By Kaye Wiggins
After staging a noisy demonstration outside the building on Wednesday, the groups took to the council chamber to make their case in front of councillors.
Julian Hall, a member of the Lambeth United Housing Co-op and a resident of “shortlife” housing, used a speech to councillors to call for a rethink of plans to sell off the housing, which has been maintained by its residents on a co-operative basis since being left empty by Lambeth council in the 1970s.
His fellow campaigner Chris Blake told the Blog: “I’m here because of the shabby way Lambeth Council has treated Maritza [Tschepp, a long-term “shortlife” tenant who is facing eviction].
“She’s lived in that home for over 33 years. If it wasn’t for her he home wouldn’t be standing. Yet they’re handing it to property developers.
“Lambeth doesn’t have a shortage of property developers but it does have a shortage of housing.”
In response to the campaigners, Labour councillor Pete Robbins said: “It’s uneconomical to bring shortlife housing back into use as social housing.
“All receipts [from the sale of the housing] go into the capital pot of Lambeth council which is invested in schools, libraries, roads and housing.
“We have families with children who are statutorily homeless and they are our priority.”
This month’s Brixton Bugle reported that the council expects to make nearly £27m from the sale of “shortlife” housing, including the Rushcroft Road site where violent scenes erupted last summer as bailiffs and police evicted residents.
Also at the meeting, education campaigner Alex Owolade called on the council to stop the sale of the Lambeth College site on Brixton Hill.
“We’re here to fight to save quality education in Lambeth,” he said.
However, deputy leader of Lambeth Jackie Meldrum said the council had little power to stop the changes.
“Lambeth College is an independent body and the council has no say in the use or sale of the site,” she said.
As campaigners in the public gallery shouted “cop out” and “you do have control, you’re the local council”, Cllr Meldrum suggested the campaigners should “take it up with Michael Gove directly”.