Petition Calls For Mayor To Stop Wimbledon Evictions

Key workers among those being evicted

A petition is calling on the Mayor of London to step in and stop the eviction of residents who live in homes in Wimbledon and Raynes Park that the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime are selling off.

The petition, which has 1,700 signatures, calls on the Mayor of London to stop the eviction of residents of 37 affordable homes in Griffiths Road, South Wimbledon, and Raynesfield in Raynes Park.

The evictions from the police-owned properties started this week and are due to be completed by November 4. A number of the residents facing eviction are key workers such as nurses or teaching assistants.

Tom Copley AM, who accepted the petition (see picture), has called on Boris Johnson at Mayor's Question Time to think again about making these families homeless.

The Mayor's Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) has been selling off residential properties across London as part of their 2013-16 Estate Strategy.

Tom Copley, said: "I raised the plight of these families with the Mayor earlier this year, but he has simply refused to listen. I now urge him to think again about this decision and at the very least give the families more time to find other accommodation.

“The Mayor has washed his hands of these families. He still has the opportunity to do the decent thing and help them rather than make them up sticks because they are priced out of their local community".

Merton Councillor Andrew Judge, who handed in the petition, said: " ’I am appalled at the insensitivity of this decision to evict families so that their homes can be sold to developers. Boris Johnson has offered them no real assistance at all. These are nurses and people who work in our schools and care services.

"I have heard heart-rending accounts of families being broken up, children having to leave their schools, possessions being sold off and given away. Boris still has time to do the decent thing. He must stop the remaining evictions and use the resources of City Hall to find suitable alternative accommodation for these families."

West Barnes Lib Dem Councillor Mary-Janes Jeanes added: "When questioned about this by Lib Dem London Assembly member Stephen Knight in September, Boris simply expressed his sympathy and said MOPAC had asked Merton Council to tell residents about support arrangements. Frankly, this is just washing his hands of the issue - these are people's homes.

"All boroughs have long waiting lists for social housing and Merton is no exception. We've been working to help residents since the sell-off was first announced, and suggested that Merton Priory Circle Homes could buy the estate from the Metropolitan Police. However, they tell us they can't afford to.

"Boris has a duty to increase affordable housing and reduce homelessness. His desire to sell off police residential property seems to conflict with London’s need for more housing for our key workers. And  yet, his budget for building new affordable homes was underspent by over £1m in 2013-14."

A spokesperson for MOPAC said: "The properties at Griffiths Road and Raynesfield were leased by MOPAC to Crown Housing on a time-limited basis. All of the Crown Housing tenants living there were made aware of this when they took on their tenancies and have known of our intention to sell for many months.

"While some residents have already found alternative accommodation, the remainder are being supported in their search.  The sale of both of these properties is part of the biggest restructure of  the Met estate in 50 years and all of the money raised will be pumped back into frontline policing right across the capital.  Neither of these properties are yet on the market and we would consider proposals put forward by the residents."

October 24, 2014

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Tom Copley (left) and Andrew Judge