Regentrification: Liverpool resident halts Pathfinder programme

Mark mark at
Wed Sep 27 16:38:00 BST 2006

Liverpool resident halts Pathfinder programme
by Keith Parkins

In successfully challenging a Compulsory Purchase Order on her home a
Liverpool resident may have dealt a fatal blow to the hated New Labour
Pathfinder programme.

'This is a pyrrhic victory for me. It is bittersweet because much of my
community has already been destroyed as a result of this initiative.' --
Elizabeth Pascoe

Pathfinder is a New Labour/John Prescott pet project. In Liverpool and
across the north of England, tens of thousands of homes are being
destroyed in the name of urban regeneration.

In Liverpool, swathes of Victorian housing is being destroyed. It would
cost far less to renovate the existing housing, than new build, and would
provide better quality housing, but what it would not provide is
development opportunities for developers. And that is what Pathfinder is
all about, development opportunities for developers and helping housing
associations to rapidly expand.

In Liverpool, home owners are being offered paltry sums for their homes.
If they refuse, they are served Compulsory Purchase Orders and their homes
seized. If they play ball, they are offered a housing association home as
they are no longer in a position to get back on the property ladder.
Private tenants are being dumped on sink estates, if they refuse what they
are offered, they are deemed homeless.

Local Labour MP Jane Kennedy described the plan as "social cleansing" at
the public inquiry that approved the plans.

Elisabeth Pascoe has today won a victory in the High Court in London. She
challenged the Compulsory Purchase of her home, claiming that it violated
her Human Rights. The Judge found in her favour. Elisabeth Pascoe has
described her victory as 'bitter sweet' as many of her neighbours have
already been forced out of their homes.

Community activists have voiced concern at the involvement of criminal
families. A nod and a wink, at best a blind eye, is turned to their
activities. Criminal families are moved in to soften up the community,
their relatives sit on the boards of pro-Pathfinder agencies. No
structures are in place to address these issues.

In being prepared to not only speak out, but mount a legal challenge,
Elisabeth Pascoe has shown herself to be a very brave lady. Her house has
been broken into in the early hours of the morning, for her to be held at
knife point, her car has been repeatedly trashed, a video of her car being
trashed by local criminals was conveniently 'lost' by the local police
(the local police receive funding from pro-Pathfinder agencies). Stress
forced Elisabeth Pascoe to give up her Doctoral studies.

Local campaigner and documentary filmmaker Mike Lane who has fought hard
against Pathfinder and the corrupt local council has received death
threats, had his car fire-bombed and been forced to move house for fear of
his life.

Pathfinder is part of a wider trend of forcing council tenants into the
private sector through the sale of their homes to housing associations and
for existing housing associations through mergers and acquisitions to form
ever larger unaccountable property conglomerates.

In the south of England, Aldershot-based Pavilion a failing housing
association, was forced to merge with Eastleigh-based Atlantic to form
First Wessex Group. For a brief honeymoon period matters at Pavilion
improved, tenants were treated as decent human beings, repairs were
carried out, but matters are now as bad if not worse than they were. First
Wessex is now trying to takeover Portsmouth Housing Association.

Peter Sandy, a local Aldershot councillor, has been put before the
Standards Board for England on trumped up charges because he dared to
challenge what was going on.

This evening, a meeting between Pavilion tenants and local residents and
First Wessex senior management had to be canceled at extremely short
notice when it was learnt that senior management from First Wessex would
not be attending. They has been instructed not to attend by John Edwards,
a senior official at Rushmoor Borough Council.

Stop Press: The Law Commission are proposing a radical change in the law
covering property rights on renting homes. They are wishing to turn the
entire sector, including social housing, into a commodity market, making
it easier for tenants to move home.

Stop Press: London Social Forum are holding a meeting called the Divided
City to discuss housing and land rights issues. It will take place at
Limehouse Town Hall in East London midday to around 6pm Sunday 1 October
2006. Nearest station Limehouse on the Docklands Light Railway.



A clean-sheet new start for renting homes, press release, Law Commission,
5 May 2006

Divided City Open Forum on speculation, housing - Sun 1st Oct, London,
Indymedia UK, 22 September 2006

Grandmother wins home demolition battle, Liverpool Echo, 27 September 2006

High Court bid to stop demolition, BBC news on-line, 24 July 2006

Homes demolition plan challenged, BBC news on-line, 24 March 2006

Mike Lane, The Regeneration Game, 2006 {DVD}

Keith Parkins, pathfinder schemes, Indymedia UK, 14 February 2005

Keith Parkins, Pathfinder schemes – a path to corruption?, Indymedia UK,
14 March 2005

Keith Parkins, First Wessex plan takeover of Portsmouth housing, Indymedia
UK, 12 September 2006

Woman wins homes demolition fight, BBC news on-line, 27 September 2006

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