Sunday, 18 May 2014

Anti-Social Landlords, Portobello Square, and the Threat Repression Nexus


They come like robbers in the night, when you are tucked up safe in bed. Your doors and windows are shut tight, but still they enter and take your money, your security, even your home. Exposed to the evil but seductive attractions of monetising the few square metres of land your home sits on, they get sucked into a web of greed that so often leads to deceit. 

They are social landlords gone bad.

In 2010 when the planning application for Wornington Green was about to be heard, there were mixed feelings on the estate. This was despite a recent survey that stated ‘69% of people surveyed said they had concerns about the redevelopment but on the whole thought it was for the best’.

We don’t know which buildings were surveyed, or how many people from each household were surveyed, but 69% of 252 people is just 173. In an estate of nearly 2,000 adults that’s barely 9%. And if they had cunningly focussed their survey on the worst maintained and most overcrowded buildings, 9% is still a lot, but not such a surprise. 

In response to local misgivings, Kensington Housing Trust (now Catalyst Housing Group) reassured their tenants with the following Pledges:

March/April 2010
Wornington Green newsletter
‘Kensington Housing Trust will keep the community together. We pledge to:

·         Re-house everybody who wants to remain on Wornington Green
·         End overcrowding
·         Create local jobs and apprenticeships
·         Provide all tenants with private outdoor space
·         Build a new home for the Venture centre and provide an improved same size park
·         Build homes to the same space standards as your home now
·         Charge the same rent levels as you have now
·         Build homes that can be adapted as your needs change’

Well.
-      The first is physically impossible unless they build additional homes, which they have no intention of doing
-      Second, ditto. We were told the estate was over 100 bedrooms short.
-      Well, the jobs are there but very few local people are involved
-      Gardens replaced with a tiny balcony or sunless patio; no thanks!
-      Venture Centre and park; wait and see
-      Ask residents if they can fit their old furniture in their new homes. NOT.
-      Residents are definitely NOT paying the same rent levels as previously
-      Adaptable homes; you gotta be kidding.

The existence of these pledges has been called a ‘myth’; but see below.


Other popular myths vs the horrible truth:
1, ‘marketing by Hamptons International is focussed entirely on London’; but see below.

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Nia Tam
Friday, January 17, 2014
Situated in a prime location in West London's iconic Notting Hill, Hardy Mansions is the final block to be released in Phase 1 of the luxury Portobello Square development. Portobello Square offers the best of 21st-century city living, with its sustainable design, distinctive village atmosphere and an enviable range of attractions right on its doorstep................
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Hardy Mansions, Portobello Square
Address 354 Portobello Road, London W10
Layouts 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments and penthouses
Developer Catalyst
Exhibition
Date: January 18-19 (Sat-Sun)
Time: 11am-7pm
Venue: East Room, 23/F, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central
Agent: Hamptons International


2, ‘the ceiling did not collapse’

'spectacular build quality'
3, ‘this is a heroic and incredible achievement … the quality of build is spectacular’











.......................................

If anyone ever thought that the way social landlords approached their role this days is akin to a repressive dictatorship, this is of course ridiculous.

Repressive dictatorships behave in highly specified ways. Firstly of course they repress their people through poverty, poor infrastructure and health, and lack of employment. This can be deliberate, or due to incompetence, or sometimes greed. While the masses are cowed and the regime is strong, they have no need to impose repression; this is the first stage of the Threat Repression Nexus.

Secondly, when faced with the consequences of their action/inaction, they deny everything, including the right to access basic human rights (‘All individuals have the right to live in peace so that they can develop fully all their capacities, physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual, without being the target of any kind of violence’).

Then if faced by opposition from within, and pressure from outside, together with the offer of funds via a structural adjustment programme, they make tactical concessions – just enough to qualify for outside financial support.

The desired outcome here is for the regime to absorb new practices and move towards a more internationally acceptable norm. However. What often happens at this point is that strictures and savings imposed from outside have an opposite and deleterious effect, actually impoverishing the people further. This is destabilising, particularly as aspirations have been raised, and can lead to previously peaceful communities rising up against the regime. This is the point at which a repressive regime will impose the full force of repression in all its bloody horror.

As I said, nothing whatever to do with the subject to hand.

 ...........................................

THE BRUISER
A word of advice, also nothing whatever to do with the foregoing. When dealing with unreconstructed males working in property development, IF, after a disagreeable meeting at which nothing is resolved, said developer offers to shake your hand, do not give it. You could end up with a ‘haematoma between the second and third metacarpo-phalangeal joints’. 


And that effing hurts.