Sarah-Emily, a campaigner from Shadwell CLT, tells the story behind the campaign…
The Shadwell CLT campaign sprung from a group of local people who wanted more safe, warm, affordable homes in Shadwell – houses that would be truly affordable for people in the area, that would let us stay near our friends, our work and our families. Houses that we’d be proud to call homes.
The journey started in 2016 with a Walk for Affordable Housing around the local area, looking for unused land. One site we identified was just a short walk from St George’s in the East Church where the group. Next to the railway was a fenced off area of scrubland on the corner of Cannon Street Rd and Cable Street, owned by Transport for London.
Two years of campaigning, listening, meeting regularly and growing as a group followed. St George’s Church led a Palm Sunday procession past the site, and prayed for the campaign. In June 2017, we held a Shadwell Assembly and invited the Mayor, John Biggs. Children from a local primary school explained some of the problems they had with poor housing and we asked him if he would support a community land trust in the area – he agreed. We also met with councillors, and won press coverage for our campaign when we processed to the site.
In November, we joined with Citizens chapters from across London for a Housing Assembly. Hundreds of people were there to hear Deputy Mayor for Housing James Murray agree to community land trusts on some of the small sites which Transport for London owns – including the land in Shadwell we’d been campaigning for! Considering that it could have been sold for millions as a site for luxury flats, we were thrilled to hear that it would be put aside for affordable, community-led housing. Then in December, children from the school recorded a Christmas video with a testimony explaining why affordable housing mattered to them and their families.
In February, Mayor Khan announced that the site would be released for entirely affordable housing under the TfL Small Sites Scheme, which means that more than thirty community land trust homes can be built there.
These will be homes priced on median income in the borough – not market rate. Homes will stay affordable for the next generation of owners and the people who live there make the decisions.
Since then, we’ve worked with the London CLT to tailor a bid to build these homes, and we held a planning meeting to discuss the potential layout of the homes; and discuss people’s priorities for housing. We also held a stall in the nearby Watney Market, speaking to local people about their experiences of housing and their aspirations for a community land trust. We’re building on the success of the bid to talk with more people at our churches, our Mosque, and our schools about community land trusts, so that good quality housing is the reach of everyone in our community.
On 22nd March, Shadwell campaigners joined with campaigners from Shadwell Citizens to gather at City Hall and hand in our bid.
On the 18th June it was announced that we were successful with the bid!
More updates to follow…