Reading's plucky squatters repel eviction !!

Gerrard Winstanley tony at
Fri Jun 22 18:37:33 BST 2007

Squatters survive eviction attempt

small picture here -

Squatters who turned a derelict drugs den into a community haven saw 
off council officials who came to send them packing yesterday.

The council planned to evict the gardeners from their base in Silver 
Street yesterday at 10am.

But the allotted time came and went and the council still had not 
turfed out the gardeners.

The squatters refused to leave the land voluntarily and Reading 
Borough Council officials did not remove them – but vowed they would 
do in the near future.

However, the officials also offered  the people involved – including 
some squatters – a new piece of land to be used as a garden.

But the hardworking gardeners, who have worked for months to create a 
peaceful sanctuary, were not interested.

Instead they asked the council staff to let them keep their existing 
garden and vowed to fight on.

Green Party member Rob White admitted he saw red when the council 
turned up, and was blue at the prospect of the garden closing.

The 28-year-old from Newtown, whose girlfriend Sam was involved in the 
garden, said: "I think evicting the gardeners is wrong, but to be 

"The council is going to try and evict people. But the garden is a 
positive example of what people can do."

His pal Gabriel, who did not want his full name printed, added: "I 
think the council officers turned up today as a scalping operation. 

"They are testing the depth of feeling. 

"Those who helped with the garden are all good people."

Sam, who also did not want her full name printed, stood up to the 
officials. She told them: "We want to keep the garden. 

"We are holding a meeting on Sunday to talk about why we have done 
this and what to do next."

She helped lock up the gate to the garden after the council officials, 
in maroon vans, showed up. 

Council spokesman Chris Branagan said yesterday: "The council obtained 
a possession order for 6 to 12 Silver Street on Monday, June 4. 

"Under the terms of that order, we were entitled to regain possession 
of the land immediately; but we did seek to not enforce the possession 
order until this morning in order to allow the current occupiers 
adequate time to leave. 

"As the group advised us this morning that they will not leave 
voluntarily, we will now take further action to obtain possession.

"The council has identified a potential site for an alternative 
community garden and, despite the group's rejection of our offer 
today, we are still prepared to talk to them about setting up a garden 
on an alternative site.

"Less than half the total area of the Silver Street site is owned by 
the council. 

"However, the landowners are working together to facilitate a 
comprehensive redevelopment."

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