Residents of Carlton Mansions Housing Cooperative have received an eviction notice despite believing they were to have a ‘civilised handover’ with the council.
The notice of eviction was received in late August and set the date for this Tuesday, September 30 at 9.50am. One current resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “Sending in the bailiffs is counterproductive as we have been cooperating with a handover to the Somerleyton Rd project. The aim being a civilised handover.”
Some residents have already left the Housing Cooperative this year after the stress of court actions by the council and some, though not all, have been rehoused by the council. Those in the process of moving have made sure that the Mansions has been kept secure while the building is being emptied.
The resident talking to the Brixton Blog said: “We gave access to the Council for a building condition survey a few weeks ago despite receiving the warrant. The Coop has no wish to hold up the Somerleyton Road project.” Residents had hoped they would be able to hand over the building in a considered way, helping it to become a temporary arts space in Brixton before it is most likely put to use as a cultural centre in the new Somerleyton redevelopment.
Many now fear that the building will be vandalised and deteriorate dramatically with no-one to look after it in their absence. “I do not want to see the Mansions trashed by the council or anyone else”, said one. “The Cooperative has kept the Mansions going for the past 30 years.”
Lambeth cabinet member for housing, Councillor Matthew Bennett, said: “Carlton Mansions is a serious fire risk for anyone living there, and that is why a court settlement was reached earlier this year giving Lambeth Council legal possession of the building.
“The council made it a priority to find alternative homes for those occupants eligible for rehousing and we have been in constant communication with Carlton Mansions residents over many months.
“We have already been able to offer six of them somewhere else to live…
“Carlton Mansions is a key element of the Somerleyton Road regeneration, which will bring hundreds of affordable homes, new work space and a theatre to the centre of Brixton…
“However, the building will need to be made safe before it can be used for this purpose. We have therefore commissioned a further building condition survey and a fire risk assessment, which will help us decide how we can use Carlton Mansions in the interests of the entire community in the future.”