Council says it will “delay” evicting Brixton basketball coach Jimmy Rogers

Written by on July 2, 2013 in Community, News - 10 Comments

Jimmy Rogers

Lambeth Council has decided at the last minute to “delay” the planned eviction this week of a Brixton community and Olympics hero from the home he has lived in for three decades.

Jimmy Rogers, the 73 year-old Brixton Topcats basketball coach, was told he may be evicted on Wednesday at 10.50am from the home he has lived in at Shannon Grove since 1981.

However, after the news broke publicly on Twitter late last night, the council has this morning told the Brixton Blog that because they are still in discussions with Jimmy “until it is resolved, it (the eviction) won’t go ahead.”​  The eviction is being ‘delayed’ rather than all out cancelled at this stage.

“We are willing to delay the eviction proceedings to provide some extra time to find a permanent solution”, said a council spokesman.

Jimmy set up Brixton Topcats in 1981. Since then, the club has produced basketball professionals the like of Chicago Bulls All Star and Team GB player Luol Deng, but more importantly Jimmy has provided support and encouragement to scores of young people in south London. Several of the young men he coached went on to play for GB in the London Olympics last year.

Jimmy lives in short life housing, which was offered to people in the 1980s and 1990s on a temporary basis. The council is now following a policy of ridding Lambeth of its short life housing stock and obtained a possession order on Jimmy’s house 14 months ago.

Jimmy told the Brixton Blog last night how angry he is at the threatened eviction and pointed out that in 2005 he was awarded a Civic Award by the same council now trying to kick him out of his home. The award he was given says:  “The council is pleased to confer a borough wide civic award to Jimmy Rogers in recognition of his coaching to Brixton Topcats and over 20 years to community basketball and local young people.”

Kate Hoey MP, who has lobbied hard on Jimmy’s behalf this year, said: “I have known Jimmy all the time I have been an MP (24 years). His treatment by Lambeth is shocking. This is just another of the terrible injustices being done to residents who have lived legally in their homes for many years and who  are now threatened with eviction because of a short sighted policy to sell the properties on the open market. There is a huge shortage of affordable homes in our area – Lambeth should be keeping these properties rather than selling.

“Jimmy has worked for years for  nothing and his work has kept hundreds of young people off the streets. He pioneered young people travelling to the States on basketball scholarships and is admired through the world of basketball. Lambeth owe him some dignity in his older years.”

The spokesperson for the council said: “Over a long period of time Lambeth council staff have been working hard to assist Mr Rogers and find him alternative accommodation. This has included allowing him to purchase the property himself, making him a direct offer of a one bedroom property with a garden, and twice suggesting sheltered housing in Lambeth. He has refused all of these offers, but we are still in discussions with him about his housing needs.”

“We are taking these measures in the interests of the thousands of residents in Lambeth who are in desperate need of housing. We are using the proceeds from the sales of shortlife housing to fund new homes in Lambeth.”

​For our interview with Jimmy last year see here.

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10 Comments on "Council says it will “delay” evicting Brixton basketball coach Jimmy Rogers"

  1. Caroline christian July 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm ·

    Whilst in principal I would like to see Lambeth Council allowing Jimmy to stay for life, would it not be possible for Deng (13 million dollars/annum) to buy him somewhere to live

  2. Jessica July 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm ·

    Is there any way to help? A petition that Lambeth residents can sign?

  3. Com Vox July 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm ·

    Lambeth council’s policy of selling off it’s council housing, thus increasing the waiting list, is so short-term it’s unbelievable. They’re squinting down the wrong end of a telescope.

    Lambeth ‘Shortlife’ Co-ops spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of their own money, raised through rents, on maintaining and improving the properties Lambeth wanted to knock down as slums. We forged stable communities, protected vulnerable residents and looked after many historically significant buildings that the council washed their hands of.

    Now, due in no small part to the fraud and corruption that has been (and still is?) endemic in Lambeth council, some of the longest residents in the borough are being thrown out of the cheapest council housing that any council will ever have – they’ve not paid a penny towards upkeep for over three decades, we’ve been doing it ourselves. We’ve all been on the waiting list since the early 1980s, living in homes that most people on the waiting list would not take on in a million years.

    We want to expand on this, Lambeth United Housing Co-op have proposed taking on more properties from the council, train up more people in building and admin skills, then we can deal with Lambeth’s voids and ‘recycle’ them back into homes that are suitable for people on the more mainstream waiting list. We can do this without costing the council anything, apart from a little embarrassment.

    The biggest concession we’ve ever had from Lambeth is their permission to live in the houses that they themselves classed as slums. Our homes are no longer slum dwellings because we’ve been refurbing and maintaining them.

    We don’t want to own the houses, we want to continue living in them, as part of our local communities, as social housing tenants. We don’t even want Lambeth to step in and repair anything, we just want to be recognised as constructive, socially minded residents who have some invaluable skills, reasonable opinions and who deserve a voice and to stay in their homes.

    Unfortunately, Lambeth council, not content with wasting money on re-jigging roundabouts and planting olive trees, wants us thrown out, sell to developers, and then get the money freed up for more vanity projects, so beloved of some councilors.

  4. Julian Hall July 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm ·

    Please be advised that the council must produce documentary evidence that this eviction is cancelled, as the recent case of Andy Carstairs will attest to the fact the the council have not honoured their word on postponing evictions before – either through intent or incompetence.

    As for what happens next, readers must lobby Lambeth Council on behalf of all the people who may yet find themselves in this position otherwise their destructive policy will not be changed.

    • zoe July 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm ·

      Thanks Julian – Jimmy has this evidence and it has been cancelled with Devonshires today. Zoe

Trackbacks for this post

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