FANDOM


Template:POV

File:StAgnesPl.squats.JPG

St Agnes Place was a squatted street in Kennington, South London, which resisted eviction orders for more than 30 years.

History Edit

File:StAgnesPlaceminushouses.jpg

On 1 June 1969 house number 54 was the first to be squatted. The council had acquired the unit and planned to demolish it for the extension to Kennington Park. The derelict buildings were completely rebuilt by the squatters. An attempt to evict it in 1977 was successfully resisted on the rooftops, although many buildings were demolished and most were badly damaged but were rebuilt again by the residents. The residents of St Agnes paid all utility bills and for several years were run by a housing cooperative. One resident of St.Agnes, on Lambeth's housing list for eighteen years, forced to squat with children was never offered housing by the council.Template:Fact There were many families there and it was only in the last few years that the population consisted of a larger number of young homeless people. In November 2005, Lambeth Council finally obtained a High Court of Justice order to evict the residents of 21 properties. This mass eviction was completed on 30 November 2005.

Bob Marley stayed there on several occasions in the 1970s; St Agnes Place had a Rastafari community and had a Rastafari temple along with other related social centres.

There were several community projects at St Agnes Place:

St Agnes Place was responsible for producing music and also broadcasting Wireless FM[2] and pirate radio station Rasta FM, which was raided by Ofcom in October 2005[3].

One resident said: "It's evolved into a unique community in London. You can walk in and out of people's houses here. It's a safe street. There's no mugging here. I think there is a lot of things society as a whole could learn from the way we live here."[4].

Eviction Edit

Lambeth Council managed to get a possession order in 2003, the squatters failed in their argument for adverse possession, and some were threatened with 30 years of Council Tax bills.

There were a few dates given to the squatters in the summer of 2003 for them to leave when bailiffs would be arriving. Many of the residents moved out and a number of protesters associated with anti-capitalist, environmentalist and travellers movements moved in. Barricades were built and the bailiffs came and left making no attempt to evict anyone.

Nothing more happened regarding the eviction until Autumn 2005 when firstly, the council obtained a demolition order for the street. Secondly, a new court order was issued by the council: The possession orders obtained in 2003 were still valid but the warrants to execute the court order had expired. This new court case was to firstly issue fresh warrants and secondly to have the execution of these warrants handled by the High Court rather than the County Court. This meant that they could use riot police instead of a handful of bailiffs.

A massive eviction happened on Tuesday, 30 November, 2005 by two hundred bailiffs and police wearing riot gear. There was not much resistance and most people just wanted to avoid any confrontation but wanted to be thrown out rather than leave as a matter of principle. The street was swept and tidied by residents prior to the arrival of the police and banners put up criticising the council, particularly Liberal Democrat councillor Keith Fitchett who described the residents as "parasites".[5]

File:Rasta temple remains stagnesplace July 07.jpg

However, one of the squats on the far end of the street remained in place for another year and a half - separated by a large gap from the other houses in the street, the Rastafari temple, said to have been visited by Bob Marley in the late 70s and a place of genuine religious significance for Rastafari. The council expressed the intention of coming to some sort of agreement with the occupiers vis a vis rent/housing benefit. On the 12 April, 2007, police raided it because it was allegedly being used to sell cannabis and crack cocaine. Moves were being made to evict them by the council anyway and some of the temple elders apparently told the police about the drug dealing and gangsters because they felt that the temple had been overrun.[6][7] After the raid three people were charged with possession with the intent to supply a Class C drug.[8][9]. Nobody was charged with possession of crack cocaine, and cannabis has religious significance for Rastafari. Lambeth Council have stated their intention of helping the temple elders find new premises to rent. By July 2007 the site had been demolished.

As for the evicted of 2005, there was no attempt by the council to rehouse them - the explanation being that if they are eligible for rehousing they can apply just like everyone else, ie. no special favours. A pack of leaflets were delivered to each house giving variety of advice with housing.

Future development Edit

Work on demolishing the houses in the street began immediately after the eviction - ten-foot high fencing and 24 hour security made sure the houses were not resquatted before they got the chance to demolish. Demolition was completed by early 2006.

The council have suggested that the land be used for housing, a percentage of which would be social/affordable housing but there is nothing committing them to this.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Forced out - one mans story
  2. Wireless FM
  3. Ofcom tackles illegal broadcasting
  4. [1]
  5. Bye Bye Fitchett
  6. Anger amid Rastafarian temple raid
  7. Rasta temple was 'not crack den'
  8. Three in court after temple raid
  9. Meeting to challenge malicious police raid of Rasta Temple

External links Edit

Template:Infoshops

Template:Coord missingsr:Seint Agnes Plejs sh:St. Agnes Place

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.