London: Aylesbury Occupations – 12 story block seized for homeless

March 15, 2015 – Rabble news

Yesterday (14 March) there was a “March for the Aylesbury” demo, called by “Southwark Defend Council Housing”. At 12 noon on a cold grey day, 150 plus people gathered in Burgess Park on the corner of Old Kent Road and Albany Road. We took the road and marched off through the Aylesbury, past the new yuppy developments springing up around the area, then along the busy Walworth road where there were lots of people out doing their shopping, taking leaflets, shouting greetings and honking horns and some joining in the march.


Then around the part of the estate scheduled for the next wave of demolition. It’s now been turned into a camp-like fortress of wooden and metal fences, topped with anti-climb “curly wurly” rotating sharp steel. All gates to the estate have been sealed and are guarded by security guards, including the dog patrols. The remaining residents have to ask these hired thugs permission to come in and out, and are ordered to walk round the estate to the “main entrance”. Visitors are checked off against a list of official inhabitants. If Southwark Council scumbags were looking for a way to piss their tenants off even more, they found it.

During the demo there were even more security than usual in the last days, a few dozen altogether at the various entrances and in reserve. And they were backed up with more bodies from the Metropolitan Police.

Despite all these heavies, we managed to open and push our way in through two gates. It was a bit of a scrum for half an hour or so, as gates were pushed back and forth, some metal strips torn off, and whole fence panels nearly flew off their hinges. In the end they just couldn’t stop us, and in rushed the crowd.

As we reached the occupation in Chiltern House, massive banners were unfurled from high up in the 12 storey block. The comrades inside had taken the whole building, expanding from the ground floor former council offices to occupy a number of flats.

The occupation posted a statement on its website:

“Yesterday, after the march opposing the demolition of the estate, we occupied residential flats above the ex- council regeneration and planning offices in Chiltern House. Rather than waiting to be evicted from our occupation in the offices, we took the initiative and expanded.

“The Aylesbury will not sit empty, waiting for demolition. We who have need of it, will make use of it. We won’t wait in vain for the council to change their policies. We will take control of housing conditions ourselves.”

They added on social media:

“Loads of beautiful flats occupied today! Come and take one!”

And finally this amazing beautiful banner someone made and brought to the march: