'˜We are going to fight this' - Petition goes in for Peterborough City Council debate on St Michael's Gate evictions

The fight against the evictions of dozens of residents at St Michael's Gate continues with hundreds of people signing a petition to force a debate on the matter at Peterborough City Council.

Tuesday, 1st November 2016, 1:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:37 pm
Julia Davidson, Darren Fower and Jelana Stevic handing in their petition
Julia Davidson, Darren Fower and Jelana Stevic handing in their petition

A petition with more than 500 signatures was handed into the Town Hall in Bridge Street this morning (Tuesday, November 1) by St Michael’s Gate resident Jelana Stevic and Liberal Democrat councillors Julia Davidson and Darren Fower.

The petition is calling for a meeting of the full council to debate the issue.

Jelana is now hoping to get residents to protest outside Parliament at a later date, and she said a “big name in the community” is set to join the campaign against the evictions.

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She added: “The initial shock of what’s happening to us has gone and now we are ready for action. We are going to fight this as much as we can.

“I want it to be more a national thing rather than a local thing because it will affect everyone in the future.

“This is something that will happen to every community, every town, every city if we allow this to continue. It will open the floodgates.”

Jelana was referring to the companies Stef & Philips and Paul Simon Magic Homes which are evicting tenants from 74 homes at St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell.

Peterborough City Council has now signed a three-year deal costing it £2.9 million to rent the properties as temporary accommodation for homeless people.

The council argues that if it does not take up the properties another authority will move its homeless people in instead.

Jelana said: “I would like to thank my dear friend Julia, Darren, Tony Roberts, Bev Nicholls, Leah Robb, Pauline Bartlett, the community of Parnwell, the One Stop for helping us with our petition and the people of Peterborough who signed our petition when we were in front of the Town Hall.”

Jelana also said it was “disgusting” residents were temporarily unable to access an ePetition on the council’s website which also called for the full council to debate the evictions.

That ePetition now has 235 signatures.

An earlier petition of 1,300 names was rejected by the council because there were no addresses of the signers included.

For a full council debate to take place there needs to be 500 signatures from people who either live, work or study in Peterborough.

A council spokesman said it was validating the names on the petition handed in today and hoped to have it done by the end of the week.

Cllr Davidson said: “It does not make sense what the council is doing. How can they justify it?”

MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson said he will also be handing in a petition on St Michael’s Gate to the House of Commons tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the story will get a viewing on The One Show at 7pm on BBC 1 on Thursday.