London is not the only city where low-income families are forced out of homes where they have lived for generations. The gentrification and regeneration plague has spread to Leeds.
Private investment fund Pemberstone is seeking to evict families from homes where they have lived for generations in the Yorkshire city of Leeds.
Pemberstone has issued the estate’s low-income residents on short-hold tenancies with eviction notices. Residents though have not been rehoused – and many are being refused tenancies by private landlords in other parts of Leeds.
The publicly-owned, state-run National Coal Board built the estate on Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close in Oulton, Leeds, in the 1950s – to provide affordable, secure, and long-term housing for coal miners and their families.
Barry and Mavis Abbey (above) have lived and paid rent on the estate since 1970. Barry, who worked at Rothwell coal mine for over 18 years, says: “It makes me so angry that we’ve been done. They’re going to have to throw us out. That’s how I feel.”
The coal mining families’ estate was sold off to private developers in the Thatcher period of the 1980s. Spurts of redevelopment since mean only 70 homes remain of the original estate.
Pemberstone wants to demolish all of these too in order to build new homes that the existing residents – paying around £500 a week in rent currently – will not be able to afford. Pemberstone says refurbishing the homes would be too expensive.
House prices in Leeds have risen dramatically during the past two years – fuelled in part by the sprawl of developer-driven estate ‘regeneration’ from London to other parts of England. Over 30,000 people in Leeds are waiting for council homes, often for over three years.
The story of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close in Leeds shows how a lack of social housing and high rents are allowing gentrification, community-shredding, and the social cleansing of low-income families to expand beyond London.
For more information, and to offer help to the residents’ action group, visit: https://saveourhomesls26.org
And watch a film by Vicky Spratt via: https://dai.ly/x86fyzs
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