Families face eviction from Metropolitan Police property

Connaught House
Image caption The Metropolitan Police, which owns Connaught House, wants to sell it

Up to 21 families are being evicted from a property in north London which is owned by the Metropolitan Police.

Residents of Connaught House in Muswell Hill are "distraught" and say the move will "break up a community".

Caroline Gallagher, who worked for the Met for 26 years, said she was being "kicked out" of her home of 16 years.

The Met said the lease on the building expired in December 2012 and it would be sold. Leaseholder Crown Housing Association said it had no alternative.

On Monday bailiffs evicted 11 families.

The remaining residents have been given until mid-April to move.

Some have been housed by the leaseholder, but others say they will be homeless.

Ms Gallagher, 45, who will lose her home on Monday, said she moved to her mother's house with her daughter, 20, and son, 18, on Sunday.

She said: "I was a traffic warden manager and worked for the Met for 26 years and I got made redundant in December 2011.

"I feel very let down. First they make me redundant and then they kick me out of my house. Then having to go through the housing process is horrendous."

'Under a cloud'

Tracey Wiskin, 52, lived there since April 2002 with her son aged 12.

Residents were first told about the move in 2006 but it was not until last year that they were told about the 31 December deadline. That was later extended, she said.

"We have been living under a cloud.

"My son has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and I have a letter from his school saying that the move will be detrimental to him," she said.

Some houses were boarded up last week as a few people left after finding accommodation but Ms Wilkins said she must declare herself homeless.

A Met Police statement said: "The land had been leased to Crown Housing Association to provide non-permanent accommodation for their own tenants who hold short-term leases.

"The lease to Crown Housing Association expired in December 2012.

"We continue to work closely with Crown Housing Association regarding arrangements with current occupiers before we proceed to market."

The Met plans to sell its properties, including the Scotland Yard building, in a bid to save £500m.

A Crown Housing Association statement said: "Crown very much regrets that the ending of our temporary lease means we have no alternative but to take this action.

"We are continuing to offer whatever assistance we can to the families involved."

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