Activists occupy Wyndford high-flats in Glasgow, protesting demolition plans

Plans to demolish the Wyndford high-flats, with 600 social housing facilities, in order to build new blocks with 300 rental spaces have drawn widespread criticism

January 23, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Housing Protest - UK
Banner unfurled by activists who occupied Wyndford high-flats. (Photo: via YCL-Britain)

Housing rights activists in Glasgow escalated their struggle for affordable housing last week. On Monday January 16, activists from the Wyndford Residents Union and Young Communist League (YCL) occupied the high-rise flats in Wyndford protesting the plan of social landlord Wheatley Homes demolish the flats. Glasgow police arrested three men and women who were part of the occupation of the flats. The protesters have stated that “occupation was the inevitable consequence of Wheatley Homes’ refusal to negotiate with the Wyndford Residents Union.

On January 16, from one of the tower blocks, the occupying activists unfurled a huge red banner with a hammer and sickle and slogans such as ‘Homes for People, Not for Profit’ and ‘Save the High Flats’ written on it.

According to reports, the four tower blocks of the Wyndford high-rises have provided social housing to thousands of working-class families since the 1960s. Currently, the flats are in bad shape because of years of neglect and non-maintenance. Last year, Wheatley Homes came up with a plan to demolish the flats, which currently have 600 social housing facilities, and build new ones with 300 mid-market rental accommodations. 

In response, the Wyndford Residents Union, composed of residents of the four towers, and YCL activists launched a campaign to save the flats. They argued that it is unfair and anti-poor to “replace 600 social housing facilities with 300 rented accommodation facilities.”

Sean O’Neill from the Wyndford Residents Union, who is also a member of the Young Communist League, told Peoples Dispatch on January 22 that “tenants on the Wyndford estate, aided by Glasgow’s communist youth and climate activists, took direct action against their ‘social landlord’ on Monday as a last resort. Our political occupation of the high flats aims to force a rethink of Wheatley Homes’ callous decision, and stands as an example to Glasgow’s working class that grassroots, community power is within their grasp.”

“The Wyndford community, Wyndford Residents Union, YCL, broader labor movement and climate activists, condemn the state’s backslash against the occupation and will not rest until those arrested are cleared of their charge. These buildings and our community will not go down without a fight. Victory to Wyndford, victory to the working class,” he added.

On January 16, the Glasgow Branch of YCL-Britain had said that “[the] city suffers [from] soaring rents, amidst a homelessness crisis. Under the deranged logic of the capitalist system, those who reduce our scarce housing stock are rewarded for it. The skyrocketing cost of accommodation has been precipitated by previous demolitions of the city’s high-rise flats.”