About Us
Back Issues
The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action

Worth the HASSL?


21&23 Park Street, aka “Britain's most expensive council house” has been occupied in protest at Southwark council’s attempted sell off. The occupation, which began on the 28th of October, is still going strong, and the occupiers are keen for people to check it out.


Although squatters got their foot in the door first the buildings were auctioned off that afternoon for a whopping £3 million. The council claim that they can build twenty houses with the loot from the sale. The problem is- nobody believes them. There's a good chance that they won't build anything at all, and if anything does get built, it won't be in central London. The sale is part of a clear strategy to push the poor out of the city centre to make way for the international billions heading to London to take advantage of UK Plc's tax haven status.


Since 2010 Southwark council have either demolished or sold off 857 homes. During the same period they've managed to build a staggering 26!Sarah Morris, a local housing campaigner involved in the occupation said: 

“We have occupied this building to stop yet more council housing being sold off to private developers. Southwark council has a waiting list with 25,000 people in need of quality, secure, and truly affordable housing that this building once was. In the face of such housing need in the borough, London, and the whole of the UK this sale of council housing is madness. The attempted sale of this building is a part of the social cleansing that is happening across London where local working class residents are being forced out so that wealthier people can buy it up. We hope that by taking direct action, we can stop the sale of these homes so that they remain a public good rather than another empty building owned by a property speculator”. 


The occupation is a multi-pronged affair – a successful collaboration between housing activists, squatters and concerned locals. One told SchNEWS “It's great, people working together, skillsharing and building a network.”


As well as highlighting the lack of accommodation in London for those on normal incomes the occupation is a challenge to anti-squatting laws, particularly section 114 of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act aka Weatherley's law that made it a criminal offence to squat in residential premises If you're gonna get technical this is an occupation of a residential building in protest of housing policy not a squat. Potentially this creates a loophole for the occupation of residential buildings.


Remarkably the Met were persuaded by this argument (and a certain amount of international media interest!) When the police turned up they were persuaded that there was nothing criminal going on- people there were occupying the house as part of a political protest, they weren't planning to live there.


Police briefly flirted with the idea of nicking people for aggravated trespass, but the occupiers were quick to point out the many holes in the police's argument. Oddly enough the police thanked them for educating them on this point of law.

The next step is for Southwark council to have to argue their position in court.


The occupiers are requesting visits and donations of food.


Map - large building with “Take Courage” emblazoned on it.





Stories about similar subjects...

SchNews was at Brighton Magistrates today to witness Hove MP Mike Weatherley's positively below par day in court.

A group of squatters who had reopened the axed Friern Barnet library last year, decided to expand into the pub industry in 2013 by occupying The Bohemia Pub in North Finchley. Papers have been served...

SchNews was at Brighton Magistrates today to witness Hove MP Mike Weatherley's positively below par day in court.

It's media archaeology vs membership of Parliament in tommorrow's hotly anticipated clash at Brighton Magistrates.

Crowbars to the ready as the last of the three Brighton squatters arrested within days of Weatherleys Law being enacted was acquitted today at Hove Crown Court.

Update from Balcombe as the end of the drilling approaches.

Marches, blockades, arrested MPs and one helluva lot of cops...The campaign against the Balcombe fracketeers stepped up this weekend with the arrival of Reclaim the Power.

Twitter: @SchNEWS