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Issue #1658      October 1, 2014

Unfair, unlawful and unjust

A last minute possession order to evict mums from empty east London flats was described as “unfair, unlawful and unjust” by a county court judge yesterday, campaigners have claimed. Newham Borough Council issued an interim possession order yesterday morning in a bid to forcibly remove the campaigning Focus E15 Mothers, who are occupying the vacant Carpenter’s Estate in Doran Walk, Stratford.

But a judge sitting at Bow County Court, where a case was speedily heard at 2 pm, threw the order out, calling it “unfair, unlawful and unjust.” The order was held to have not given the occupiers enough time to seek legal advice, according to a campaign spokesman.

Focus E15 mothers occupied the boarded-up building overlooking the Olympic Village after the council pulled funding for social homes due to budget cuts and told tenants to rent privately.

Since Focus E15 Mothers occupied the flats last Sunday, the group has seen widespread media attention. Mum Sam Middleton told the Star that the campaign was all about fighting back against the “social cleansing” happening across London and other parts of Britain – the ghettoisation of poorer communities.

She said that the council also turned off the water supply to the building yesterday morning, leaving their young children and babies without access to water. “It’s an act of aggression by the council,” she said. “They’re angry at all the bad publicity they’ve received so they resort to dirty tricks.

“But their actions are totally inhumane. For them to just take the running water away without any notice when there are babies in the house.”

Newham Council confirmed it had applied for a possession order for the block of four flats on the Carpenters Estate. A spokesman said the judge adjourned the case so that those illegally occupying the property could be provided with three days’ notice of the hearing as set out under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

The hearing had been rescheduled for 10 am on Thursday October 2, the spokesman added.

Newham Council claimed that it wished to make the flats available as homes on a short-term basis before the whole estate was redeveloped.

Morning Star

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