Achilles Street Stop And Listen Campaign

At a ‘consultation’ on the 21st May 2016- Lewisham Council revealed its plans to redevelop the Achilles Street area. The Council is proposing to demolish all of the homes and local businesses in the Achilles Street area in order to build high rise, high density housing in partnership with private developers.

The Achilles Street area – is a low density housing estate, which runs along either side of Achilles Street between Clifton Rise and Pagnell Street. It also includes the flats and businesses on the east side of Clifton Rise and the flats, maisonettes and businesses along the New Cross Road between Clifton Rise and Pagnell Street (excluding the Venue and the old bank building).





Ballots response / Fundraising gig / updated Fact Sheet

Fundraiser at the New Cross Inn

This Sunday 13 May, 7-11 pm at the New Cross Inn. Thank you to No Social Cleansing in Lewisham for organising this, a great line up.



Here’s the Achilles response to Mayors consultation on ballots, submitted on 10 April 2018 in response to the consultation: Achilles Street Stop and Listen Campaigns ballots

Updated Fact Sheet

Updated Fact Sheet May 2018   Factsheet May 2018

Notes and sources Fact Sheet May 2018 Factsheet Notes & Sources May 2018



“Most laundrettes are surviving because they are in council properties and have a reasonable rent”

Anita Strasser is a Deptford resident and PhD student at Goldsmiths. Anita is writing a blog called Depford is changing about the ‘regeneration’ of the area . Anita has spoken to some residents and businesses in the Achilles Street area- we are sharing the posts here.

Here is a link to the blog:


Angelo is the owner of the Launderette on 369 New Cross Road. He comes in especially to have a chat with me about the demolition plans in New Cross, and together we go to Mughead Coffee where the staff seem to know exactly how he likes his coffee. He chats with Mark for a bit, the business owner – they seem well acquainted – before we sit down to talk about the Launderette. “The Launderette itself has been here since the early 60s and used to be a Father & Son operation with other Launderettes in New Cross and other areas”, Angelo explains. Then, in the early 90s, Angelo’s brother Joe bought the one on New Cross Road, did a lot of refurbishing work to it and replaced the old machines with newer versions, and then, several years later, Angelo took over in 2008. “It’s a contagious disease, I’m not joking”, he laughs, and tells how many of his family and friends have become involved with Launderettes. “It all started with my brother dating a girl whose father was of Italian origin and owned a string of Launderettes. The relationship didn’t last but my brother thought ‘I’ll try that’.” His brother has since bought a few, including one on Jamaica Road which is now owned by Angelo’s nephew. Even Angelo’s best friend, a former banker who had a midlife career crisis, unsure what to do, took his girlfriend to Nottingham to live above the Launderette he now owns.


But being in the Launderette business doesn’t make you rich. “There is no growth”, Angelo explains. “A Launderette business doesn’t grow like other businesses do, and it doesn’t have a high turnover. You can’t pay the high rents big restaurants can pay for example, and most Launderettes are surviving because they are on good locations in council properties and have a reasonable rent. About four or five businesses on this parade are still on old tenancies and once the new development is here, the rent price will be double if not triple. Launderettes are viable businesses only because of low overheads. What kills them is the high market rates.” So, even if Angelo was offered new premises in the new development, the overheads would be too high to run it.


Interestingly for me, there is still demand for Launderettes. “Not everybody’s got a washing machine, but even if people do”, Angelo says, “there’s still a demand which has nothing to do with people’s class position. The association of Launderettes with merely the working-class and people in social housing is outdated – we have customers from all walks of life. The demand today is due to convenience: the machines we have can handle high capacity and the laundry can dry quickly, so the whole laundry can be done in an hour. Drying is a particular issue today. Many live in small flats with no space or facility to dry clothes so coming to a Launderette solves that problem.” In Angelo’s Launderette the water is also treated before it’s used and people notice the change in the fabric, another reason, according to Angelo, why his Launderette is doing good business. “If the Launderette closes, people will have to travel further for this convenience”, making this convenience less convenient.

