Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Justice not Crisis reveal site of Halloween Gathering in Birmingham

reposter | 30.10.2008 12:09 | Social Struggles | Birmingham

JUSTICE NOT CRISIS together with a number of groups are holding a Halloween gathering to protest at the council refusal to build new homes for social rent or allow housing associations to do so.

The site of the protest is on land between Varden Croft and Pershore Road and is between Edgbaston and Balsall Heath, close to Birmingham city centre. (Pershore Road between Balsall Heath Road and Speedwell Road)

For general area of Birmingham:,285065&st=4&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf&ax=406963&ay=285065

For exact location:


45 & 47 from Birmingham along the Pershore Road goes past the site. (Bus stop immediately outside! out of town side of Pershore Road)

61, 62, & 63 along the Bristol Road. Traveling INTO the city get off by the McDonald’s at the Lee Bank Middleway. turn right on to the Middleway then first right on to Pershore Road and the site is 250m on the left. Traveling OUT of the city get off at the first stop after the Lee Bank Middleway by the Opal One student block of flats. Walk back to the Middleway turn right and then first right on to Pershore Road and the site is 250m on the left.

8A inner circle. Get off the first stop after the McDonald’s at the Bristol Road junction. Cross the road at the pelican crossing by the bus stop to the police station. The start of the Pershore Road is 50m to the left. Turn right into Pershore Road and the site is 250m on the left.

8C inner circle. Get off by Belgrave Road police station. Walk back a few yards to Pershore Road and turn right and the site is 250m on the left.

For those coming by car the post code for satnav is B5 7LR

The nearest train station is Birmingham New Street. The 45 and 47 buses pass the front entrance to the station.

for more information call 07547 744 643

Councillor Lines is co-ordially invited to join us where we will be happy to discuss the crisis with socially rented properties in Birmingham.

- Homepage:


Hide the following 11 comments

It's called the John Lines Homeless Village :)

30.10.2008 15:47

As of today (Thursday 30th October) the John Lines Homeless Village has
been established on Pershore Road, Birmingham.

This is a land occupation organised by Justice Not Crisis, with support
from Birmingham Food Not Bombs, Housing4All and the Free Space Brum
collective, on land owned by the Housing department of Birmingham City
Council, headed by John Lines, who denies that there is a homelessness
problem or a housing shortage in Birmingham.

There are a number of tents and a large banner there, and around 20
people. There is a fire going, a kitchen being set up and generally a
really good, friendly atmosphere.

Justice Not Crisis hope to hold the site for at least a week, or until
John Lines comes to answer our demands. The big Halloween party will be
happening there tomorrow (Friday) night, but people are more than welcome
to come and join the protest/occupation now! Donations of food and/or
tents are also extremely welcome...

The John Lines Homeless Village is on the vacant plot of land next to
Varden Croft, just by the corner of Pershore Road and Balsall Heath Road.
It's visible from the main road and on the 45/47 bus route from Birmingham
City Centre. For any other info call 07547 744643.

Hope to see you there!

Councillor John Lies

Thats some lovely work

30.10.2008 21:02

Very inspiring. Hope to pay you a visit at some point.

keep up the good work

Who are Justice not Crisis?!

31.10.2008 10:54

According to this thread on the stirrer it seems they're not that 'grassroots' at all.

"This group are known associates of Coun Catherine Grundy and on their website are counting Grundy and Coun Anita Ward as supporters."

"The following councillors have declared themselves supportive of such act:

Councillor Catherine Grundy (Labour)
Councillor Anita Ward (Labour - Chief Whip)
Councillor Peter Kane (Labour)
Councillor Zoe Hopkins (Labour) "

reading between the lines


31.10.2008 11:54

Could we have a link to the JLC website you refer to, rather than 3rd hand smearing?

And so what if some councillors go on record supporting Direct Action anyway? How does that harm a group's credentials? All smells a bit llike sour grapes from here.

John Lines' ASBO

Well done guys!

31.10.2008 12:18

I stopped by yesterday to lend a hand in putting up some tents. Remarkably, the first policeman (an inspector) who stopped by decided to try and dispute the politics of the protest " todays economic climate"!!!!
Anyway it was very peacefully discussed and he left satisfied as to the aims and objects of the group. It has been incredibly well organised by the campaign group and I hope others drop by to show support over the weekend, with the emphasis on tonight's halloween party.
Best of luck guys.

mail e-mail:

Housey Halloween

31.10.2008 13:48

Good luck for the weekend. Hope the whole thing goes well and have a great party.
I so wish i could join you but wage slavery calls. Love you all. Stay funky!

