A disabled man sat in his barricaded home last night and told of his despair at losing a High Court case, which means he can now be evicted without notice from his north London home to make way for a redevelopment dubbed as “social cleansing” by protesters.
Mostafa Aliverdipour, 49, who walks with a stick and occasionally uses a wheelchair, said he was “upset, angry and more nervous than words can say” about his imminent eviction from the Sweets Way estate in Whetstone, Barnet, the site of a long protest by activists to prevent its redevelopment, and a cause celebre of the comedian Russell Brand. He is the last of 140 private and social housing tenants who are being moved out.
Mr Aliverdipour said: “The poor are being made to move out so the rich can move in. It’s not human.”
Sweets Way was a scene of disorder yesterday as High Court Enforcement officers, backed by police, removed dozens of squatters.
Footage filmed yesterday afternoon showed protesters standing on roofs being removed with cherry pickers. A video on social media showed one being carried away by six High Court Enforcement officers. As the evictions took place Mr Aliverdipour lost his case in the High Court that means he has no right to notice of eviction. Later as he spoke to The Independent protesters manned barricades of furniture, chipboard and shopping trolleys outside.
Conflict between the protesters and bailiffs acting on behalf of Annington Property Ltd seemed inevitable, and Mr Aliverdipour’s son Ash, 23, said last night: “We are ready to do whatever we have to to resist this eviction.”
Samir Dathi, 37, one of those on the barricade, said: “When you evict an entire housing estate, it’s social cleansing: what else can you call it?” The battle for Sweets Way began in July last year, when residents were told they would have to move because Annington had permission to build 288 homes.
As they vacated their homes this year, activists moved to protest. They claimed that with Barnet Council defining “affordable” as up to 80 per cent of market rents, the 59 “affordable” units would be beyond the reach of most, including many of those who lived there. Mr Aliverdipour, who has a damaged spine caused by lifting patients as a healthcare assistant and a car crash, was given a home on the estate by Barnet Council last November.
This was supposed to be temporary but, he claims: “Barnet have not offered me anything appropriate. They have offered me a three-floor home which would be inaccessible for me.”
Mr Aliverdipour, who receives disability living allowance and lives with his daughter Atena, five, and sons Ash, 23 and Hoss, 21, said: “I don’t know where I can go after this. I am very nervous.”
Annington has argued that it could have kept the estate empty after the MoD ceased using it to house Armed Forces personnel. Instead, it claims, it allowed the estate to be used by social housing tenants for the six years before it began redevelopment “to help solve the housing shortage”.
It says that after winning planning permission for the new development, it gave tenants far longer than the six-month notice required by law, and claims it cannot be held responsible for how “affordable housing” is defined.Reuse content