Tricks and techniques used by Councils during estate regeneration consultations

Author: Julika Gittner

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St Raphael’s Estate: Co Design Redevelopment Workshops – Credit: Brent Council YouTube video

‘This isn’t a ballot, it’s a fix.’ – This article is the second part of two posts on how to resist manipulative resident consultation tactics with the help of art.

Besides the blatant promotion of a YES vote, estate regeneration consultation tool kits often include a whole set of other powerful manipulation techniques aimed at influencing residents’ opinions. These include distorting, decontextualising, misrepresenting or withholding vital information about the estate’s current or proposed social and economic condition as well as overloading residents with reams of meaningless infographics testifying their ‘engagement’ that are intended to create a fictional image of consensus.

To resist these manipulations, it is important to understand some of the basic tricks to look out for and to find ways to produce, represent and disseminate counter evidence. The list is long but for the purpose of this article I will focus on two key vehicles: culture, statistics and withholding of key information. Continue reading

Manufacturing of resident consent: the propaganda to force estate regenerations

Author: Julika Gittner

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St Raphael’s Estate Co design Workshop 4 – Credit: Brent Council YouTube video

‘This isn’t a ballot, it’s a fix.’ – This article is the first part of two posts on how to resist manipulative resident consultation tactics with the help of art.

Across London residents on social housing estates are being ‘consulted’ on councils’ or private developers’ plans to regenerate their estates. Whether these consultations are conducted to fulfil the statutory requirement to secure GLA funding or as part of private developers’ tick box engagement exercises, all resident consultations are supposed to follow the mayor’s Good practice guide to estate regeneration guidance.

However, the guide’s recommendation for consultations to be ‘meaningful’ and ‘transparent’ (p.12) is a far cry from the reality experienced by residents across the city. Continue reading

A (temporary) local community hub in York Gardens? [Updated]

UPDATE 04/08/2021 [Cyril Richert]: This occupation has created a lot of outcry, especially within the Church community. Contrary to what some activists thought, it appears now that the Baptist Church is still the official owner of the lease of the Battersea Chapel. Therefore, our understanding is that Wandsworth Council is refusing to let them occupy the new building on Grant Road and exchange the leases while squatters are occupying their old building.

Some Save York Gardens campaign supporters (who originally supported the idea of “temporary community centre”) are trying to liaise with the occupants (who are not related to XR or SYG groups) to find a quick solution that is not damaging the community.

All updates at the bottom of this article.


Author: Charles Wiseman

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The Sunday kitchen is on!

In York Gardens (Wandsworth/Battersea area), although many mature trees are already gone as the Council and building company Taylor Wimpeys are pursuing plans to build towers in the area, the community took an initiative to plant a rose garden, offer food and make community space, with wild-and sunflowers.map-chapel

The Battersea Chapel Baptist Church building was vacated recently, following their relocation inside a new block built last year with Phase 0. The old structure is planned for demolition for block 6 of the Council’s regeneration plan (phase 1), likely to start in 2 years.

The empty church is now used as a community space, with free meals planned on Sundays there.

Continue reading

Homeless Nature and Theatre of the Absurd

Author: Charlie Wiseman

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The saving of the elm trees in 1851: they were included in the Crystal Palace project

Battersea has been woke as long as the Elms that were left to grow inside the Great Exhibition’s Crystal Palace of 1851…In fact it was because of protests about three elm trees at Prince’s Gate Entrance that the shape of the barrel-vaulted transept of the giant glass building was conceived.

In  Edinburgh, I met Jeremy Weller of Grassmarket Project, who made a new theatre that embraces the best performance we can give: being ourselves. Everyone from the street to those in young offender institutions were given a chance to be themselves.

More recently Thomas McCrudden did this most obviously by telling the story of his life in Doubting Thomas that led to Ken Loach’s scriptwriter describing how he wanted to see “everything Grassmarket has ever produced“. I, Daniel Blake, had been the film that won the highest prize of French film, the Palm D’Ors at Cannes. Now he saw something that astounded him: ordinary people portraying themselves. If life is performance, by contrast you should try being yourself.

Protesting and being oneself

McCrudden experienced being himself by standing on stage, and now like Rachida, Dimitri and Sophie and others in York Gardens, I found I was being myself, by protesting, something I hadn’t conceived of before.

Ros Coward, a Guardian journalist, described how she also had received a deluge of emails, after describing the ‘assault’ on the countryside by developers. With so many in a state of disorientation at what climate and disease could inflict, I found myself reflecting on the biblical plagues of insects, which are shown to have human faces and eat only human objects and garments. I could well imagine these locusts or beetles swarming out of the Supreme Courts of Westminster today, or the Hague, as the judges’ wigs or Lords’ and politicians’ robes were eaten and they ran away stark naked! Continue reading

As a response to community protest, Wandsworth Council hire security guards to assault residents

Author: Cyril Richert

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BML security guard using the knee-on-neck technique on protester – Credit: XR video screenshot

This is the story of a large old tree that local people wanted to protect from felling. This is a story of a massive regeneration project lead by a Council with plans in total opposition with the consultation they held 8 years ago. This is the story of violent security guards hired by Wandsworth Council assaulting tree protectors. This is the story of Dmitri, Emma, Ella, Pip, Marcus, Bradley, Tina, Rachida, Glyn, Annie, Phoebe, Rollie and many others who tried their best to defend a large garden, with massive trees and wildlife to be bulldozed without proper dialogue.

This is the story of a local community fighting to preserve the environment that matters to them. Continue reading

You see the trees on developers drawing? Now you don’t see them in real life!

Author: Cyril Richert

A Picture (actually 3 here) is worth a thousand words, so here is a good illustration of what happens currently in the area with new developments.

Continue reading

Protest in York Gardens: end of the tree?

Author: Cyril Richert

Half of the tree has been cut, then the company in charge left – credit: CJAG

Following the occupation of a huge and old black poplar tree in York Gardens to prevent developers to cut it down, the police came in force on Friday 12th March to remove Bradley, the last occupier.

They started to cut the tree immediately after but the company in charge decided to stop and refused to carry on with the work. Continue reading

Protesters are derailing Council’s plan for Winstanley & York Road estate redevelopment

Author: Cyril Richert

Tree protectors are currently occupying York Gardens in order to force the Council to review their plans to redevelop the whole Winstanley and York Road estates.

On Wednesday 3 March at 12pm, tree protector Marcus, who has become the most recognisable face of York Gardens tree protest, came down from the 100 (50 or 80)-year-old black poplar tree he has been living in for 10 days. Continue reading