A web post by an estate agent that appears to make light of a homeless man who was killed by a fire on a barge in Battersea has been labelled as “incredibly grim” by a councillor for the area.
Wandsworth councillor Aydin Dikerdem was doing some research on the Plantation Wharf development in West London, which horrified Londoners because it had buildings named after the transatlantic slave trade , when he discovered an article by agents Eden Harper about the scheme.
READ MORE: Londoners outraged over ‘horrific’ Battersea office development named after slave trade
“Some residents recall the Battersea waterfront in a far different light, of course,” the post by the independent estate agent in Brixton and Battersea reads.
“Before the development sprung up, it is said, there resided nearby a harmless chap of anomalous habits who had made his home on what was living on a dilapidated barge.
“The story goes that one night, with plans afoot for gentrification, a mystery blaze destroyed the eyesore vessel and the eccentric inhabitant was never heard of or seen ever again.”
Dikerdem told MyLondon he couldn’t believe someone would brazenly discuss a horrible death in this way.
“[It’s] kind of making a joke about a possible homicide in order to gentrify the riverside,” he said.
“It’s just part of the whole way we kind of trivialise the nature of what’s happened historically.”
The Wandsworth councillor added the flippant tone of the post was one of the most shocking aspects.
“They just say in such a way that they don’t recognise what they’re talking about [after that] they just jumped onto a bit about celebrities,” Dikerdem said.
Research by the charity Crisis has found that people sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence and 15 times more likely to have suffered verbal abuse in the past year compared to the general public.
Speaking about the issue to MyLondon, the charity’s director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, Matt Downie, said: “We know for people experiencing homelessness, especially those rough sleeping, they can often face dangerous situations as part of their day-to-day life.
“This is incredibly serious and can often lead to injury and in the worst cases, even death. The brutalities of homelessness are real, unacceptable and not something to be taken lightly.”
Eden Harper has been contacted for comment.
Do you remember the homeless man who lived on the barge in Battersea? Please get in touch with [email protected] if so