Ham & High love us... EU hate us
Ecovillage Network UK
office at evnuk.org.uk
Wed Feb 15 13:32:52 GMT 2006
Street strives to save its ‘perfect squatters’
editorial at hamhigh.co.uk
10 February 2006
Squatters Justeo, Bernardo, Nadia and Jackson.
Picture by Polly Hancock
Golders Green residents are fighting to keep a merry band of squatters
they describe as "perfect neighbours"
A petition is being organised on Ravenscroft Avenue to save the group of
15 squatters, including a pregnant woman, who are being evicted from
their two neighbouring homes by property developer Pearl and Coutts.
Sophie Alexander, a mother of three, who lives next door to the group
said: "Nobody has complained about them. They knocked on the door the
day they moved in saying if there is any way we can be helpful just ask.
"They have tried so hard to please us - they are exemplary neighbours.
"There is an 80-year-old woman who lives opposite and they gave her
their mobile numbers in case she ever needs help and at night my
daughter feels much safer walking home knowing the house is not empty.
"Before they moved in the company let the garden get out of control so I
had to go there every morning with rubber gloves and disinfectant and
clean it myself.
"Nobody gives a damn about what will happen to them, that one of them is
pregnant and that it is winter outside.
"These kids have been clean and have done the right thing and now they
have just been thrown out like a bunch of old socks."
Islington based developer Pearl and Coutts won a court order on Monday
to evict the group with just 48 hours notice.
But the squatters, all in their 20s, say they need more time to arrange
a new place to live.
Elisa Silva, 24, who is due to have a baby in September, said: "At the
court no one wanted to hear us, they just said we had to go. "I have
been searching since the case was heard and we are going to try a
homeless shelter tomorrow.
"It's all so fast, I don't know why they couldn't just make an agreement
so we had a few weeks or something. We are not saying we want the right
to stay forever. We just said we wanted some time to sort out our
problems. We are not animals."
The houses have been totally renovated by the group, who all work as
artists, musicians and fashion designers.
Justeo Burgues, 29 from Spain said: "We love this place and are really
looking after it. They don't know what will happen to it when they throw
us out.Being London it will be full of junkies in two weeks or so. We
could stay until they knew what they wanted to do. That would be good
for us, good for the owners and good for neighbours."
But Pearl and Coutts residential investment manager Jonathan Hager said:
"I have been inundated with complaints about the squatters from one
"We have planning permission on half the site and will be applying for
the rest when they are out. The bailiff's officer will be writing a
letter to them very shortly."
katie.davies at hamhigh.co.uk
Squatters' right to title overturned by EU Court
A landmark ruling from Europe may have reversed 180 years of English law
by questioning the right of squatters to claim title to land they occupy.
In the case of Graham v. JA Pye heard in 1997, the Lords awarded the
Graham family possession of land near Thatcham, Berks, that they had
occupied and grazed for 14 years after their grazing licence expired.
But the case was taken before judges at the European Court of Human
Rights who overturned the original ruling and the registered owner of
the land, JA Pye of Oxford, has reclaimed it with a development value of
more than 10m.
Sarah Denney-Richards of MFG solicitors said the ruling would make it
much harder for squatters to make future claims to adverse possession.
Christopher Price at the Country Land and Business Association said the
decision showed how vital it was to register land at the Land Registry.
Legislation introduced in 2002 meant that squatters could not claim
possession of registered land without the owner being notified.
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