Save Central Hill

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The bullies at Lambeth Council are trying to take our ‘hood away from us! We need an uprising to tell Lambeth Council in no uncertain terms,
“KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OUR HOMES!”
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It may not be quite as tranquil as Aidensfield, or as green and picturesque as Midsomer, but village life it is nevertheless, here on the Central Hill Estate.

And yes, we are now almost devoid of trees and the ivy no longer sprawls across the grey concrete walls, because it was all stripped away as part of the deliberate ploy by Lambeth to present the Central Hill Estate as an ugly, decaying and failing estate containing a fractured community...worthy only of "regeneration".

Nothing could be further from the truth. This community is thriving and is as "together" as it ever was during it’s 40 plus year history. Despite bushes being torn down in communal areas without regard for the wildlife within, and trees felled with no care for the sentiments of the residents, fences falling apart and paths crumbling for lack of maintenance, behind closed gates and on tiny balconies, beautiful small gardens grow, where colour abounds and families live their lives the same as everyone else..; going to school, going to work, struggling with bills, coping with illness, planning their holidays and decorating their homes.

It has always been an irritating fact of life here on this estate, that Lambeth Council consistently failed to manage and maintain the basic infrastructure or provide the services required to keep things running smoothly. Repairs take months, if they get done at all, going from simple repair job to costly and complicated job, and where deterioration is allowed to continue, ending in a major works programme.....and the much hated section 20’s. All through neglect.

Nevertheless, the residents still try to take pride in their homes and the estate on which they stand. Lambeth may have selected Central Hill to be one of their "failing" estates (chosen for it’s location and developmental value) and made it their mission to make it resemble Alcatraz, but neither the estate nor the people within it have failed in any way. The failure has been Lambeth Council’s alone, for they have failed to show any respect for the residents, failed to provide a decent standard of service or carry out basic maintenance, (which they do after all get paid for both in service charges and council tax, squeezing as much as possible out of us to give as little as possible back as they make their own pensions a priority), they have failed to honour contractual commitments set out in tenancy and leasehold agreements while at the same time bullying and haranguing us over our "contractual obligations"........and yet, despite all of that, we still love where we live. Furthermore, we will defend to the end, our right to enjoy our homes in peace, without the threat of our tight-knit village community being torn asunder by the council.....for profit.

We ARE part of Upper Norwood and Crystal Palace, and if property values have gone up in the area, it’s happened on OUR watch! If leaseholder property values have increased, that is a return on THEIR investment. But because Lambeth Council wants to steal that from us, they would have you believe that the Central Hill Estate is run-down and crime-ridden. This is a vicious slur on the good names of the residents here and would leave the wider community with the completely wrong impression that the Central Hill Estate is occupied by a bunch of criminals. It is all part of the reckless and immoral attempt by Lambeth Council to justify bulldozing an entire community. The truth is, there is hardly any crime here at all and Central Hill is as peaceful at night as any other village in the country.

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(nb. Signatures collected at Crystal Palace Overground Festival 2015 are being entered onto the online petition. This is being done to collate all petition signatures in one place. If you signed both, the system will not allow your name to be entered twice.)

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We are not criminals; we are hard working citizens striving to give our families the best chances we can in a more and more challenging world, and Lambeth Council should be supporting us, not seeking to undermine us and strip us of our homes and security.

Over the years, we have been deceived, we have been lied to and kept in the dark when we should have been informed, we have been harassed and harangued with rules and dictats on a whim and we have been ignored when we should have been consulted.

But if overpaid officials and wet-behind-the-ear councillors think they can use these tactics to take our homes and secure tenancies from us, or steal back the property they sold us in order to profit from it again, pretending all the while to be concerned with our interests, they had better think again.

The only residents they are concerned with are new ones with pocketloads of cash to buy the pokey little houses that Lambeth plan to build in pretty little streets with views across London to die for.

Well, those views are still OUR views, and our homes, for all the issues and problems we have with them, are still OUR homes, and if Lambeth were at all conscientious in their duties to the residents of the Central Hill Estate, and the way they spend our money, those issues and problems would have been long since remedied.

They have spent 40 years neglecting Central Hill, and are now trying to turn that neglect to their advantage. If they succeed, the only losers in all of this, after developers get their cut, dealmakers get their backhanders, Lambeth Council replenish their coffers and a few newcomers get their pretty little houses.....will be us.

They will NOT succeed.

Lambeth have underestimated the strength of spirit, the pride and the determination that lives in this concrete village. As neighbours feuds are forgotten, and young and old find they suddenly have everything in common, the community is becoming an army and we intend to fight till our last breath, not just for our homes but for our rights as citizens and tax payers to say, "NO" to the planned "regeneration" of the Central Hill Estate.

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