Activists living in Tidemill gardens have been evicted by bailiffs and the police, in what escalated into a violent clash according to eye witnesses.
Reports from locals supporting the save Tidemill and Reginald House campaign said that “150 bailiffs and police” arrived at the local green space at 6am to remove squatters and residents of Reginald House.
The eviction sparked violence between the groups, which was shown across social media. A spokesperson for the campaign group, Harriet Vickers, described the event an “incredibly heavy-handed eviction”.
We are at Tidemill Gardens SE8 Lewisham where protesters are reclaiming Tidemill Gardens after eviction in the early hours of this morning. The community are here in solidarity fighting back against the plans of Lewisham Council pic.twitter.com/IQh8pf6gI2
— Ledbury Action Group (@LedburyAction) October 29, 2018
Videos of the event showed officers from private enforcement firm County forcefully removing activists from a tree and pushing residents over. There is also evidence of masked activists attacking officers. One man was reportedly heard encouraging people to “throw shit” at the bailiffs during the eviction using a megaphone.
This is how @LewishamCouncil @Joe_Dromey @damienegan @PaulBell1971 wage war on their own community. This isn’t even half the bailiffs and police here. There are still more of us though. pic.twitter.com/V6yBG0tkKx
— Save Reginald Save Tidemill (@oldtidemillgrdn) October 29, 2018
The green space has been occupied since August to protect it from demolition- while trying to obtain a judicial review into the decision. The council have planned to build 209 homes, 158 of which are said to be affordable.
Residents and local campaigners believe that the Tidemill garden should be saved as it serves as a community centre, and the trees planted help deal with the emissions in Deptford.
Campaigner, Heather Gilmore told Eastlondonlines earlier in the month ; “They gave us meanwhile space of the garden. We realised the value of it, so many trees being felled, so many tower blocks are going up […] the garden mitigates it.”
The eviction has caused a vicious PR war between the campaigners and Lewisham’s Labour councillors. Save Tidemill and Reginald House have taken to Twitter to cast “shame” over their local politicians.
@damienegan Do hope you are happy with the thugs evicting the community from their much loved gardens at Tidemill. They created an area o be proud of. Thought a socialist would understand but guess there is little opposition in Lewisham council so they start to act like fascists
— steve williams (@possiblynotgod) October 29, 2018
The Lewisham Council cabinet member for housing, Paul Bell, told The Morning Star: “In an ideal world, we would keep the garden and build the homes that we need.
“Unfortunately, we are not living in that world, but through building 104 new social homes on this site, we will be able to transform hundreds of lives. We will be able to give families the secure, decent and social housing that they deserve.”
.@Ian_C_Thomas @damienegan @LewishamCouncil The community of Deptford are demanding you come down to Tidemill tonight, speak to the community, re-open the gardens & call off the heavy handed County Bailiffs mob pic.twitter.com/fsvWge51Oi
— Rainbow Collective (@TRCdocumentary) October 29, 2018
The area will now be demolished by Peabody, it is unknown when building work will begin on the site.
Lewisham Council have been approached to comment but have not yet replied.