Margaret Jaconelli evicted to make way for athletes village in Glasgow (25 March 2011)

I’m only now just catching up on some of the news from yesterday and I’m saddened to read that 52-year old grandmother Margaret Jaconelli was, yesterday morning, evicted from her flat in Glasgow’s east end.
Margaret Jaconelli wasn’t evicted because she did anything wrong, she isn’t a rent dodger or a terrible neighbour she is, in fact, a woman who had lived in a flat for 34 years and had paid off her mortgage.

Yesterday morning Margaret and her husband Jack were evicted after losing their battle to keep their home in Ardenlea Street, Dalmarnock, Glasgow.  The street has been earmarked for demolition so that Glasgow City Council can build an athletes village for the Commonwealth Games due to be held there in 2014.

Last year Margaret Jaconelli and her husband received a compulsory purchase order for their property and were offered £30,000 for their 2 bedroomed flat.  Margaret chose to fight the order and Glasgow City Council took up civil action at Glasgow Sheriff Court and the order came through to evict her within two days.

In court that day Margaret said, “I’m just a wee person from the east end of Glasgow and all I’m doing is fighting for a home that my husband has worked hard for for 34 years.

“They’re stealing my property after us working so hard for it.”

She’s absolutely right.

However, Margaret stood her ground, refusing to budge as all around her neighbours were moving out, they too having been subjected to compulsory purchase orders.  Margaret went through every avenue possible, Sheriff Courts and Courts of Session but they all ruled in favour of the council.  Although she has now been offered £90,000 for the property and the offer of other accommodation.

Margaret’s fight meant that for a long period of time she and Jack were the only people living in the deserted street but they were surrounded by family and friends and last Friday they stuck by them as they barricaded themselves into the property to avoid an eviction set for noon.  They were not evicted on that date.

Yesterday morning though, at 5am police and Sheriff’s officers arrived to evict Margaret and her husband.  Two hours later the couple left their home of 34 years and spoke of their disgust at having nothing left after years of hard work.

Previously Margaret had spoken of how the council had destroyed the community by evicting people who had known each other for years and who were friends.  A community who, no doubt, looked out for each other and helped each other through tough times.  You can’t live in a place for 34 years and not make solid friendships.

Perhaps David Cameron might want to look into the destruction of established communities like Ardenlea Street in Glasgow, his Big Society idea is all about communities like the one this previously was, isn’t it?

In the meantime Margaret Jaconelli and her family must find a new place to live and try to settle into a new community.  Margaret, I wish you and your family well and hope you settle peacefully.  You fought well and you fought hard, I’m only sorry you didn’t win.