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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 May 2010

Gateshead housing protest

A housing protest on the Seven Stars estate in Wrekenton, Gateshead, photo Elaine Brunskill

A housing protest on the Seven Stars estate in Wrekenton, Gateshead, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

A LIVELY protest took to the streets of the Seven Stars estate in Wrekenton, Gateshead. The demonstrators' chants of "What do we want? Decent homes! When do we want them? Now!" was loud and clear.

Ruth Brown, who lives on the Seven Stars estate, explained: "Gateshead Council has been running a scheme called Decent Homes. When they first started we were told they were doing people's kitchens, bathrooms, doors and windows, and central heating systems. The state of some of these is disgraceful. My bathroom sink is hanging off the wall."

A housing protest on the Seven Stars estate in Wrekenton, Gateshead, photo Elaine Brunskill

A housing protest on the Seven Stars estate in Wrekenton, Gateshead, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Ruth went on to say the residents want to talk to the council and housing association, but "they won't talk to us. They won't come to any of our meetings."

After the march around their estate, local residents went down to the Gateshead Housing Company office to stage a protest there. When they arrived at the offices with their banners the immediate response of Gateshead Housing Company was to lock the doors. However, they eventually invited the residents in for a meeting. This was a step forward as the housing association had previously refused to speak to the residents.

After the meeting Elaine Reed commented: "We got nothing from that meeting; everyone still feels the way we are being treated is unfair." The fight goes on!

Elaine Brunskill

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