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Zero Evictions Campaign

Lynton Close, Neasden, Brent London

Title of entry:
Lynton Close, Neasden, Brent London
United Kingdom
Brent, London
Name of community or family threatened with eviction:
Irish Travellers - Lynton Close
Estimated number of people affected (in figures):
Type of tenure:
informal housing, low income , Migrants , Adultos , Squatters , Children
Case history:
Brent Cross Local Authority, Residential Site.
Demography of residents and history of site: The site is home to approximately 160 people from the Irish Traveller community, with a high percentage of young adults and children.
The community was first established approximately 20 years ago on a piece of waste ground just off the north London arterial road.
Unable to move what is ostensibly an extended family because of natural and human rights considerations, the local authority site was established around 1997.
The residents living on the site all live in caravans or static mobile homes, and this is their preference. Every plot (or pitch) has a separate utility block comprising of a basic kitchen, toilet and bathroom.
Scale of responsibility:
Reasons given for eviction (official and unofficial) :
Through out 2008 there has been court hearings to obtain eviction orders.
11th September 2008 Demonstration outside council offices in Brent.
19th September 2008 Attempted Illegal eviction by Brent Council Bailiffs.
28th September 2008 Rokker Radio featured the case on Three Counties Radio.
Main events in the eviction (date, year, time):
UN Habitat - AGFE are monitoring the situation informally.
Authorities planning or carrying out the eviction:
Brent Council, London
Agencies, NGOs or other organisations providing support to the community affected:
The Gypsy Council Ltd - Thames Valley
Measures taken or proposed by community members and/or organisations supporting them to resist eviction and/or find alternative solutions:
On going support is being provided by The Gypsy Council Ltd, Thames Valley Branch - Joseph G. Jones
Source of information (name, address and nature of involvement) :
Joseph G. Jones The Gypsy Council Ltd - IAI - AGFE
Saga Ct Unit 3 Sibleys Rise, South Heath, Bucks, HP16 9QQ, UK
Relationship of community organisations involved with IAI:
IAI members
Gabriele Francescotto

This is a model of social housing which on the one hand could be praised for it’s low carbon footprint, and on the other has to be criticised for the neglectful way that the site has been managed over the last few years. Provision was frozen on the day that the site was completed which meant over crowding was inevitable.
The poor living conditions, together with a institutionalised societal dislike for the Gypsy and Irish Traveller Community has lead to what has been a disaster for many of the families who have tried to improve their lives while living on site.
As teenagers have reached adulthood the local authority have implemented an eviction policy to alleviate overcrowding. When new families have formed on a pitch (through the marriage of children) then the parents have and are instructed to evict their children or face eviction themselves.
Brent Council isn’t the only authority to do this, as Buckinghamshire County Council also operates in the same way when managing their sites. This type of enforcement style site management inevitably leads to conflict within a site over the allocation of any available pitches, and generally causes friction and resentment. This type of expulsion can have a knock on effect that lasts for years, and in at least one instance lead to a six year incarceration.
Some of the knock on effects of these negative living conditions are that site residents have a low level of education, poor employment prospects, suffer from higher than average health and safety problems and higher than average health problems.
The lack of proper employment forces people into collecting scrap metal and professional boxing, and a high level of policing re-enforces the feeling of exclusion felt by everyone and that in turn makes integration into the local economy all but impossible.
Brent Council has contracted out the site management to a private enterprise that has little experience of managing Traveller sites and a lack of empathy for the client group.
The plight of the site residents is routinely ignored by local NGO’s who derive their funding from the Local Authorities, and by local media who don’t want to be seen to be supporting the site residents in case it affects their sales.
So caught between the uncaring Local Authority of Brent Council, the unhelpful NGO’s like Brent Irish Advisory Service and The Irish Traveller Movement Britain, the heavy handed approach of the Metropolitan Police, the ineffectual local Education service and the poor health caused by site management neglect and the cement factory that has been built next to the site, most of the community leads a hand to mouth existence dependant on state benefits.