London SE1 website team

Waterloo residents in Lambeth Palace candlelit vigil

More than 100 tenants of the Octavia Hill Estates in Waterloo, Walworth and Vauxhall staged a demonstration outside Lambeth Palace on Wednesday evening.

Demonstrators outside Lambeth Palace

The tenants were joined in their chants of "shame on the Church Commissioners" and "we want a social landlord" by politicians including Kate Hoey MP and local clergy including Canon Richard Truss, vicar of St John's Waterloo.

Campaigners are resisting plans by the Church Commissioners to sell the properties – including 159 homes in Waterloo. If a sale is inevitable, campaigners insist it should be to a social landlord.

"This is greedy behaviour by the Church Commissioners" says Kate Hoey. "We're here to tell the Archbishop of Canterbury that he should be sticking to the values of Octavia Hill."

Lambeth Palace is the Archbishop's London residence. He has no direct control over the Church Commissioners.

The estates in question were managed in the early 20th Century by Octavia Hill, who was instrumental in the provision of affordable housing for poor people. Throughout much of the twentieth century these estates continued to be let at affordable rents, even when rent control was relaxed and open market rents substantially increased.

In November tenants demonstrated outside a meeting of the Church of England's General Synod.

Last year 130 Waterloo homes were sold by the Commissioners.

Kate Hoey giving a television interview. The Church Commissioners are based across the river on Millbank

Speaking last year, a Church Commissioners' spokesman said: "...Church Commissioners have a fiduciary duty to obtain the best terms for the sale of these properties to support our contribution to the wider church. To seek to put the restrictions suggested on the sale would only decrease the price.

"Whilst it will be for new owners to determine their own policies, we have stressed to tenants that the sale is of the freeholds of the properties only. Existing tenancy agreements will remain in place."

Question tabled in the House of Commons by Kate Hoey about a dispute over renovation of properties in Mitre Road, Webber Street and Ufford Street
Waterloo residents' campaign website

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