In 2017, my parents and brother were informed by their investment-company landlord that their 70-house estate was slated for ‘redevelopment’ and that they should all expect eviction notices in due course. My family had lived on that estate for 15 years, some of their neighbours had lived there since the 1960s. They were a community of long-time friends, family and carers.
My parents and their neighbours of course fought back: forming a residents association, petitioning the council, galvanising local and national media attention, and highlighting the importance of their community and its history. In 2019, they succeeded in having the planning application refused by Leeds City Council, only to see that decision overturned in January 2021 by a national planning inspector. My parents, and most of their neighbours, have since been evicted from their beloved homes.
I have documented the campaign it started via the blog page: http//saveourhomesLS26.org.
I have also written about the fight and our victories and losses in different media outlets:
- The Guardian: “Our landlord is demolishing 70 homes- but we won’t go quietly” (March 2018)
- Red Pepper Magazine: “Fighting for Cardboard City: The drudgery of activism on the frontlines of the housing crisis” (Summer 2022)
- Feminism and the City? Magazine: “Housing as an infrastructure of care: Defiance against destruction in a British suburb” (June 2022)
For my article, “Fighting for Cardboard City”, I won the inaugural Dawn Foster Memorial Essay Prize.
I am currently writing a book on the history of the UK housing crisis through the lens of the Save Our Homes LS26 campaign, eviction and demolition.