Press Release

Closed House Weekend calls for support against London property developers

Closed House Weekend will be the first action by Stop the Blocks, a new Tower Hamlets campaign aimed at challenging the privatisation of public housing and community spaces that’s forcing out residents and breaking up communities.

The event will take place over the weekend of Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 August 2015 in Tower Hamlets and consist of a guided tour of ‘development’ hotspots and a forum to discuss how we can challenge the aggressive redevelopment of the area that puts profit before people.

The first day’s guided tour will include Bishopsgate Goodsyard, the Joiners Arms queer pub on Hackney Road, the No.w.here art-space on Bethnal Green Road and the former Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital on Hackney Road. Events at each location will range from street parties and stalls to art installations and protests.

Sunday will feature a public assembly near the site of the London Chest Hospital in Victoria Park.

The weekend aims to highlight the social cleansing of east London, the demolition and privatisation of housing estates, the destruction of historic sites, and the closure of public services and social spaces.

The weekend also aims to promote the campaign groups fighting the erosion of public space by private investors for profit and to encourage others to join the fight.

Amanda Bentham, a member of the East London Teachers’ Association, said: ‘Closed House weekend will give the public a chance to see the full scale of changes being threatened in Tower Hamlets, to get involved in small scale actions and to give a sense of fighting back. Because we don’t just want people to turn up and look at how bad things are we want them to get excited about fighting to make them better.’

The weekend is the first action by Stop The Blocks, a collective of campaign groups in Tower Hamlets. Members include Tower Hamlets Renters, Action East End and campaign groups working to protect sites such as Bishopsgate Goodsyard, the Holland Estate and the London Fruit & Wool exchange.

John Foster, Protect the London Chest Hospital campaigner, said: ‘Stop The Blocks is a way to link up single-issue grassroots campaigners under a broader banner, so that we can share ideas for resistance, raise wider awareness and support for our groups, and develop ideas of how Tower Hamlets and London can grow without harming the communities we are part of.’

The guided tour will meet at 11am on Saturday 8 August outside Whitechapel underground station.

Follow @stoptheblocks on Twitter, or join Facebook page ‘Closed House weekend’ for updates.

Press Contact: Peter Cragg – 07990 990868 or stop.blocks@gmail.com

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