Upper Norwood families' fury at eviction by police
Families say they are being forced from their homes after the Metropolitan Police said they were taking back their property.
Eight families will be evicted from their flats in Southbank, in Grange Road, Upper Norwood, which is owned by the Met.
They are expected to leave their properties by the end of 2013, when the police will take back control of the land.
It is currently leased to Crown Housing Association, but this is due to expire this year.
Tina Hussien, 56, who lives with her husband and granddaughter, has lived at Southbank for nearly 20 years.
Mrs Hussien, who suffers from arthritis, said she would continue to fight to stay in the flats and called on the council and the Crown Housing Association to buy the flats from the police.
She said: “It is devastating. I don’t know what I will be doing next. This is not just a house this is our home.
“It would be better for the council or Crown to buy this property, rather than have homeless people arriving on their doorstep.”
Lisa Hodgson, 45, a resident of the block for 14 years, said it is a difficult situation for her and her twin daughters, who go to school in the borough.
She said: “It is a really difficult time for us. I have to think about when to move out or when I am being evicted as I don’t want it to coincide while they are at school.
“I don’t know what to do, it is a worrying situation. We have kept these blocks going for a number of years, I think it is morally wrong.”
Councillor Pat Ryan, of Upper Norwood ward, said he could not believe people were being evicted for no good reason. He supported claims the council should buy the property so tenants can remain living there.
Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, said the timing of the situation was poor.
He said: “There is a housing crisis across London and Croydon is suffering a greater shortage of good quality, affordable housing than most areas.
“This is no time for the police to be forcing people out of their homes on to the streets. I hope the relevant authorities will look at ways to protect the existing tenants.”
Nick Wood, chief executive of Crown Housing Association, said he sympathised with the position of the residents and said they would do all they can to help them.
He said: “Some of the tenants have lived there for a long time, but it is only temporary accommodation and our lease has ended.
“We want to help them as much as we can and we can give them the top priority in terms of properties that become available.
“We are also approaching other housing associations and the council to try and find provision for all the residents concerned.”
Mr Wood also said that if the property is put on the market it could be something they are interested in, but he added he couldn’t predict what will happen with the flats at this stage.
A Met police spokesman said: “The land had been leased to Crown Housing Association to provide non-permanent accommodation for their own tenants who hold short-term leases.
"The lease to Crown Housing Association is due to expire and the land must be returned by December 2013.”