Backing the protests at MIPIM – homes for people not investors

This week the MIPIM property fair came to London. I joined protests, signed a letter of solidarity, and wrote about my plan to build homes for Londoners with residents in control of development, not distant investors.

MIPIM is the world’s biggest property fair and is being held in the Olympia exhibition centre in west London this week. It describes itself as a gathering of “the most influential international property players, looking to close deals in the UK property market”.

In past years, London’s councils have queued up to get stands at the event, with the express aim of making deals with property developers to ‘regenerate’ their areas and estates.

Over at Left Foot Forward I’ve written more about this unseemly process:

“A couple of years ago, the developer behind the Elephant and Castle regeneration paid for the leader of Southwark Council to attend the same shindig held in Cannes. This was the same man who oversaw the replacement of an estate of 1,200 flats, the majority of them council properties, with 2,535 homes – only 79 of which were for social rent.”

There are fewer London councils here this week, thanks in large part to fierce campaigns and protests last year. But out on the streets it’s time they stood up to developers properly and stopped the cosy deals for good. Londoners need more than the 11 per cent affordable homes promised at Earls Court – a scheme I have already pledged to cancel.

We need a new model of development and a different approach from our Mayor, not the tinkering within the current broken market that my rivals are promising.

That’s why I was proud to put my name to a letter in the Guardian alongside a wide range of campaigners and resident groups, organised by the Radical Housing Network, and why I took rent campaigners and a resident from a local campaign into the fair with me to see what was going on.

Despite the rain, plenty of protesters turned up to challenge the delegates outside too. Watch the video here where I talk to Estates Gazette.: