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Southwark tenants join forces for housing campaign

A gathering of Southwark tenants agreed to form an alliance to defend council and social housing.

The meeting at the Elephant & Castle Salvation Army Hall was jointly organised by Aylesbury Tenants First Campaign, Save Peabody Homes Campaign, Southwark Unison and Southwark Defend Council Housing.

"Twelve estates are now in the Save Peabody campaign" said Lois Austin, a Southwark Street resident speaking on behalf of the Peabody campaign. She claimed that the Peabody Trust was planning to sell over a thousand empty homes and let others at market rents.

"There is no limit to how many other flats are going to be sold" she warned. "The Peabody policy and the moves to selling housing associations is a conveyor belt to privatisation."

During her speech Lois Austin pointed to a member of the audience who was number 1289 on the Peabody waiting list. "Meanwhile we have tenants crowded into market rented flats which start at 250 a week."

Piers Corbyn, a former Labour councillor representing the Aylesbury estate's campaign against the Elephant & Castle regeneration proposals, said that he was fighting social cleansing and called for more investment in council housing.

Earlier Bill Mullins, national chair of the Defend Council Housing campaign, anounced plans for a lobby of Paliament in February to highlight the disposal of council houses to new bodies. "If we give up our tenancies we shall not be able to live in central London and nor will our children."

A message of support was sent to tenants of the remaining Church Commissioners' properties in Waterloo who are concerned about recent sales of properties.

• A 'Peabody Trust Not For Sale' campaign meeting is being held by Southwark Street Tenants Association at Bankside House in Sumner Street on Monday 5 December at 7.30pm.

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