Mr Bunarchy

response to 'Link?'

31.10.2008 14:13

"Could we have a link to the JLC website you refer to, rather than 3rd hand smearing?"

I assume you're referring to the Justice not Crisis website where there is indeed a link:

It also includes a comment from someone who appears to be concerned about a particular Councillor's intergrity when it comes to housing:

'If Catherine Grundy is so concerned about housing why was it that she and her fellow Kingstanding ward councillors had to be shamed into attend a HLB after the chairman of that same body expressed his disgust at their lack of interest. As Kingstanding ward councillors they have treated the HLB AND the tenants it represents with contempt. Pathetic.'

"And so what if some councillors go on record supporting Direct Action anyway? How does that harm a group's credentials? All smells a bit llike sour grapes from here."

I think the comment above may go somewhere to answering your question. You can either take this onboard or issue a series of ad hominem attacks.

reading between the lines

Mainstream media coverage

01.11.2008 10:27

Media coverage from the bbc including a video with interviews with people who are homeless and on the waiting list for social housing:

reading between the lines

The John Lines Homeless Village

03.11.2008 17:48

I've been to the village and it was wonderful to see such positive direct action taking place.

The people who are helping out are doing an awesome job. Its a shame to see such trollish comments on the web site.

Best wishes to everyone staying on site keep up the good work


Response to "Response to Link"!

04.11.2008 12:38

Thanks. But I'm still at a loss to understand precisely how the fact that some councillors have signed to support the campaign somehow invalidates it or makes in ideologically tainted: if anything, it makes it easier for people to hold *them* to account for failing to act in accordance with their principles- just as someone has already done on the JNC website, without any censorship.

John Lines' ASBO

The Stirrer coverage reveals who Justice not Crisis are...

04.11.2008 15:10


Campaigners occupying Council-owned land in Balsall Heath under the banner Justice Not Crisis have attracted TV crews and newspaper headlines – but who is behind the protest? The Stirrer reveals all.

Regular readers will know that we’ve carried a series of articles over recent months referring to a shadowy group demanding better provision for social housing in Brum. It’s name? Justice Not Crisis.

We were sworn to secrecy about the identity of the individuals involved, but now they’ve gone public with their protests, the time for cloak and dagger is over.

The organisation’s key figure is Steve Austin, a member (though not a director) of Optima Housing association, which has been active in the redevelopment of Lee Bank/Attwood Green.

He’s also had backing from Lee Moore who is an Optima board member – albeit acting in this regard, in a private capacity.

They seem to have overcome their fears that the housing association would be hit by a backlash if key members were publicly associated with a challenge to the City Council.

Austin’s background in activism dates back to the mid-1990’s when he was involved in roads protests in London.

That experience stood him in good stead a couple of years later when the Lee Bank estate where he lived was being used as a magnet to attract central government money – only for the cash to be spent on other inner city areas.

“We said, ‘okay, let’s do a bit of non-violent direct action’" Austin recalls.

“And so we got this giant banner made up that said ‘Welcome To The Lee Bank Slum Quarter’”.

That was followed by the peaceful occupation of a neighbourhood office, and Albert Bore – who was then in charge of housing for the Labour administration – finally agreed to meet them.

The Action Group secured guarantees that land sales on Lee Bank would be ploughed back into the local community, and won assurances about the provision of social housing and affordable properties on the newly christened Attwood Green.

It was from these radical roots that Optima was born, and it is now involved in a small number of developments elsewhere in the city.

In the meantime, Austin claims that the now Conservative dominated Council has been refusing to sell land to housing associations, preferring to maximise profits by flogging it for commercial developments. This means the needs of 30,000 tenants on the waiting list simply can't be met.

Even where sites are sold to the likes of Barratt and Wimpey, he argues the City isn’t tough enough in demanding its full allocation of social housing.

Austin also says that the local authority is choosing not to build new Council Houses, despite the government making £100million available.

That’s a charge denied by John Lines, the city's Cabinet Member For Housing, who says the tightwads at Whitehall aren’t in the business of simply handing over the cash – it’s a competitive process (see link here).

In response to regular challenges for a public debate meeting with Justice Not Crisis (see link here) he has said that he is willing to meet them - but only at his regular Housing Forums in the city.

So the stand-off continues – as does the occupation of the land off Vardon Way.

The protestors were served with “Notice To Quit” orders, but insist they won’t leave until either the Council provides proof the land will be used for social housing – or John Lines agrees to meet them.

The "hit and run" mainstream media may now have disappeared, but this one will run and run.

reading between the lines
- Homepage: