London: Aylesbury Estate empty flats revitalised

Aylesbury Estate Occupation: 77 – 105 Chartridge, Westmoreland Road, SE17. Map here.

You probably heard but people have opened up a few of the decanted and empty flats in Chartridge House on Aylesbury Estate in Walworth. The occupation came at the end of the March for Homes on Saturday 31st January which ended at City Hall at Tower Bridge. About 150 people marched back to the Aylesbury and helped support the flats that had been opened up earlier on. Right now (Monday night), the occupiers have released a statement of why they are doing this and have set up a website to keep people informed.

Come and have your say, get involved!
There are open assemblies for anyone to come to each day at 6.30pm. The one on Monday was great with lots of locals, long-term housing activists on Aylesbury and other Walworth Estates and other supporters. There was cake supplied by one generous local woman and lots of practical ideas and help was offered to the occupiers. The contact for the occupation is: aylesbury(at) Pop down and say Hello and see what they need, maybe!


Everything we have to say on Aylesbury Estate is here so we won’t repeat ourselves. But this occupation is about both the fights on Aylesbury for saving the estate as well as the more general crisis around real decent affordable housing for all. At the meeting today it was clear that the occupation is one tactic amongst many but it was supported with great enthusiasm and solidarity by all.



Thanks to Southwark Notes for this great write-up of the occupation so far!
[Published by Fight for the Aylesbury on February 3rd, 2015]


Bringing a liberated space to life

Yesterday’s neighbourhood assembly was really inspiring. Occupiers, tenants and leaseholders, people from local tenants associations and campaign groups, nearby squatters and ex-squatters, and plenty of other visitors got together to talk about how we can fight for the Aylesbury and against social cleansing in London. About 50 of us were there, with loads of ideas and passion for the struggle ahead.

We talked about how the aim of this occupation is not just to defend a building, but to help connect people and bring the area to life. We started to make a list of some practical actions to make this happen. There is loads of work to do, and we still need lots more people to get involved. We can do incredible things. Here are a few things on the list to start with:

** We will have an accessible community space for neighbourhood events and activities. And where people can just drop by, hang out, drink tea, chat, etc. People talked about the example of the Focus E15 open house.

** Some people have a projector and will come to run film screenings.

** Talks, discussions and workshops: including legal workshops and discussions about the estate, and lots more.

** Quite a few people have different practical skills e.g., plumbing, building refurbishment, decorating, etc. We can make a “skills bank” where people volunteer to help out with repairs and other jobs. Both on for the occupation and for estate residents.

** We can also start practical skill-shares to teach these skills to each other.

** Some people want to organise football tournaments, either by the occupation or nearby in Burgess Park.

** It would be great to have a community kitchen, maybe cook an evening meal together for the assembly each day. Are there people who want to get that started? Does anyone have the equipment we need?

** Gardening and growing food. People remembered the great community allotments made on the deserted Heygate Estate. Spring is coming …

** Also we want to spread our message beyond the estate. We will go and run stalls on East Street market etc., as well as going to local tenants and trade union meetings etc. Invites for these are coming in already.

See you tonight at 6.30 PM. There is lots more to talk about. And, even more importantly, to do.

[Published by Fight for the Aylesbury on February 3rd, 2015]