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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 August 2019

After the fire: fight for facilities for all

Socialist Party members in Walthamstow campaigning against environmentally destructive private developers, photo Paula Mitchell

Socialist Party members in Walthamstow campaigning against environmentally destructive private developers, photo Paula Mitchell   (Click to enlarge)

Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Not quite three weeks after the devastating fire at Walthamstow's shopping mall Save Our Square (SOS) campaigners were out on Saturday 10 August in the lime tree avenue leading to the east London market, making it quite clear. We are still here!

The plans granted to property developers Capital and Regional PLC are still thoroughly opposed by the local community. We never meet anyone in favour! After four years not a shovelful of earth has been dug; not one of the beautiful mature trees has been felled.

A group of local Extinction Rebellion campaigners were also out at the same time defending the trees - which was welcome news. We joined in their "conversation" event about a strategy to defend the trees.

SOS campaigners outlined a few examples of activities we have carried out over the last four years, not only on the trees but about the loss of public space and the need for genuine council housing.

Nancy Taaffe, chair of SOS, said: "The proposal to build four huge tower blocks of unaffordable flats would ruin our environment in a different way, and would take space that is currently public realm and give it to a private outfit to make money."

However, now that the fire has happened - and while we await the fire service investigation, the responses of the council and mall development company - we are determined that, if any building work is going to happen, we want reconstruction and regeneration to be around a plan that the community really wants.

It is our town centre. The land belongs to the council, i.e. us - not rich property profiteers. Any plans should meet with our approval.

We have received suggestions for leisure facilities to be reinstated in our town centre, like a bowling alley and table tennis. Or a putting green and swimming pool - like existed 50 years ago - as well as upgrading the green and children's playground.

To that end we have produced a survey with ideas aimed at drawing up a genuine people's plan, which we will be working on in the coming months and through local public meetings in libraries too.

We feel our campaign is going from strength to strength. There is still some way to go, but no, we are not giving up.

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In The Socialist 14 August 2019:


What we think

General election looms... Capitalists in chaos: fight for socialism


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Far right seen off at Oxford Circus

After the fire: fight for facilities for all

Hereford and Worcester: stop the fire cuts!

Dundee: young workers meet

Leeds estate residents push back private development


News

Boot out Boris and all the Tory toffs - fight for socialist policies for the 99% not the 0.1%

Tory bribes don't hide destruction of NHS


Opinion

TV: Young, British and Depressed - "What is wrong with our society that all these people are feeling this way?"


Historic events

Northern Ireland, August '69: 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets

The Peterloo Massacre 1819: When a fearful ruling class tried to crush working-class political aspirations


Workplace news

Fight back against the retail bosses!

Lincolnshire health workers strike against 2,000 loss of pay

Bradford: All-out action to defeat backdoor NHS privatisation

Hull: Karro Food meat processors strike against poverty pay

Equity: reject UK Theatre's pay cut deal

Summer of airline industry strikes against low pay and worsening conditions

Harland and Wolff occupation continues - renationalise to save the shipyard


International socialist news and analysis

Kashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

Pro-democracy protests continue to rage in Hong Kong


 

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Related links:

Walthamstow:

triangleCouncil houses - not private property developers

triangleAvenue of trees saved!

triangleHow working-class tenants beat Gentrification

triangleMass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

triangleWalthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Fire:

triangleThree years on: No justice for Grenfell, no peace from BLM

triangle'Worst crisis in housing since World War Two' - Barking Riverside inquiry into fire

triangle20 years of housing failure

triangleGrenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

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triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleNottingham unions fight council job cuts

triangleTower Hamlets council workers strike against wholesale attack on terms and conditions

London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Who were the Black Panthers?

triangleEast London Socialist Party: How to be a trade union organiser

Waltham Forest:

triangleSelling the Socialist: we're back!

East London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: A socialist charter for young people

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