Story: Douglas Johnson
In February 2007 (Issue 68, 'Stateless and Homeless at Christmas'), we reported on claims that a group of destitute asylum-seekers had been forcibly evicted from Catherine Rd flats to make way for redevelopment.
The council owns the flats but Arches Housing Association is developing them, and they employed the developer Redwall Developments Ltd to carry out the work. The council agreed to investigate and a lengthy report has now been produced.
The Council concludes the victims “probably were evicted illegally" and, after the visit from Redwall’s contractors, “certainly had good reason to feel intimidated”.
Redwall is already known to Burngreave residents as the “cavalier” developer of the Smithies Field site off Grimesthorpe Road for removing mature trees without planning permission.
Having said that, the Council’s criticism is levelled at Arches Housing Association and ASSIST, the charity supporting the refugees.
Even though the council was responsible for the court proceedings for permission to evict the men lawfully, the report finds that Sheffield City Council “had no liability for the mismanagement”.
The council recommends that no further action is taken although it suggests that Arches may wish to consider a “modest contribution to a suitable charity in recognition of the items allegedly lost or damaged.”
If anything, the report highlights the tensions between large-scale regeneration schemes and the needs of vulnerable individuals desperately in need of housing and support.