David vs Goliath
Although at least two other squatters occupy nearby properties which Hammerson claim to own, the attempts to evict Bowl Court came about only as it became apparent that the social centre was becoming involved in the local campaigns against the redevelopment plans for the area. The company had been informed of the occupation on the 24th March but only made moves to repossess the property three weeks ago.
In court, the defendants questioned the evidence presented by the claimants regarding ownership. Their land registry title was contradicted by titles known to be held by other companies. There was also issue over whether the notice of the proceedings had been correctly served as residential property requires five days clear notice but only three had been given. With no professional representation, the defendants were unable to put together a robust defense and also found themselves threatened with over £21,000 in costs. However, the judge also considered the costs to be outrageously inflated an choose to award just £2,500 in costs.
The future of the social centre is now obviously in doubt but in the meantime events continue as normal. See http://www.bowlcourt.co.nr for details.