Squatter are still to be forced to leave five Lewisham houses which the council recently decided to withdraw from auction.
Squatters from Lewisham People before Profit took over the dilapidated homes in February insisting they should be used to house families in need. Lewisham council responded by putting them up for auction, saying it was ‘uneconomic’ to repair them.
However, earlier this month, the protestors claimed victory after the houses were removed from auction list. At least one of the houses had been already renovated by the group and had been re-occupied by a family who described themselves as ‘tenants,’ although the council say they had no knowledge of the occupants
Although Lewisham council initially refused to speculate on the future of the houses, it has now said that they will be renovated for future occupancy.
A spokesman for Lewisham Council told ELL, “The properties require extensive renovation to bring them up to a suitable standard and a project plan for the works is currently being scoped.”
The council said it was looking at working with local charities and organisations employing young people to carry out the work.
The spokesman added: “The Council is keen to ensure that local young people in the borough have opportunities to learn, earn and train.”
The squatters are not expected to contest the decision to ask them to leave. John Hamilton of Lewisham People before Profit said:“The squatters are putting out feelers already about alternative housing and we will try to help them by identifying other empty homes.”
By Rahat Mustafa