For the UCL student-led campaign to save Carpenters estate see: http://ucl4carpenters.tumblr.com/
While British leaders mouth enthusiasm for democracy overseas, property and land use in the UK shows a distinctly undemocratic trend. The Carpenters Estate, on the edge of the Olympic Park in east London, is the subject of a battle between local residents and Newham Council, which plans to demolish the estate where hundreds of residents still live. Newham, which is in discussions with University College London, hopes to replace the estate with a new campus for UCL. [Continued on FT]
Dear Mr Mayor,
Residents of CARPenters Estate are extremely disappointed that you have broken your promise (thrice) to come and see us on the Carpenters Estate. What was even more frustrating, was queuing for hours outside Stratford Old Town Hall on the 12th December.
In the freezing cold, and not being allowed to ask you important questions about saving our homes. We were only allowed to ask one
question, which was to ask what you intended to do about helping us to save our homes? You said that this was something that we would have to take up with Robin Wales (Newham Mayor).
Why are you trying to do a Pontius Pilot on us, it’s Christmas not Easter. From October, your LLDC/MDC had taken over responsibility for Planning and regenerating the Carpenters Estate.
As you have said in the past that you are opposed to the type of ’Kosovo style’
social cleansing happening in London. Here is a golden
opportunity for you to prove that you’re not just full of hot air, and actually use your influence on your MDC to save us from losing our
homes. We have attached with this email several questions we’d like you to answer, please don’t wash your hands of us, like Robin Wales, UCL and the IOC.
We are the forgotten people of the Olympic Legacy.
On behalf of CARPenters residents
From UCLU Save Carpenters, who have been occupying Wilkins Garden Room since the Protest last evening:
Eviction is a necessarily a violent process, and as such, UCL is about to violently possess the homes of hundreds of people; an issue intimately bound to University funding and tuition fees. UCL students reject this behaviour as undemocratic and unacceptable and in response, have chosen to #Occupy.
WE CALL UPON ALL STUDENTS TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE RESIDENTS AND JOIN US IN #SOLIDARITY IN THE WILKINS GARDEN ROOM, 1PM, THURSDAY. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
“Protest is saying ‘I disagree’,
Resistance is saying ‘I will not let this happen’”
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
2:30pm until 4:15pm
On the 25th of October, Newham Council accepted UCL’s £1 billion proposal to build a new campus in Stratford.
This would mean demolishing Carpenters Estate, displacing hundreds of people and radically changing the area and forcing out those that live in the area through rent hikes. In short, gentrification.
Students, lecturers and residents are uniting to stop ‘the Stratford Disaster’ from going ahead. The decision makers on this are UCL Council. Come and let them know that evictions and gentrification should not be a part of our universities!
Bring noise, banners, placard, megaphones and all the things that make management shudder.
Then afterwards, at 6pm, come to the 3Cosas demo in support of the University of London cleaners:
http://www.facebook.com/3coca Princess Anne’s meant to be visiting – she cancelled last year because of the cleaners’ campaign, let’s make sure to embarrass management again this time!
Below is the text I have sent in an e-mail (20 November 2012) to the UCL Urban Laboratory Steering Committee regarding comments made by certain UCL managers and members of Newham Council in meetings discussing UCL Stratford. Please read and share this post, especially with other UCL academics and colleagues.
Ethics, Environment and Operations Officer.
I am writing to the UCL Urban Laboratory Steering Committee after a series of meetings that I have attended as an elected student representative where UCL Stratford has either been discussed or has been the main purpose of meeting. I am greatly concerned with the way that certain UCL managers and members of Newham Council have spoken about UCL academics, and I wish to raise this with all academics at UCL as well as the wider UCL community as soon as possible. Below is my account of comments made at two meetings this term.
On the 16th of October, during a discussion after a presentation to Finance Committee on UCL Stratford, Head of UCL Estates Andrew Grainger responded to a question about including UCL academics that have expertise in areas relevant to the expansion project. In his response he stated that he wished not to be critical of academics and that great research was being done, but that there is a difference between “academic expertise and practical [application]”.
On the 19th of November several UCLU officers met with the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales; the Director of Strategic Regeneration, Planning, & Olympic Legacy, Jo Negrini; Douglas Trainer of Serco; and UCL VP Operations, Rex Knight to discuss our concerns about UCL Stratford. I will be putting a full report online within the next week, but I would like to raise a few comments with you now that were made in response to my point in the meeting about the serious lack of academic involvement in the UCL Stratford plans thus far. I will refrain from giving my opinion here on each of the comments I have detailed below, but I do give my general opinion afterward on the spirit of the comments in the context of the meeting and what they mean as a response to the specific question I posed.
The first response was from Jo Negrini, who stated that she previously worked on regeneration in Brixton, which had opposition from the many Bartlett academics that were “lambasting Lambeth Council and [Jo]”, who have since “eaten their words” due to the success in the area as it has been recently awarded ‘Best Neighbourhood’. She also stated that she would be happy to work with academics, but wants to know what the solution is for the area.
Following Jo was Rex Knight, who stated that academics in general have a range of views and that it is part of academic life to debate, and while there are a group of UCL academics that believe that community-led regeneration is the only good regeneration, that it’s not the view of the whole of the Bartlett. He also pointed out that the statement put out by the Urban Lab is not representative of the whole of the Bartlett.
Robin Wales spoke next, stating that “sometimes academics are full of shit” and that “a lot of regeneration is nonsense talk”.
Beyond Jo mentioning that she was happy to work with UCL academics, there was no reassurance that UCL academics, be it those that have expertise in directly relevant subjects or those that do not, would be invited to become significantly more involved than they have been. It is my opinion and hope that UCL managers and members of Newham Council reach out to and actively involve the wider academic community at UCL and not dismiss it.
I believe it is important for academics to know what other members of the UCL community and other involved parties say of them. I am hoping that, in light of these comments, there will be some action taken across the academic community not only regarding their involvement in the UCL Stratford project, but also to demand respect for their research and positions as part of the university. What is a university without its academics and students?
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments regarding this message. I hope to hear from you.
Ethics, Environment & Operations Officer
University College London Union
“On the 31st of October, UCLU held an open meeting, ‘UCL Stratford: Bulldozing a Community?’ (click for minutes & more) with Carpenters residents, UCL academics, students and others to discuss the current proposals and to question whether this is how a university should act. One result of this meeting has been to start a public campaign to fight in solidarity with the residents against UCL’s current plans and to ensure that their demands are met. To get involved with the campaign, share ideas or to ask questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and see below for upcoming events and meetings and for more background information. Please also look at UCLU’s policy passed in March 2012 regarding the new campus and the Carpenters Estate.” (Source: http://uclu.org/stratford)
Here are some videos from the meeting held at UCL.
Click here for more videos from the event.