Public Interest Law Centre

public law | human rights | legal action

30Jan 2023

Gentrification project launch: supporting access to justice in the class-based transformation of urban space

30th January 2023|

For a number of years we have been active in supporting local residents and grassroots campaigns in challenging injustice stemming from gentrification.  This includes opposing the loss of secure council tenancies, challenging undemocratic exercises in estate redevelopment (including inadequate consultations and resident ballots), contesting the loss of community assets such as greenspace and demanding that the Greater London Authority create a Resident Empowerment Fund to level the playing field between residents, local authorities and private developers.

As well as bringing legal challenges based on public and planning law, we have supported residents by offering:

  • legal education on key terminology and the redevelopment process
  • help to draft submissions on planning applications
  • media assistance
  • support with crowdfunding

Our contribution aims to support local residents and campaigns to shift the power balance which is so weighted in the favour of privatisation, infill and demolition.  As community lawyers, we seek to be on the ground with campaigners, offering legal services as one tool or tactic amongst others in a campaign.

We have previously supported campaigns in the Elephant and Castle regeneration in Southwark, the Carpenters Estate in Newham, Juniper Crescent in Camden and the Save Brownswell Green in Barnet. We have called for a London-wide Resident Empowerment Fund.  We are currently supporting residents of the Central Hill estate in Lambeth and a number of other areas.

Now, thanks to funding secured from Tudor Trust and Trust for London we are officially launching a ‘gentrification project’ which hopes to expand on this existing work.    

This project will complement PILC’s  work on homelessness and housing, including legal challenges against deceitful council housing schemes, overcrowded and unsafe temporary accommodation, and harmful practices as well as reports on gatekeeping and publications on solidarity-based approaches.

Find out more information about the gentrification issues we are working on here.

How do we work with communities on these types of cases?  Find out here.

Want to get in touch about gentrification issues you are facing?  Please contact Alexandra Goldenberg and Saskia O’Hara

21Jan 2022

PILC calls on Khan to change estate ballot rules

21st January 2022|

Image: Focus E15

PILC has today written to Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for housing, Tom Copley, on behalf of Focus E15 housing campaign urging the mayor to take action to ensure a ‘level playing field’ in ballots on estate redevelopment

The letter calls on the mayor of London to cap local-authority spending on canvassing aimed specifically at persuading residents to assent to redevelopment proposals, and to make funding available to local residents who wish to run their own (typically anti-demolition) campaigns.

In December 2021 a resident ballot on the Carpenters Estate in East London returned a yes vote in favour of the council’s plans to demolish almost 60% of the estate.  73% of residents voted yes to the council’s proposals for redevelopment, on a 66.5% turnout.

However, Focus E15, which includes residents of the Carpenters Estate, has accused the council of spending large sums of public money to secure victory in the ballot.

According to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Request, Newham and the council’s housing company, Populo Living, spent at least £350,000 on campaigning for a Yes vote, whilst residents had no access to public funds to run a campaign for a No vote.

A full press release can be accessed here.