Eviction of disabled man to make way for new homes was 'social cleansing', say protesters

Mostafa Aliverdipour had lost a High Court attempt to be allowed at least three days' notice of eviction

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The Independent Online

A disabled father was woken by the sound of shattering glass as bailiffs broke in to evict him to make way for a new housing development in what protesters have branded an example of “social cleansing”.

Mostafa Aliverdipour, 49, said he was surrounded by burly bailiffs, lifted into his wheelchair and put outside his home in the north London borough of Barnet.

Mr Aliverdipour, a father of four on disability living allowance, had been the last remaining tenant on the Sweets Way estate. About 140 families had already left to make way for a 288-home development planned by Annington, owned by Terra Firma, a private equity firm.

A day earlier Mr Aliverdipour had lost a High Court attempt to be allowed at least three days’ notice of eviction. He told The Independent then that he was “more nervous than words can say” about what might happen to him. “The poor are being made to move out,” he added, “so the rich can move in.”

Speaking from the street after his eviction Mr Aliverdipour, a former healthcare assistant, said: “I don’t know where I will go now. Maybe I will sleep in my car tonight.”

He was evicted as enforcement officers removed about 70 protesters who had squatted in the empty properties once the tenants had left. The protesters accused Annington of “social cleansing”.

Annington argues it could have kept the estate empty after the Ministry of Defence ceased using it for married armed forces personnel in 2009, but allowed social tenants to move in for six years “to help solve the housing shortage”. The firm said it gave tenants far longer than the six-month notice required, and that the development will offer 59 “affordable homes”.

Notting Hill Housing, the housing association which acted as the managing agent for many tenants including Mr Aliverdipour, said: “We had been [telling] residents for many months about our lease coming to an end and the need to hand all the properties back to the owners.”