Families dragged from ex-MoD Barnet council temporary estate

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Feb 11 20:43:38 GMT 2015

Neighbours claim people were 'dragged' from homes during eviction

Childrens toys have been left abandoned
  by Anna Slater , Chief Reporter  Updated on 
3:19pm Wednesday 11th February 2015 in News

Neighbours claim people were “dragged screaming” 
from their houses during an eviction.
People living in Sweets Way, Whetstone, were 
served with notices to leave their homes last 
October – but many have been unable to find alternative housing.
The former Army estate is owned by Annington, a 
private owner of many former Ministry of Defence 
homes, but is leased to the Notting Hill Housing 
Trust and has been earmarked for redevelopment.
After the evictions, which took place yesterday 
and this morning, the once-busy street is now eerily quiet.
Furniture, children’s toys, fridges, freezers and 
other household appliances have been abandoned in 
front of the boarded-up homes.
Although claims circulating on social media said 
children had been taken into care as a result of 
the evictions, Barnet Borough Council say this is “categorically not true”.
The authority has also said it is “desperately” 
trying to rehouse some 80 people who lived on the estate.
One woman, who has a 14-year-old daughter and a 
four-year-old son with additional needs, has been 
forced to move out of the borough for the first time in her life.
She has never claimed benefits in her life, 
Barnet Borough Council said it was unable to help 
her as she earns above the threshold at which she can claim benefits.
She said: “It’s been a real, traumatic 
experience. I couldn’t find anywhere to live in 
my price range and so I was panicking. I am lucky 
I found somewhere in the end – others are still searching.
“Yesterday, we saw furniture out on lawns and 
people getting ready to leave but some had 
nowhere to go. It’s just horrible because people are being made homeless.”
There was a delay in evicting people from the 
site as Barnet Borough Council initially refused 
to give Annington planning permission to build new homes.
Those who agreed to leave by October 31 were 
offered £1,000 in compensation – less than the average rent.
Another woman said: “People were dragged from 
their houses and there was a lot of screaming. It 
was simply horrible. I don’t know how they are able to get away with this.”
A statement from Barnet Borough Council 
said:  “No child has been taken into care because 
of housing issues at Sweets Way. Indeed, law 
forbids children being taken into care for homelessness alone.
"This is obviously not an issue of our making, 
however Barnet Homes housing allocations team are 
working around the clock to find these residents homes.
“So far they have found around 40 families new 
homes and are looking for other homes for other 
families facing imminent eviction.
“The fact that these are family homes means 
finding new accommodation is particularly difficult.”
Amarjit Bains, director of Notting Hill Housing 
home options, said: “We lease the houses on this 
former MoD site to provide temporary housing, on 
behalf of the council, for local people.
"It was always the intention to hand these 
properties back once the lease expired in order 
for the land to be redeveloped. This scheme was 
arranged to meet a local housing need albeit 
temporarily for a few years. Our staff have been 
speaking with tenants about it for almost 18 months.
"Our staff who were present have confirmed that 
nobody was forcibly removed from their home or separated from their families.”

Childrens toys have been left abandoned
Childrens toys have been left abandoned
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