Thanks to everyone who came to the Public Meeting at LWP last Sunday and showed their support. Here’s the 10/06 Meeting Minutes [word doc], explaining more about the situation LWP are facing.
Below are some excerpts from the minutes, outlining the Plan of Action, some of the questions and responses that were raised at the meeting, and the things that LWP need right now.
Next meeting is set for Wednesday 13th June, 6:30pm at LWP. More info here.
Plan of Action – what happens next?
- LWP is looking to create a working group to deal with the issues and manage what happens next
- Need to secure space for storage and removal vans
- Have secured the support from a barrister but need a solicitor/case worker with experience of housing law (as described)
- Inventory of belongings required
LWP opened up the Q&A session with the following points:
- Stockwell Primary School have said that if LWP have not left the building before the end of the week (either 14 or 15 June tbc) they will remove all LWP belongings and put them in storage which they will pay for a month.
– LWP are concerned that their belongings will not be treated with respect
– LWP are holding belongings of 11 groups that need to be notified
- LWP explained the ‘grey area’ in legal ownership of the building and the background to the covenant agreement. They have been on site since 1979, before Stockwell Primary School. In return for the refurbishment the school and LWP entered into the covenant agreement.
- LWP reiterated that the situation is not automatically about giving up, but that it is hard for the team to continue at the site due to the exhaustion associated with 13 years of fighting. As such, they want to work through their options which include:
– Continue to protest, work through media, local news etc and negotiate a minimum stay of 3 months in the building to work through the issues and formulate a tenable future plan
– Leave the building and prove their position legally through the courts retrospectively
Question: To remove people from buildings you need a court order. Is this what LWP have received?
Answer: No, LWP has received a letter, not an eviction notice. It’s not an APA but a letter on headed paper.
Question: Did the letter state who would do the eviction?
Answer: No, nor did it state the exact date when it would happen.
Question: Has LWP responded formally to the letter?
Answer: No, not yet. Want to understand legal position first.
Question: Do LWP know who in school has the problem with them?
Answer: No. The letter has come from the Board of Governors and there’s a possible conflict of interest with local councillor Paul McGlone.
Question: As member of Lambeth Save our Services, LWP will not get much help from the council. LWP will have to decide whether or not they want to fight – the school will lock LWP out and so the only way to fight is by changing the lock; the school can’t do anything then without going to court. One LWP is out of the building they will never get back in.
Answer: We agree that if we leave the building we will never get back in, and feel that Lambeth have washed their hands between us and the school.
Question: Has LWP spoken to ASS? As LWP has once had permission to stay in the building they won’t be treated legally as squatters.
Answer: No, haven’t spoken to ASS.
Question: From the wording in the school’s letter, it sounds like they’re playing hardball. These things are negotiable. Could they be approached to negotiate?
Answer: There has been a relationship breakdown and trust has been broken. We’ve had the meetings and shared the space. We need to face the fact that they’re not interested in negotiating.
Question: Have LWP contacted the press?
Answer: Yes, and they’ve been very supportive – South London Press and the Southern Weekender, and things have circulated elsewhere e.g. Twitter, blogs, websites. And the film is very powerful – we need to get that out there. We haven’t stayed silent.
Question: Have you been to the Law Centre in Lambeth?
Answer: No but we have accessed solicitors over the weekend and we’re waiting for their response.
Question: Are there specific things that LWP need?
Answer: Yes, financially LWP would need £800 to cover accounts for two years. Other than that, boxes and stuff to help the move, (possibly) two new locks, and even food for events like these. We also need to do an inventory, a paper list or database, would be helpful, as well as the pot banging demonstrations.
Question: The school needs a legal letter and a proper eviction process. Have you money for a 1hour consultation to get a response? There’s a housing lawyer in Streatham.
Answer: That’s a good idea.
We need to invite everyone along at a set time each evening. Windrush Square is useful but we need to get support within the building – the bulk of the work will need to be in the building to do an inventory and other things. Hopefully everyone (at the meeting) will be able to commit to one or the other e.g. Building or Demonstration, daytime or evening.
- LEGAL: LWP to have 1 hour consultation with Streatham or other Housing solicitor to:
a) Understand the legal authority of the eviction letter
b) Understand a proper eviction process and whether Stockwell Primary School are following that process
c) Formulate a legal response to the school
- FINANCIAL SUPPORT: LWP to add list of financial items that require fundraising onto site (to encourage donations) including:
– Accountancy bills
– Legal fees
– Food/drinks for meetings
– Cost of locks etc
- PHYSICAL SUPPORT: LWP to email meeting attendees asking them what they can offer over the next week, either/and any of the below:
- In building support: Inventories and whatever is decided as next steps to be confirmed after Tuesday’s council meeting
– Raise awareness or offer support in any other ways
- MEDIA: LWP to disseminate link to video through contacts and links, Tweet, blog etc [NB: Could this video be shown at the council meeting on Tuesday?]
- NEXT STEPS: Public meeting on Wednesday 6:30pm to decide longer term actions and allocate tasks