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"Nightmare" squatters return to former police building in St Mark's

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 26, 2013

  • 'WE INTEND TO STAY': The Church Road, St Mark's house in Cheltenham, which squatters have claimed

Comments (16)

"NIGHTMARE" squatters have returned to a former police house opposite a Cheltenham church.

They were seen moving into numbers 32 and 34 in Church Road, near St Mark's Church, at the weekend.

And neighbours say one of the squatters was driving a BMW sports car.

They also said the squatters had been "a nightmare", playing loud music and shouting while holding all-night parties.

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One woman, who asked not to be named, said: "They have been very disruptive.

"People come and go from the place at all times of night, and they have had all-night parties which have been really noisy. When they are there, it can be a nightmare for the rest of us." Another woman, who also wanted to be anonymous, said: "They are often outside drinking and eating, and the cans and pizza boxes pile up. The place looks a mess."

Developer New Dawn Homes has planning permission to demolish the property, which has been vacant for years, and build seven houses on the site.

Angela Hughes, the director, said she had the utilities cut off at the building after initially receiving reports of the squatters being there in summer last year.

She added that she had not received reports of them being there since. From April this year it will be a criminal offence to squat in a residential building, however the Church Road properties are currently commercial premises.

The signs the squatters placed on the doors said: "We live in this property, it is our home and we intend to stay here.

"Any entry or attempt to enter into this property without our permission is a criminal offence. If you attempt to enter by violence or by threatening violence we will prosecute you. If you want to get us out you will have to take out a summons for possession in the county court or in the High Court."

Experts at Cheltenham solicitors firm BPE say New Dawn Homes could face a long legal wrangle if the squatters are inside the property when they want to demolish the building.

It was believed they had left the properties, which are joined together, after the owner cut off the electricity, gas and water.

The squatters first moved into the building last summer.

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16 comments

  • Geoffrey37  |  February 28 2013, 4:10PM

    These people behave like crazy animals, i heard one of the squatters ate 30 pickled eggs at once just for a cone of chips and then decided not to eat the chips

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  • bonzaharris1  |  February 26 2013, 11:22PM

    I thought squatting was now illegal, so why not just break down the door and arrest them ?

    Rate   -2
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  • Brad75  |  February 26 2013, 11:02PM

    If the developer knew the squatters were there since last summer how come they still had power to have parties? I smell a rat! Do we think the developer is avoiding council tax?

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  • tishwash  |  February 26 2013, 8:34PM

    "after initially receiving reports of the squatters being there in summer last year." Perhaps Cheltenham Council should look at selling these properties cheaply to people wanting a home ? Rather than to developers who sit on the property for months ?

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  • Isabella21  |  February 26 2013, 6:33PM

    They should hang-on...When Heather's kids start mass-producing and the council build them properties, there will be plenty of rooms going at Heather's place!

    Rate   -3
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  • DEvans  |  February 26 2013, 4:45PM

    isnt it funny (peculiar) that squatters always know the law but we dont!! Order a tank of fertilizer and pump it i through the letterbox

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  • geraint2010  |  February 26 2013, 4:01PM

    If property is allowed to remain empty then I normally have few qualms about squatters taking up residence. However the disgusting and totally selfish behaviour of this lot gives the cause of homeless and dispossessed people a bad name. They should be forcibly removed immediately.

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  • Paul_64  |  February 26 2013, 2:07PM

    Squatting in nonresidential properties from www gov uk: https://http://tinyurl.com/a6dxu7p Getting your non-residential property back If you own the property that has been squatted, you can use an interim possession order (IPO) to get your property back quickly. Court action If you follow the right procedure, you can usually get one issued by the courts within a few days. To get final possession of the property, you must also make an application for possession when you apply for the IPO. Once squatters are served with an IPO, they must leave the property within 24 hours. If they don't, they're committing a crime and could serve up to 6 months in prison. It's also a crime for them to return to the property within 12 months.

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  • Matt1006  |  February 26 2013, 12:29PM

    pingu61 - I like your line of reasoning. Then prosecute them for occupying a building as a residence without having obtained formal Planning Permission to do so, and also charge them for Council Tax...!!! The article is incorrect where it states "From April this year it will be a criminal offence to squat in a residential building" - this law came into being on 1st September 2012. However, I'm not aware of any cases (locally, or nationally) where illegal squatters have then been cleared out / arrested by the police under this new-ish law. Most probably because the squatters are fully aware of the chnages, and aren't occupying residential buildings any more, knowing that the new law doesn't apply to non-residential buildings. This needs to be changed, to cover all buildings, and it has been discussed by various MP's but so far no sign of any changes being pushed through.

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  • georgette2010  |  February 26 2013, 12:24PM

    Perhaps if it were still occupied by the police, this would never have happened. And the moral of this story is....well, perhaps you should ask "Call Me Dave" for the answer.

    Rate   -2
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