Sweets Way: Families turfed out in "appalling" evictions to make way for luxury flats

Long-term temporary tenant families have been forced into homelessness this week from homes on an old MOD-owned estate on Sweets Way, Totteridge to make way for luxury flats.

The families were placed on the Notting Hill Housing managed site by Barnet Council but have not been found homes to go to and many are being forced to present themselves as homeless this week at Barnet Homes’ offices.

Labour Underhill councillor and parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet, Amy Trevethan has visited the site today and contacted Barnet Homes to establish what residents at urgent risk of eviction and homelessness from the site should do.

Barnet Homes have said all those affected in need of re-housing should contact their Housing Options Team on 020 8359 4749.

Labour Underhill councillor and Chipping Barnet parliamentary candidate Amy Trevethan said: "These evictions are an appalling way to treat people and it's vital that anyone who's been kicked out is able to access the housing help they need.  

 “I've taken this up with Barnet Homes who have advised that anyone affected contacts them immediately to try to secure accommodation, and I will do all I can to help families and individuals trying to find a roof over their head.

“Clearly in agreeing developments the council need to ensure that they are dealing with proper partners who are able to manage the process of decanting residents who have been placed there on long-term temporary tenancies.

“The cost of rehousing these families will now fall on the council, and the flawed strategy of relying on being able to rehouse people in the private rented sector is failing as available private properties has dried up.

"These awful events are part of a broader picture in Barnet of the interests of developers coming before the housing needs of the local community. The developer in Sweets Way, Annington Property Ltd, was awarded planning permission for an application with a promise of only 10% social rent properties on a development of nearly 300 units in a prime area of Whetstone.

“The original application contained no offer of affordable housing and was rejected, and in the second application the developer insisted that more than 20% affordable housing would not be viable, which would seem difficult to believe considering that 80% of the new units will be at market prices.

"Instead of trying to secure like-for-like quotas of affordable housing on sites that are being redeveloped, Barnet's Tory administration consistently seems content to settle for minimum offers of affordable housing based on secret viability reports, and in some cases is then acquiescent when the developer asks to reduce the affordable housing numbers after securing planning permission.

"The result would appear to be social engineering across the Borough - of tenants without secure tenancies being shipped out of Barnet to make way for luxury developments. Some of these families will have lived in Barnet for more than a decade, and have built up connections with the local community, perhaps use local schools and work locally - or care for vulnerable relatives and friends locally. But their presence in Barnet is clearly worth nothing to the Tories, who don't drive a hard enough bargain with housing developers and shrug their shoulders as local people are forced out of their homes.

"Labour Councillors are seeking urgent legal representation for tenants affected by these mass evictions."

Notes to editors:

Further details of the Sweets Way development can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s19944/Land%20between%20Sweets%20Way%20and%20Oakleigh%20Road%20North%20London%20N20%20-%20B0430914.pdf

To contact Cllr Amy Trevethan: 07710383887 / cllr.a.trevethan@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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