Bailiffs and police arrive to evict Rushcroft Road squatters in Brixton

Written by on July 15, 2013 in Community, Housing, News, Uncategorized - 26 Comments

UPDATE: Video and pictures here

Picture by

Picture by Kim Taylor @Poppydust

Bailiffs and police have closed off Rushcroft Road this morning as they attempt to evict up to 75 squatters from six mansion blocks in Rushcroft Road, Brixton.

Pictures show wheelie bins set alight, and a heavy police presence on Rushcroft Road this morning. Others have gathered in the street to support the residents as they fight the move.

Police outside Oval House, Rushcroft Road. Picture by @Housingforthe99 on Twitter

Police outside Oval House, Rushcroft Road. Picture by @Housingforthe99 on Twitter

Two years ago, the eviction of another Brixton squat, Clifton Mansions in Coldharbour Lane, saw a large-scale policing operation to help bailiffs. Residents expect a similarly heavy handed approach to be taken this time, with local shops around Rushcroft Road being warned to expect disruption.

Resident Jake McCarthy said last week: “I am scared about the possibility of a heavy police eviction. This has been our home for 13 years. I don’t see why the council wont accept our offer to set up a housing co-operative- when we have put in the work to make the flats liveable when they left them to rot – now there’s money coming into the area they want them back.”

One long term resident Emma Hodge said last week:  “All the properties from previous evictions on Rushcroft Road, nearby Clifton Mansions and a large proportion of Brixton’s original short life housing have been sold as private housing, fetching eye-watering prices.”

Fire crews put out bin fires in Rushcroft Road. Picture by

Fire crews put out bin fires in Rushcroft Road. Picture by Kim Taylor @Poppydust

Cllr Pete Robbins, cabinet member for housing and regeneration at Lambeth council, told Brixton Blog last week: ”We are taking this action because it is unfair on the thousands of residents in need of housing in Lambeth that a small minority are unlawfully squatting in six mansion blocks on Rushcroft Road and not paying any rent or council tax.”

The council has held housing advice surgeries for the squatters to “understand their housing need, and provide advice and assistance on how that household can secure accommodation in future.”

About the Author

Tim Dickens is co-founder of Brixton Blog

26 Comments on "Bailiffs and police arrive to evict Rushcroft Road squatters in Brixton"

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  5. Carolyn July 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm ·


    • And July 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm ·

      From looking at the pictures, and your comment, it does look like some anarchists have made the CoOp look pretty bad. That aside, it looks like the vast majority of the Brixton community seem to feel that these houses could have been put to better use (ie, housing families) at some time over the last 20 years. It’s no wonder that, in these tough times, they seem to agree with the council in wanting to sell these properties off in order to raise funds for other council housing and repairs for the more vulnerable people in the wider community.

  6. viola wilkins July 16, 2013 at 3:01 am ·

    “Gentrification” moving the gentry in, like the toffs from Eton Cameron Prime Minister and Johnson Mayor…SW9 is now all au go go for the profiteers and plunderers of real estate. Same “development” happening in cities across the world yet there are estimated 1 billion squatters, homeless eating one meal a day or less…lose your job, get evicted and you may reconsider “squatting” as direct action answer to your own situation.

  7. sw9ld July 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm ·

    Good riddance to the sponging freeloaders. Why should they avoid paying council tax and rent like the rest of us who struggle to get by. About time they faced up to the realities of life. Good on Lambeth for sticking up for what’s just and fair!

    • Ellie August 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm ·

      If the council had worked with the squatters to make a housing co-operative then they would pay rent and council tax, wake up!

  8. David July 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm ·

    It is interesting that Pete Robbins states that the squatters were acting unlawfully when in fact they are acting illegally and the actions of the Police today in common law supporting a civil action were actually unlawful. It is of concern that a legislator does not know the difference between legal and lawful and I sincerely hope these people can action on this common law breach.

    • Sam July 17, 2013 at 2:50 am ·

      David, do you have any suggestion as to how such an action is begun? I would be interested in pursuing such and maybe others would too?

  9. sikes July 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm ·

    At best, Lambeth is shoving it’s housing problem around without really tackling it. The ex-inhabitants of Rushcroft road are now homeless, which lays the responsibility to rehouse with Lambeth council. I cannot possibly imagine, that even the cheapest shelter facility would cost them less, than having them live in the buildings they are now evicted from.

    I understand that 100 odd people lived in the blocks. Seen the fact that there is going to be 22 social housing apartments with 2 ppl each in them, 78 homeless candidates remain,thus 39 are required units for them.

    Once Lambeth has cashed the projected 5 millions, this would then mean that 128.000 can be invested per unit.

    I wonder if Lambeth can actually create decent housing for this money, taking into account that it would have to be newly built and the former/future inhabitants would have to be housed are relatively high costs to the council in the meantime.

    In the best case , this would be done via renting on the private market, paid for by the same council via housing assistance:

    52 weeks x 250 pounds = 13000 pound per year and unit
    for 39 units -> 507.000 pounds a year

    (note that all this is within the new benefit caps, and this would take more than 1 year)

    So even if the process takes only a year, Lambeth would have to build 39 units a 115.000 max on land they need to acquire (because replacing existing council houses does not make the home list any shorter), need extra money is made at all.

    The bottom line: apart form any political consideration, legalizing the inhabitants in rushcroft road would have been by far the cheapest solution!