Angelo agrees that the parade needs investment but that this is due to the council not having done a lot for its upkeep. “It’s a nice parade but it’s stuck in the 60s”, Angelo states. Lewisham Council did commission the artist group ARTMONGERS a couple of years ago to spruce up the parade a bit and to paint work along the road. They came into the shops asking people what they’d like to see. Also Angelo was asked and together with the artist they designed the shop front we see today. “It really takes an artist to see things from a different perspective. I was just going to suggest some writing to advertise the services but the artists said no, we need something more interesting and then he came up with the design you see today. It really makes a difference”, Angelo says. But that’s all that’s been done it seems, and Angelo thinks that Lewisham council doesn’t involve itself much in making the parade look nicer. “Lewisham Council is more concerned with housing and the plans I’ve seen – 5-storey blocks across the whole parade starting from The Venue – this is huge! And I’m pretty certain the development plans will go ahead.” According to Angelo, the council have offered funding to relocate but despite this offer, Angelo doubts he’ll be able to set up again. “First, the business will be closed for a couple of years and then I need funds to re-invest in a new business. Also, will there actually be the chance of getting a unit on the new development and if so, it’ll be at full market rent which will be double or triple to what I pay now. I won’t set up another Launderette”, Angelo concludes.


After our chat we walk back to the Launderette where we meet Nicola, one of Angelo’s employees who would presumably lose her job if the Launderette were to close. Angelo and Nicola seem to have a very friendly relationship, laughing and joking about being photographed, and together I photograph them in the Launderette.

Photos and Text by Anita Strasser


Lack of communication from Lewisham

We have repeatedly asked Lewisham to send out an update letter about what’s going on to all residents, businesses, freeholders to update us all. We haven’t received anything yet although we were told three months ago we would receive some information at the beginning of January!

Most Saturdays

We are on Deptford Market with a mini stall from 12-2pm with other local housing campaigns.



Sadiq Khan is proposing all estates undergoing regeneration who receive GLA funding should be balloted before demolition. There is currently a consultation on this by the mayor – the Mayors draft guidelines exclude non resident freeholders, businesses, private tenants from a vote, we are challenging this in our response to the consultation as the Achilles street area is made up of a mix of tenures.

New Cross and Deptford Free film Festival

Achilles Campaign has joined with Tidemill/Reginald Rd Campaign and Sanford housing Co-op to programme screenings on ‘displacement and regeneration’ as part of the film festival.  Achilles Campaign are hosting screenings at New Cross Learning and Green Onions ( see below)




“The council has not fulfilled their part of the deal”

Anita Strasser is a Deptford resident and PhD student at Goldsmiths. Anita is writing a blog called Depford is changing about the ‘regeneration’ of the area . Anita has spoken to some residents and businesses in the Achilles Street area- we are sharing the posts here.

Here is a link to the blog:

“The council has not fulfilled their part of the deal”


Emma Zhang is the owner of YIP Oriental Store on 361 New Cross Road, a shop which will be demolished if the redevelopment plans for this area are going ahead. Emma has had her shop for 7 years during which she has built it up to a thriving business which has a good customer base, particularly with students from Goldsmiths. The shop serves local students but also the Chinese and Japanese student communities, and many of the students signed the petition to stop the demolition of the shop because it would mean that they would lose the store where they buy their products. Emma has built up a very good relationship with all her customers, who, according to her, are very kind people and often come in every day. Some of her customers have become friends over the years as well.

“We don’t want them to knock down the buildings. The council posted a letter and then we had a meeting in Deptford Green School where we told them that we’re not happy about the plans. This is about 2 years ago, and we haven’t had confirmation yet about what’s going to happen. Demolition will be very expensive and really affect our business, and there is no guarantee that we will be able to move back or stay in the New Cross area. We have invested a lot of money in setting this up and if we have to find another location, this will lose us earnings and we’ll have to invest more to set up again. It’s unlikely we would be able to stay in this area, and so we would lose all our customers as well. We would have to start afresh.”


Emma agrees that the area is and looks run-down and needs refurbishing. She and her colleague also have experience of knife-crime in the area, and the shop has been robbed a few times. Just 3 days before I met with her, somebody tried to break into the shop again. She says the area is dangerous and that there is not enough police presence in the area, not enough CCTV and not enough protection for local residents or businesses. However, Emma does not think that this is a reason to demolish the existing blocks and shops as the run-down character and dangerous feel is due to the council’s neglect of the area.

