Squatters fight to stay at Tottenham hospital

Gerrard Winstanley office at evnuk.org.uk
Sun Aug 13 14:45:03 BST 2006

Squatters fight to stay at old hospital
nlnews at archant.co.uk


09 August 2006
WE will not be moved: Megan Coombes (front) with other squatters at
Hornsey Central Hospital
WE will not be moved: Megan Coombes (front) with other squatters at
Hornsey Central Hospital
A GROUP of 20 squatters living in the nursing home attached to Hornsey
Central Hospital have stepped up their protest to remain there by
hanging a massive banner on the building.

The group have been there four months and were told to get out in July.

But they claim to have gone some way to restoring and maintaining a
building which otherwise would had been left to the mercy of vandals
and drug users.

The squatters - who have won many sympathisers in the area - do not
agree with plans to sell off parts of the building, in Park Road, to

They feel it should remain as a public building for the people of
Hornsey - something they say they will gladly step aside for.

Another group of squatters was evicted in February, after which the
site was left empty.

Megan Coombes, 25, an aspiring writer, who also works part time with
children, said: "This place was absolutely trashed in that time. The
building was completely unsecured. They just slung boards on it and
expected people not to come in. The kids really vandalised the building.

"There was evidence of serious drug use - needles, bits of tin foil,
even human faeces. We are not those kind of people. We would like to
change people's perceptions about squatters.

"This building is meant to be for the people of Hornsey and Haringey.
If we are here we look after the building and stop kids vandalising it
and hurting each other in it and stop vagrants from breaking in and
using the building.

"Our ideal situation would simply be to be left here until they are
going to do something with the building."

The group will spend this Saturday outside Hornsey Library gathering
signatures for a petition against their eviction.

The building has been empty since 2001 and a plan was recently devised
to sell a third of it to developers in order to fund refurbishments to
the rest.

Wendy Williams, of Park Road, who has protested about the closure of
the hospital from the outset, said: "I think it's an absolute scandal
that the hospital has been closed for five-and-a-half years with
nothing ready and no prospect of this 21st century health resource
centre which we have been promised.

"The sale of a third of the land should not be to private developers.
These buildings, as far as I'm concerned, belong to the public and the
public should be consulted."

A spokeswoman for Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care
Trust said: "We own the site on 149 Park Road, which used to be a
nursing home. The main part of the former Hornsey Central Hospital
site, which closed in 1998, is owned by Haringey Teaching PCT.

"The nursing home served Islington residents and when it was closed in
January 2004, the services previously based there were fully
re-provided in the borough.

"We have pursued this possession order through the courts as future
plans for the site are hampered by the presence of the squatters, the
damage they have caused, and the fact that we are unable to proceed
with the plans until the property is empty.

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