London, UK: Communiqué to the owners of Colorama: We will resist any attempt to make us homeless. We will resist any attempt to further gentrify this area.

jayesh patel,

you’ve been acting on behalf of flamingo holdings limited (a property development company based out of the cayman islands).
you’ve asked that we vacate these premises after a possession order was issued and claim granted on march 20th by lambeth county court. you’ve told us you don’t want to waste money on bailiffs and that we should not act like “savage animals”.

for us, this is not a matter for civilized dialogue and action. this is about political and social struggle.

it is about the trajectory of our own lives and that of the colorama buildings (which have stood for over 100 years). how will the reverberations of their demolition affect our own lives and that of locals living here?

your actions are both an attack on homelessness and an attack on local communities. they feed into a larger capitalist model where money is god; where profit is more important than people’s basic needs.

we believe in transforming empty buildings into places where people can self organize and support one another; where people who would otherwise be sleeping rough or find themselves marginalized by mainstream society can come together, survive and flourish.

you are forcing us into homelessness and we will resist any attempt to evict our family.

at an open hearing on november 14th 2011 southwark council granted the demolition of the two colorama buildings.
that evening the company you represent admitted that they chose not to comply with Southwark’s 35% social housing requirement yet were still granted their planning application.
to be clear, you plan to build a five storey building where the colorama buildings now stand. out of 39 residential units only 8 units will be for social housing. we know where your priorities lie: in making profit.

you are complicit in the gentrification of southwark:
a process that continues to tear apart local communities across london. for the past ten years, property developers and big businesses have worked to locate (with the aid of the local council) areas of southwark they can cash in on.

cheap land is bought up by large property developers and those unlucky enough to be living on that land are told they no longer have a home (just look at the heygate estate).
existing buildings are demolished and re-developed into enormous blocks (recently, developers have announced plans to re-develop eileen house into a 47 storey sky-scraper) of high rise one and two bedroom apartments for those who can afford it.
with new luxury properties being built, wealthier “clientele” are attracted to parts of the city they’d previously have called poor and dangerous. this is all done under the trendy banner of regeneration or urban renewal.
an effect of this is that rents spike and locals as well as their businesses and community centers struggle to make ends meet. local shops go out of business and are replaced by large corporations whose aim is to cater to a new, wealthier demographic (yuppies).

you call it regeneration. we call it social cleansing.

under the banner of regeneration, what property developers and the local council are really doing is forcing one group out (working class communities) and bringing another (who can bring more money into an area, spend it and be taxed) in.

the future you plan for colorama is the future they plan for southwark.
we will resist any attempt to make us homeless. we will resist any attempt to further gentrify this area.

library street london collective