  10. Jd July 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm ·

    The fires where not set by rushcroft residents but buy others who turned up to cause trouble we use loved and repaired these building untill Lambeth could sell to foxtons

  11. Yuppies Out! July 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm ·

    Foxtons are rubbing their hands together with glee. 3 big blocks of private posh flats up for grabs. One thing for sure, none of the housing will be given to low salary workers.

  12. Gerry July 15, 2013 at 1:34 pm ·

    Well Done Lambeth Council. These freeloaders have had free rent for years. They say they’re at the heart of the community – now we see their true colours – setting bins on fire, making real residents fear for their lives. Let’s hope they can clear the rest of these parasites in double quick time.

  13. James July 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm ·

    Whilst I hope it’s a minority who created these fires – could I possibly suggest to the good people living in these properties that resorting to creating fires in the streets (or supporting such acts) does not help create a good impression and terrifies everyone from innocent children to the elderly who all live within the area.

    Perhaps a better way to gain more support particularly from the rest of the community would be to engage with the community rather than lighting up bins outside their houses!

  14. Peter July 15, 2013 at 11:36 am ·

    These people are not freeloaders. They saved derelict and unwanted buildings and offered to pay rent. This action is sickening.

  15. Mark July 15, 2013 at 11:12 am ·

    Council tax laws??? How do you think the pavements and schools and lamps posts are paid for ?? Of course we need to pay tax, and council tax is no exception. At the root fo this is the desire of freeloaders to live in desirable proiperties for free, pay no taxes to support the infrastructure of the surrounding community they n]benefit from, and the desire to hang on long enough to get the property for free. Well I am afraid that life is not like that. Well I correct myself, for the undeserving spongers off the welfare state it is, but the for truly mis-fortunate who HAVE to rely on the safety net, and for the rest of us who continually strive to work beyond our limits, pay our taxes in order to have a society and those who create our society it is not. Good on the council for standing firm and upholding what a majority still believe in.

    • David July 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm ·

      No Mark – at the root of this is the failure to provide affordable housing because it was all sold off in the 80s. At the root of this is the failure of Lambeth and every other London Borough to prevent properties falling in depapidation and then penalising people who need housing from improving these properties. At the root of this is the rule of law – which the Metropolitan Police, Bailiffs and the Council are running roughshod over, at the root of this is refusal of local authorities to legitimise squats where otherwise they would have degraded beyond use and become a health risk because they do not wish to give housing rights – as as for spongers? perhaps you should consider there are taxpayers in these properties on WORKING tax credits. Perhaps you should consider that most people living in squats would prefer to legitimise them and pay rents. Perhaps you should consider that that Council Tax is so high in Lambeth because of the sheer incompetence of a council that would rather spend a fortune on court cases, illegal policing of a civil dispute and bailiffs charging unlawful fees than create the conditions for earning revenue from residents. Surely thats what the majority still believe in if they have any level of community spirit and social conscience – which you clearly do not.

  16. Celyn July 15, 2013 at 11:10 am ·

    My friends are some of the ones being evicted this morning. I can appreciate that Squatting is not the most desirable way to live, and not ideal…..but the way the council went about this was shocking. A letter a few weeks ago suggesting eviction proceedings would begin from today….NO warrents or eviction notices have been given, and many of the residents, with life long medical conditions, have had virtually no help with being re-housed. There is also strong evidence to suggest that the council do not even own the deeds to all the flats, but just the stairwell’s. These properties are prime, Foxtons style portfolio, and are going to be sold off….so I would not buy the whole ‘We are taking this action because it is unfair on the thousands of residents in need of housing in Lambeth…’
    Residents have been nothing but compliant, maintaining these otherwise rotting buildings. They have even tried to engage with council in offering to pay rent, and set up tennancies. This morning peoples doors were kicked in, as people tired to pack there belongings….I must clarify again…at no point was any documentation presented that stated that peoples homes would be stormed by police today.
    I thought all evictions had to be served with a notice….and even if it’s a police raid, where is the warrent?

    It’s just gross…..and could have been handled, flat by flat over a long period of time, in a civilised manner…but the council are incompetent.

  17. Maritza July 15, 2013 at 10:03 am ·

    Please remind Pete Robbins that the council supported housing co-ops in the 1980’s, Many properties were saved from complete dilapidation by the co-ops. Lambeth council has not maintained or repaired these properties for decades and now they want to cash in.

    Rushcroft Road provided housing for people that would have otherwise been homeless.

    Remind Pete Robbins that Lambeth Council would never accept any ‘rent’ from the co-ops because this would create secure tenancies.

    Evictions are happening all over Lambeth, homes that could be retained for social housing are being lost to property developers. Developers who will taking away peoples’ homes so other people can be wealthier

    For more info plus our petition to stop the ‘short-life’ evictions see

  18. Nelly July 15, 2013 at 9:39 am ·

    Wonders if Pete Robbins can point towards any law that says council tax must be paid by men and women (and not legal fictions/corporations)? Also, given that we know the council is corrupt paying council tax would be agains the law…

    • David July 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm ·

      Bang on the money – what is more concerning is that a legislator probably doesn’t even understand the role of a straw man. It’s interesting that Police were unlawfully actively assisting Bailiffs in breach of their oaths. Everyone needs to learn the difference between legal and lawful and then they can protect themselves from this kind of injustice.

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