Following the success of the “Poor Doors” series of protests a few years back, Class War is organising a “Rich Door” action next Saturday at 2pm 29th August in front of 1-18 York Terrace East, Regents Park in central London. Class War is calling for all who are able to turn up for, hopefully, a day of direct action.
York Terrace East Grade is a 1 Listed house which until 2016 served as a students’ accommodation. It is now standing empty. The 117,000 square feet floorspace property was recently put on the market by selling agents Savills and Aylesford with the asking price of no less than £185 million. It is the second most expensive property in London since January when a property tycoon Cheung Chung-kiu purchased a 45-room mansion near Hyde Park for a dashing £200 million.
The listing is targeted at a billionaire in need of a London pad. The said billionaire would also be able to become a landlord, as the property comes with planning permission for the development of two houses and 26 separate apartments together with 42 underground parking spaces. These will surely not be at affordable prices.
Meanwhile, an estimated 25,000 homes are left empty in London: the highest number since 2012. 280,000 people are recorded as homeless in England only: an increase of 23,000 in the past three years. Another 220,000 people in England were at risk of homelessness in 2019: a number which will likely grow from next week when the Covid-19 eviction ban ends.
In London, over 56,000 families are forced to rely on often insecure and unsuitable temporary accommodation, and social housing waiting lists are in totally unmanageable numbers. Whoever is unable to secure social housing is being forced to pay over 50% of their earnings to landlords, for the mere privilege of living. In Camden borough, where York Terrace East is located, this number stands at 61%.
London and beyond property markets have long stopped serving the purpose of providing people with homes and instead opted for becoming the investment opportunity for the rich. This left the rest of us scrambling to secure the basic need for shelter while giving away a significant proportion of our earnings to parasitic landlords, estate agents and property developers. The need for direct action to fix it is obvious. Let’s hope that the “Rich Doors” will contribute to this fight.