Monthly Archives: July 2012

HACKNEY RESISTANCE

The forces of darkness stalled by a peaceful demonstration outside the squatted property. On talking to the occupants we learnt that the building had been empty for 13 years and it had now been put back into use as a home for fourteen individuals. A hearty cooked breakfast was enjoyed by the 50 strong turn out and there was much celebration when the bailiffs decided not to go ahead with the eviction. This resistance was back in May, to our knowledge the property still remains squatted to this day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

NEWS OF EVICTIONS AND A PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Once again the corporate 0lympics have outdone themselves in the exclusion of local people;both the BBC and Al Jazeera  have taken over a number of the upper floors in  two residential tower blocks overlooking the olympic site. The residents being temporarily moved. In the spirit of exclusion ER believes the council have turned a blind eye to this.

Private security now control entry to the tower blocks for all residents.This control is so total that residents  have been denied access to their homes because of an apparent security breach at the BBC  suite or residents home as ER would like to call it.When police were called to the scene you will not be surprised to find they sided with the private security, further denying access to legitimate residents.There was no security breach, but ER fully expect the residents  to be further excluded during the corporate games.

A source has told ER there are plans to further gentrify  the Stratford area with the demolition of the two tower blocks, with the land being made available for yet more corporate development and greed at the expense of local people. Watch this space for further updates.


‘But I just popped out to get some milk!!!’


SQUATTING – STILL LEGAL?


Yes. Yes it is. But for how much longer we are unsure. As many of you are aware, section 144 of the LASPO act 2012 states that squatting in residential buildings is now a criminal offence. However, when this will come into force we are not yet sure, with some sources saying September at the earliest. The Advisory Service for Squatters has produced a very comprehensive leaflet titled ‘Squatting Made Less Simple’ which explains how they expect the law to be understood. It’s definately worth a read if you are unsure about the upcoming legislation and how it might affect the squatting community. You can find the leaflet here:

http://www.squatter.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275&Itemid=70

This leglislation is a direct attack on our peaceful communities. It will overnight make innocent people into criminals. The time for lobbying and campaigning is over. It’s time to take action. Get involved, join the resistance. 

WHATEVER THEY SAY, SQUATTING WILL STAY!!

WAIT?! WAS THAT A BULLDOZER?!



Over the past few weeks we’ve been out to support several groups of squatters who have been threatened by owners claiming the right to demolish their buildings. These threats can be made despite a possession order not being issued to the owner.  So, when the bulldozers in town what’s to do?

Well the good news is property owners can’t have a property demolished with people inside. Obviously, that could be murder. So, they have to get you out before work can commence, i.e, take you to court. Remind them of this and then firmly state that you will not be leaving the property until ordered to do so by court. If they continue to threaten then let them call the builders in. No demolition company would even consider knocking down a building when there are people inside, much as the owners may want them to. Getting done for manslaughter is really not top of demolition companies to do lists.

So, there really is very little possibility of any work starting on the property without your consent/a possession order granted and executed. If you’re still not feeling comfortable, give us a call and we’d be more than happy to talk to that owner for you.

Aside from demolition, what about if there is building work allegedly due to start on the property? Your very irate owner comes banging on the door screaming about how the builders *gasp* were supposed to start today and because of YOU *gasp* they can’t! Well, this is a trickier situation. In they eyes of the law, you still have the right to remain in your home until a court says otherwise. Section 6 still applies, whether its
residential or commercial premises. However, you may want to consider moving on. For many, squatting is about sheltering in abandoned, disused buildings and putting them back to use. If there is genuine building work about to start then the building is obviously going to be used and thus won’t be your home for much longer. You are still perfectly entitled to go through the court process though.

Irrespective of your views on the right thing to do in such situations, it’s always a good idea to check that there really is building work about to commence. One way of doing this is by searching online for planning applications for your building. Type the relevant council followed by .gov.uk to get to the main website. The planning application search is normally in the section called ‘environment’. When you ‘ve found it, type your address into the search box. If results come up look at them closely, how old is the application and what is it’s status? If
the status is ‘granted’ then it means the owner has permission to do building work. If then status is ‘pending’ then the council are still deciding whether to accept or reject the application. If the status says ‘denied’ then it’s not happening.

So, all in all, don’t let the threat of demolition/building work worry you. Chances are it’s likely to be an empty threat. Do check it out though and get in touch if you need any advice.

