Squatters turn former Hendon FC ground in to 'refugee camp'
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Jun 5 19:55:40 BST 2013
Neighbours' frustration as squatters turn former Hendon FC ground in to 'refugee camp'
4:12pm Wednesday 5th June 2013 in News
By Chris Hewett
Rubble and materials at the council-owned property have been used to construct rows of up to 15 temporary huts occupied by the squatters
A "refugee camp" of Eastern European migrants is blighting the lives of neighbours who say more needs to be done to clean up the site.
Up to 40 squatters are living in the demolished Hendon Football Club ground, which has lay empty in Claremont Road, Brent Cross, for several years.
Rubble and materials at the council-owned property have been used to construct rows of up to 15 temporary huts occupied by the squatters, believed to be largely of Eastern European descent.
Neighbours say the occupants are littering around the site, creating an eyesore, and nightly fires which they use to cook food are causing a disturbance.
Police have been instructed to carry out regular visits to the site but neighbours say Barnet Council is failing to adequately deal with the problem.
The authority has evicted squatters on at least three occasions in the past but a permanent solution has not been found.
Shirley Davey has lived opposite the football ground for the past 60 years and has contacted the council regarding the lasted occupants on several occasions.
She said: "It has been like it for months with these huts up. It is always the same I contact the council but nothing is done.
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"You look out of your window and it's all you can see it's like a refugee camp. I'm sick of it."
A council spokesman said: "The council is aware of the squatters living on the site.
"Over a number of years we have been working closely with the police, who visit the site regularly, the leaseholder and homeless charities to clear the area and repatriate the squatters.
"Despite repeated attempts to secure the site, it has been illegally re-occupied by squatters on at least three occasions.
"The council has been trying to sell the freehold of the site for a number of years, but this has been delayed due to a number of legal challenges. We are currently working towards the eventual disposal of the freehold interest in the site."
Father-of-one Edward Espino, of Claremont Road, said he had sympathy with the desperate occupants of the run down ground.
The 46-year-old said: "We feel sorry for them no-one wants to live like that. But it is not the sort of thing you want to be living opposite.
"Someone needs to come down and provide some help to these people and clean the place up. This is our home."
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