‘Occupy’ Squatters Cost Rate Payers £140,000 in Security for Flats

Southwark Wooden Wall 2

Southwark council has been forced to erect a wooden wall around a housing estate after a concerted campaign by a protest movement to prevent the area being redeveloped.

Efforts to improve the area by demolishing the pre-fabricated concrete late 1960’s Aylesbury estate have been repeatedly set back by the efforts of local protest groups, employing occupy, squat, and vandalism tactics to prevent the project moving forward. One such group, which identifies itself on twitter as ‘Southwark Notes’, and claims to oppose “the regeneration & gentrification of North Southwark that’s happened over the last 20 years” has posted photographs of the efforts the local council has gone to, and their own attempts to circumvent them.

The Evening Standard reports the 2.4-metre high ‘vanguard anti-climb’ fitted fence cost £200 a meter to install, with gates manned by private security contractors provided by the Labour-run Southwark council. Despite the scale of the project, the protest group soon found a way around – as the fence was hard up against the estate buildings in places, they were left free to climb onto a balcony to continue protesting.

Despite the insistence of the protest group that the movement is driven by residents, Southwark council insists the new security measures were installed at the behest of the few remaining residents. Of the 560 flats in the blocks due for demolition, only 18 remain inhabited by legitimate residents.

The buildings are to be brought down as part of a £1.5 billion project which will nearly double the number of homes on the site in the high-demand area.