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Housing campaigners protest outside AJ120

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Activists opposing the ‘gentrification’ of a south-east London housing estate staged a protest outside last night’s AJ120 awards at the Tower of London

The Fight4Aylesbury group was targeting event attendees HTA Design and Hawkins\Brown for their involvement in the redevelopment of the 2,700-home Aylesbury Estate in Walworth, which the campaigners claim would price-out existing tenants and lead to ‘social cleansing’.

The 20-strong protestors used a loudspeaker to attack the practices for their role in the ‘eviction, demolition and gentifrication’ of the late 1960s estate in Southwark and threw scores of paper airplanes made from flyers outlining their complaints.

Shouting down from the path at the partygoers gathered in the moat, the group accused all the practices at the ceremony of breaching paragragh 5 of the ARB’s code of conduct for failing to ‘consider the wider impact of [their] work’.

Leaflets produced by the campaigners’ read: ‘Why do architects always wear black? Because they’re the funeral directors of the working class.’

Last month the same protestors gatecrashed a private planning meeting at the offices of architectural lead HTA Design to warn professionals off the project.

In April Notting Hill Housing Group (NHHG) won full planning permission for the 800-home first phase of the estate’s redevelopment and outline consent for a further 2,745 homes, as well as retail, employment and community facilities.

Ben Derbyshire of HTA said he had been ‘embarrassed to be at the centre of such disruption’ but had been ‘hearted by the understanding, solidarity and support of colleagues at the AJ 120 event’.

He said he had also felt ‘intimidated by the ferocity of some of the protesters – and actually rather frightened by them when they occupied our office and encircled me’ but was ‘determined to maintain a reasonable position’.

He added: ‘[I feel] saddened by the irony that I too am campaigning for more affordable and better homes for London but perplexed that their action is directed at the design team - a soft target that is no position to give them what they want.’  

Work on the Aylesbury Estate redevelopment’s first phase is due to begin on-site in the autumn.

Aylesbury protest flyer, thrown as a paper airplane at the AJ120 event at the Tower of London (June 2015)

Aylesbury protest flyer, thrown as a paper airplane at the AJ120 event at the Tower of London (June 2015)

Previous story (AJ 11.05.2015)

Housing campaigners target HTA offices


  • Aylesbury estate protests outside the AJ120 event at the Tower of London (June 2015)

    Housing campaigners protest outside AJ120

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • I see the Architects’ Journal have recently recoloured our ‘Fight for the Aylesbury’ protest planes red. Unfortunately ASH couldn’t afford red paper at the time, so thanks for the photoshopping. But are you trying to imply something?

    Simon Elmer
    Architects for Social Housing

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