Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or upload here
Police called in as protesters lobby MP Matthew Offord over lack of affordable housing
Protesters gather outside St Matthias Church in Colindale where MP Matthew Offord was hosting his MP Direct meeting.
Police were called to keep the peace as protesters from across the capital turned out to lobby MP Matthew Offord over the lack of affordable housing in West Hendon.
Campaigners walked from the West Hendon estate to St Matthias Church in Rushgrove Avenue, Colindale where Mr Offord was hosting one of his MP Direct meetings on Friday night.
Mr Offord, who is the MP for Hendon, sent out invitations to a group of his constituents but said the “ragtag bunch” were not on the list.
Speaking to the Times Series he said: “They just wanted to cause trouble. There’s ways of speaking to your MP and that’s not one of them.
“I’m really pleased my constituents were not interrupted and we had a very successful meeting. About 80 people attended, and we spoke about local issues like traffic, overdevelopment and green spaces in Colindale.
“The West Hendon regeneration was always going to be a very difficult issue and a very difficult process. I was at the estate yesterday morning looking at how we can help these people who are to be moved.”
But the mood outside the church turned sour when the 70-strong protesters, including Labour candidate Nagus Narenthira who had to be removed by police, were refused entry.
The group, who found out about the meeting because one of them had received an invite from Mr Offord, stood their ground and demanded to speak to the MP about plans to knock down their homes on the estate.
The major redevelopment plan has worried many tenants who fear they will have to move out of the borough or be forced to rent privately.
Christina Medeiros, who has lived on the West Hendon estate for eight years, said: “We wanted to speak to our MP about our situation – we want security that we will be rehoused in Barnet as permanent tenants in the borough.
“We’ve been told just 15 per cent of tenants will get homes on the new site, and the rest will either be moved out of the borough or have to go into private renting and go on benefits.
“We’re very angry the MP wouldn’t even come out and speak to us.”
Jasmin Parsons, who has lived on the estate for more than 30 years, said: “West Hendon is killing the community. It’s our community and Matthew Offord is supposed to be representing us in Parliament and we wanted to tell him what we think.
“As far as we knew it was a public meeting until we turned up."
As Mr Offord attempted to leave the church inside a police van, protesters gathered around it preventing the vehicle from moving.
More police were called in to move the protesters on, allowing the vehicle to pass.
Many of last night's protesters live on the estate, although housing activists from across the capital came to join in their campaign. They also lobbied the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, when he visited Muswell Hill last week.
Comments are closed on this article.