“We have an agreement, a contract with the council. As tenants we have to look after our property inside, and it’s the council’s responsibility to maintain the outside and the building with the rent we pay. We have paid our rent, and before we opened the shop years ago, we changed the terrible shopfront into a much nicer one so it looks much better now. But the council has not fulfilled their part of the deal which is to look after the outside. Maintenance and regular repairs cost much less than to redevelop everything. If a little money had been invested over the years, the area wouldn’t be in such a state now. You could improve the area a lot by refurbishing and looking after it rather than demolishing everything.”


Emma also says that the council needs to consider the local area more: “It’s quite a special area with lots of interesting people who come into the shop. We also have many working-class people who shop in here. If you build more properties, the rents are going to be more expensive. The developers are promising people that they will have the same conditions afterwards and people might think ‘oh great, I’m moving into a nice flat in a new development for the same price’ but they just don’t realise that prices will go up in the near future and that the service charges for shared equity properties are really high. We’ve seen this happening in other areas.”

Photos and Text by Anita Strasser


Deptford is changing

Anita Strasser is a Deptford resident and PhD student at Goldsmiths. Anita is writing a blog called Depford is changing about the ‘regeneration’ of the area . Anita has spoken to some residents and businesses in the Achilles Street area- we will be sharing the posts here.

Here is a link to the blog:


“I have stopped making plans”

Below Anita’s post about the wonderful Delicious Cafe:

Teyfik Taghan is the manager of Delicious café on 365 New Cross Road. The current owner and team have been here for more than 2 years (coming up to three years soon). They are not happy about the plans, and whilst nothing has been finalised yet, the impact of the proposed plans is already felt. Teyfik explains:


‘The team here have worked hard to build up the business which is going really well. We all have families to look after and bills to pay, and running this business has enabled us to do that. When we came here, nobody said anything about the redevelopment plans. We have never received a letter from the council about the demolition. Some time ago, the developers sent a letter announcing the plans. When I called them, they said they have plans but need time to work on them. How long, we don’t know.’

Teyfik and the team are not happy about the plans as it would mean losing their business and having to start all over again. Over the years, the team have built up very good relationships with their customers, which they see as very important. Some of the regular customers are teachers and pupils from Deptford Green School and Goldsmiths students. Teyfik recognises most faces and some contacts have even developed into friendships. Sitting in the café for some time, you can tell Teyfik has a very good relationship with his customers by the way he talks to them.

Losing the business would have devastating consequences for him and his team, but even without the plans having come into fruition yet, the impact is already felt. ‘I have a family to worry about. I have 4 kids and I feel really settled here. I had lots of plans for my life: we wanted to go on holiday, send the kids to a good school to provide them with a better future. But now, I have stopped making plans because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know whether we’ll be here another year, 2 years, 5 years. It’s like with Brexit: people don’t know whether to stay or leave, whether to invest or not, buy a house or not. We’re in limbo, unsure of what to do. Anyway, if we lose the business, we will have to start all over again.’

Teyfik also says it’s not just about him. The rest of the team are in the same situation, they all have families and feel the same about being here. Finally, he concludes: ‘I’m very happy here. I love this place, I love the people here. I really want to stay.’

Photos and Text by Anita Strasser

Today Sunday 12 November

Achilles Stop and Listen Campaign update:

Mayor and Cabinet

Achilles is off the agenda again at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting. No new date given at the moment.

Sunday 12 November

Party in the Park are having their AGM and community afternoon at the Moonshot Centre, Fordham Park. FREE Music / Food / Banner Making

Time: 2- 5 pm

We are going to be making banners and placards with Achilles Fanzine and talking about the Achilles campaign.  If you are free please do pop by and say hello or help out, make a banner, All very welcome

Also on Sunday 12 November

No Social Cleansing in Lewisham bands in support of local housing Campaigns

Venue: The Bird’s Nest pub,32 Deptford Church St, Deptford

Potent Whisper – razor-sharp political spoken word artist

Ukadelix – local ukulele group  

and many many more…..