GROW HEATHROW COURT VERDICT

Heathrow squatters ruling ‘could change housing law’…

Heathrow 3rd runway squatters granted eviction appeal on human rights grounds
‘Grow Heathrow’, a squatted community garden project in the Heathrow Villages, West London, was this morning granted the right to appeal against eviction on human rights grounds. This follows a two day hearing for possession which took place on the 18th & 19th June. The owners of the site are seeking possession of the land which would remove the community project in the process despite the overwhelming support the squatters have received.
Honorary Judge Karen Walden-Smith took on board arguments from the defendants around the right to respect for the home, under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She upheld this right in the case describing the project as “much loved and well used” by the local community, despite arguments from the claimants that this right did not apply to squatters. While she ruled in favour of the owners, she agreed that the group should not be evicted without their human rights case being heard in the Court of Appeal. Grow Heathrow are asking for donations to support the costs of lodging an appeal to be made through the website.
Grow Heathrow’ first took over the former-market garden site on Vineries Close, Sipson, in March 2010 after years of neglect which caused social problems in the area. Local residents and the Transition Heathrow group cleared up the land, removing 30 tonnes of rubbish, and set up the site as a community-hub and market garden. The project came out of protests against Heathrow’s planned 3rd runway and the site sits directly in the path of where the 3rd runway would have been built.
Speaking outside court, May Mackenzie, Grow Heathrow resident said:
“We are delighted by this opportunity to challenge current laws which allow landlords to leave land empty and abused. At Grow Heathrow, we are taking back control of our lives by bringing a derelict piece of land back into use for the benefit of the community. We will also continue to try and persuade the owners to sell the land to a community land trust owned by the local community”.
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who appeared as a witness in the case said:
“Grow Heathrow have taken a derelict site that has caused local residents numerous problems and transformed it into a beautiful area, serving the whole community. I urge the owners to drop this case and let Grow Heathrow remain or failing this I appeal to the court to allow them to stay.”
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Lib-Dem member of the House of Lords) said:
Grow Heathrow is about a living, sustainable, community based future. We should be enabling projects like this not closing them down. Growing food, cooking it and eating together is the glue that has held societies together – we need a lot more of it, not less.”
A statement of support from local residents’ group Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association (HASRA) said:
The people involved with this project (Grow Heathrow) have transformed the site.
In the process they have created a much-needed community hub for local people who have spent years living under threat of destruction due to proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Their tireless efforts and support have regenerated enthusiasm for community working that inspires the many people who visit.”

A SQUATTASTIC JULY IN SOUTH LONDON


Battersea hosted a very fine afternoon of workshops and discussions on Sunday July 15th, despite having an interim possession order hearing due on the building. Great to see such a healthy turn out and well done to those who made it happen. 

Even better, we heard the news a few days later that the Battersea venue had seen off the IPO attempt at the local County Court. All made possible by The Advisory Service for Squatters’ intrepid volunteers who came up with a winning defence.
  


The Interim Possession Order, or IPO as it is commonly known, causes many a squatter’s heart to sink when they notice it in any court papers served. This is because if the judge grants the order there is a legal obligation on the squatters to leave the property within 24 hours. Any failure to comply could lead to legal sanctions involving immediate arrest, followed by possible fines and or imprisonment.

An IPO is a Possession order in the interim. There are always two court dates on papers for these orders. One for the IPO and one for the full possession order hearing. If the claimant win or lose the first hearing; the second or full possession order hearing always takes place anyway.

Because there are legal sanctions a much higher standard of evidence is required from a claimant using an IPO. This means they are actually quite hard to obtain. There seems to be many judges granting possession to claimants on straight up possession claims, even when there is compelling evidence from defendants that possession should not be granted. The reasoning being, ‘You are dirty squatters. Get out’. It is much harder for a judge to be that off hand when a criminal level of evidence is required

So don’t lose heart if you see the IPO among your court papers. Make a note of the time and day the papers were delivered and email, fax or take them by hand to ASS. Angel Alley 84b White chapel High St London E17 QX. 020 32160099 (phone), 020 032160098
(fax) advice@squatter.org.uk (email).

Hope to see you at the next Squattastic – watch this space!! 

SQUATTASTIC!

Calling all squatters and friends of squatters, for workshops, discussions and dinner from 2pm – 6pm on Sunday 15th July. Location to be announced a week before.
See you there!

Desperate times, desperate, deadly measures

These stickers are seen on wheelie bins around Brighton and Hove, the constituency of Mike Wetherly –  the MP that initially proposed the criminalisation of squatting. It’s a sign of a profoundly sick society when people are forced to take shelter where others dispose of their rubbish. 

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Also, the cartoon strip below was the central page feature in London and Scotland’s free magazine for the homeless (thepavement.org) April 2012 edition. What sort of ‘developed country’ are we living in when  human lives are being lost in such a horrific way? 

Welcome all to the new eviction resistance blog. We are a non hierarchical social movement that promotes peaceful resistance against evictions. We believe that everyone has a right to shelter and no one should be made homeless. We strongly advocate community power and encourage inter group collaboration. Please bear with us as we get this blog up and running, you can contact us by email, evictionresistance@squat.net / 07591 415860 for advice, support or if you’d like to get involved. 


The eviction resistance network is everybody who opposes homelessness. 

TOGETHER WE ARE THE RESISTANCE 


EVICTION RESISTANCE NETWORK


We provide support and advice to those facing eviction. Our support includes:

*Help with organising peaceful resistance and building local networks
*Providing legal observers to monitor evictions
*Advice on what to do in cases of illegal eviction
* Information on other support services
* Workshops on dealing with the police and bailiffs and legal observer training tailored for eviction support

We believe that housing is a human right and no one should be made homeless.  We are currently based in London and trying to help develop a London wide resistance network.

Resist all evictions! Community Power!
Contact us for more information.

Call: 07591 415860 (Giff Gaff Network)
Low credit? Dropped calls returned.

TOGETHER WE ARE THE RESISTANCE