Day of Action against Empty Homes: People take to the streets across the country

The Day of Action was a great success with loads of different actions around the country and a live streaming with a range of speakers and direct links to the actions. To see it all go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7mnJK_QCBw

One action took place at Battersea Power Station organised by local residents and supported by the Radical Housing Network. The newly refurbished power station recently opened to the public and has attracted people from all over London have come to have a look. However, it has little to offer most people.

The local community has had no involvement in the development and this shows. The building itself is impressive and the riverside location makes for a nice stroll. However, inside is yet another temple to consumerism, made up largely of up-market shops that will be beyond the reach of most. The luxury housing that has proliferated around within a couple hundred metres of the Power Station may provide the customers. However, as the protesters pointed out, these will be largely bought up by investors who will leave them empty or rent them out as Airbnbs, or sold as second or third homes to the rich of the world. So there may not be many people around to actually use these shops.

This development is yet another example of how London is being turned into a mecca for property developers, investors, the well-off, and tourists. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of people in temporary accommodation in the borough and many others are desperately in need of homes at a council rent. If the development had been community-led, it could have been so different. Instead of expensive shops, imagine locally owned affordable shops, cheap cafes, bookstores, a library, health centre, and social spaces for the community. And, surrounding the Power Station, imagine green spaces, community gardens, council houses, a larger playground and sports facilities. All of this would have greatly improved the well-being of the local community.

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