
People took to the roof, occupied spaces in windows, defended the doors – fortifying the building. A banner was dropped explaining: WHEN YOU THREATEN ONE YOU THREATEN ALL – for the defence of squats and autonomous spaces. Against companies like Places for People – Britain’s most commercialised, corrupt landlord.
A stand off ensued and eventually by around 2.00pm the bailiffs and police departed the scene. A beautiful victory for solidarity in resisting the corporate takeover of our city.
This eviction threat is imminent and all support is needed.
The residents of the building have made repeated attempts to negotiate a settlement with P4P but commercial gain seems their only aim. The residents ask all those who believe in housing for all and the stand against gentrification to join them.
Squatters and residents together against corrupt landlords!
Address: Unity Home, number 87 Ashley Road, St Pauls, Bristol.
Photos on Indymedia UK: https://indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/10/411810.html