Time: 6- 11pm, Free All very welcome

FOI Request

We put in a freedoom of information request for the rental and service charge income for the blocks currently in the Achilles regeneration proposals : Austin House, Azalea House, Fenton House, 363 Maisonettes and businesses,  for the past six years.

And for the amount spent on maintenance and repairs for the past six years.

Rent and service charge income total for the 4 blocks (for the last 6 years) £2,601,009

Repairs and Maintenance spend (for the last 6 years)  £238,899

Here is a break down of the information FOI income and expenditure


Campaign Afternoon

Saturday 16 September

Time:    5 pm (Film starts at 5.30 )

Venue:  New Cross Learning, 283-285 New Cross Road

 We are launching Achilles Fanzine ( 2nd print run )

Information will be available about the campaign ahead of Lewisham going to Mayor and Cabinet on 4 October ( See below).


We will be showing the critically acclaimed film:

Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle  

Refreshments and short discussion after the film


 All Welcome

Lewisham are still planning on going to Mayor and Cabinet on Wednesday 4th October with their proposals to demolish the Achilles Street area. At the meeting on the 4th they will decide whether or not to proceed with the plans for demolition and redevelopment. If you want to raise objections or concerns about the demolition of homes, businesses and community organisations or about the destruction of the local community then write to or email your local councillors, MP and the Mayor and Cabinet and let them know. See below for email and postal addresses of local councillors, MP and the Mayor and Cabinet.

Lobbying Info


Achilles Street Stop and Listen Campaign

Updated FACT SHEET July 2017- Full Version (FACTS 1-7) click here: Factsheet July 2017

Extracts Below.

Fact 4 – Lewisham Council has failed in its duties as a landlord and managed the decline of the Achilles Street area

Lewisham has failed in its responsibilities as a landlord to maintain and upkeep the buildings (homes and businesses) in the Achilles Street area. When buildings become run down because a landlord has neglected them it is called managed decline’; and this is what Lewisham has done to the Achilles Street area. The Council is now using its own failings as a landlord as an excuse to demolish the decent and structurally sound homes and businesses in the area.

Fact 5 – Lewisham’s plans for the Achilles Street area have been designed by private property developers

Lewisham’s plans for the Achilles Street area are based on a report by Savills (a private

property developer), which was submitted to the government in 2016. In the report Savills argue that local authorities should go into partnership with the private sector (meaning property developers like themselves) to ‘redevelop’ housing estates in prime locations across London.

Savills idea of ‘redevelopment’ (most people call it social cleansing and gentrification) is to demolish so-called ‘sink’ estates and in their place build high rise, high density ‘urban villages’.

The designs that Lewisham have presented at the four token ‘consultations’ are identical to case studies in the report by Savills. So why Lewisham (a Labour council?) wants to destroy a long standing community and participate in a ‘redevelopment’ project that is first and foremost designed to boost the profits of private property developers, is only a question that they can answer.

Fact 6 – Redeveloping the Achilles Street area will not address the shortage of council housing in Lewisham

To redevelop the area Lewisham will have to go into partnership with a private property developer. This means the vast majority of the new homes (currently estimated to be between 350 and 450) will be private, for sale and rent at market rates. Private property developers always use ‘viability assessments’ to reduce the percentage of social/‘affordable’ housing in any new development; and this has consistently happened in projects across London. The Lewisham Gateway project, for example, had a target of 20 percent ‘affordable’ housing and through viability assessments property developers managed to get away with building no ‘affordable’ housing at all. This was in spite of the fact that the property developers for Lewisham Gateway were given the land for nothing by the Council and on top of this they received £22 million of public funding (£20 million from the Homes & Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority and £2 million from Lewisham Council). So by going into partnership with a private property developer to redevelop the Achilles Street area Lewisham could ultimately end up reducing the number of council homes in the borough.

Notes and Sources from the Achilles Street Stop and Listen Fact Sheet : Factsheet Notes & Sources July 2017

Here is Lewisham Councils response to our fact sheet -which doesn’t address any of the key facts 2017.07.26 Lewisham Council Response