1 February 2022Feature

Can community organising force the government to insulate the UK’s leaky homes?

All of the UK’s housing stock ‘zero carbon’ by 2050. Everyone living in well-insulated homes heated by clean, green energy – whether they rent a flat or own a castle. A ‘Great Homes Upgrade’.

That’s the goal of an ambitious community-organising initiative recently launched by the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

In the near term, this means getting seven million homes – including all social housing – brought up to a good standard by 2025, and a further 12 million homes brought…

1 April 2018Feature

Housing co-ops are being hit by new taxes

Kindling housing co-op members outside the front door of their house, Oxford. Photo: Kindling Housing Co-op

A new housing co-op for low-income activists in Oxford (one of the least affordable cities in the UK) is facing huge difficulties after being asked for an additional £50,000 in stamp duty by the tax authorities, under rules brought in in 2012 and 2014. Kindling, a member of the Radical Routes network of co-operatives, is believed to be the first housing co-op to be affected by…

1 December 2017News

Call for council homes to be built on former prison site

Many a woman peace activist has been incarcerated in Holloway Prison. There have been many poor women imprisoned there, some jailed for non-payment of fines (being fined for not having a TV licence was once a speciality of the British judicial system). Holloway saw the suffragettes force-fed and Ruth Ellis hanged. Then there are the women who were imprisoned after killing an abusive partner, and the long list of women who were neglected by prison staff and died there.


30 April 2014Blog

Peace News co-editor Emily Johns tells the story of Walden Pond Housing Co-op,

Last night, 21 people crowded into the Friends Meeting House in South Villas, Hastings, to hear Peace News co-editor Emily Johns tell the story of Walden Pond Housing Co-op, which was set up in 1998 and now owns a house and a flat in the town.

The main point of the evening was to explain 'How to Set Up a Housing Co-op', with a lot of help from the Radical Routes handbook of the same name (44 pages, £3 or download for free…

1 November 2013Review

Verso, 2013; 382 pages; £12.99

In his latest book on the built environment, Owen Hatherley visits 17 towns and cities across Britain, presenting an architecturally-inflected state of the nation.

Part travelogue, part searing political critique, the book takes the form of a series of ‘urban trawls’, bringing the author to ‘some extremely unlovely places’: the Thames Gateway, Belfast, Birmingham, the City of London (‘the satanic site at the heart of the UK’s malaise’).

On each journey, Hatherley…

1 September 2013News in Brief

Cahoots Collective, a brand new housing co-operative in London, is urgently seeking investors to provide loanstock to help the co-op buy a house in New Cross Gate – it had secured an offer at the time of going to press.

The collective has evolved from a group focused around vegetarianism and communal living into working towards a broader anti-oppressive ethos. It aims to provide safe and secure housing for queer/trans people, ‘with specific recognition of queer/trans people of colour…

8 February 2013Comment

Thoughts from Rose Howey housing co-op

15 December
Edge Fund launch, London

Migrant Artists Mutual Aid had mixed emotions about applying for money from this new initiative, which is a new approach to grant-making that wants to assist groups working for systemic change.

The irony is that part of the systemic change that MaMa is working for is to create confidence in mutual aid and not in charity, to create an organisation that is not dependent on other people’s money. But I found myself at the…

1 December 2012Comment

Turkeys, progress & praxis

She said: What is history? And
he said History is an angel being
blown backwards into the future
He said: History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back
and fix things To repair the things
that have been broken But there
is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the
angel backwards into the future
And this storm, this storm is called

The Dream Before (for Walter Benjamin)…

17 October 2012Comment

Radio class with Fatoumata, and other incidents.

27 September

Liverpool Public Enquiry Office UK Border Agency

We are going to have dinner at Anne’s after Fatoumata’s interview at the Home Office. I am meeting Fatoumata, but get lost and can’t find the centre. I should have printed a map, then I see a flash of pink hair which I realise is Penny walking up the road with Fatoumata!

After I got my residency papers, Anne and I launched ‘Migrant Artists Mutual Aid’ to raise money for a specialist solicitor for Fatoumata and…

26 September 2012Comment

Rose Howey Housing Co-op finally get to buy their house.

Sundown Monday

Blessed are all things that come from the grape.

We are having a dinner with all the people getting ready to move into Rose Howey House, the old bail hostel that my co-operative has been trying to buy for three and a half months, it's Rosh Hashanah and we are eating apples and honey and home made vegan challah before an important meeting. Rob brought a bottle of kosher wine, splashed out and got the expensive stuff. The cheap stuff is made in New York,…

28 August 2012Comment

Jennifer Verson reflects on the intersection between activism and everyday life

23 August: It was a good thing to think about our housing cooperative as an action. Tracy is in Chicago and she has just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I look it up on the internet: it could be exposure to radiation, nuclear testing in Utah. Tracy has to fill out financial aid forms otherwise the doctor won’t operate.

Starting a diary for Peace News is a bit scary. Over the last year, I have developed a love of writing populist political theory: punk rock princesses and…

30 March 2012News in Brief

A study commissioned by Squash (Squatters’ Action for Secure Homes) has challenged government estimates that effectively criminalising squatting will cost only £25m over five years.

Taking into account the housing benefit that people currently squatting would claim if barred from squatting, the ongoing costs of prosecuting squatters, and the cost of rehabilitating squatters who become rough sleepers, Squash estimates that the most likely annual cost of criminalisation is between £…

1 March 2012News

"No reason for the story to end here" say activists.

A group of 15 or so people who set up the Cwtch Community Centre in the empty Dolphin Hotel in Swansea city centre have vowed to carry on their work after being been evicted. In a story carried by the South Wales Evening Post, Rev, a member of Cwtch, said the group would carry on their work: ‘Cwtch has been providing a brilliant service to the community. When we open, people without homes take shelter here and elderly ladies come for coffee.’

The Dolphin Hotel has been unoccupied for…

1 October 2011Letter

I had to write a letter to PN to ask people to fill in this consultation about the criminalisation of squatting on www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/ dealing-with-squatters.htm.

The government is currently holding a consultation on squatting and proposing to make it illegal. This is happening alongside a vicious media campaign propagating the idea that squatters can take over already occupied homes. This is false because there are…

1 March 2009News

Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to creating homes and livelihoods that works with nature, using natural construction materials, renewable energy, and Permaculture design principles. Since its formation in August 2005, Lammas has sought to create an exemplary LID in Wales to demonstrate what the approach has to offer: building affordable homes, boosting rural economies and increasing biodiversity. As well as nine smallholdings and a community hub building, the Lammas Eco-hamlet…