Cheltenham Squatter | 18.07.2008 13:23 | Free Spaces
They spent the next two days securing the squat, cleaning filth from the pub area, repairing fixtures, furniture and fittings and repairing damage caused by vandals including cleaning graffiti from the walls. The intention of the squatters was to turn the pub into a community arts centre, providing space for local people to meet, converse and express themselves freely.
However, after assumedly being informed by the police that the pub was being occupied, local property developer James Deacon decided to send some of his workers in, armed with sledgehammers and a chainsaw. They began to forcibly gain access to the property using the aforementioned tools. Due to the noise the squatters became aware of what was happening and tried to vacate the property. Their escape was hampered by the workers then using the tools to threaten the squatters, including a 19 year old girl who was backed into a corner with the running chainsaw, despite assurances that they were leaving.
After the squatters left the property they were then followed around the local area by Mr Deacon’s workers in vans, forcing them to beg for sanctuary in the homes of local residents, eventually escaping in the car of a local “good Samaritan” who was chased by the workers in vans for four miles before finally losing their pursuers.
Mr Deacon wants to convert the property into three houses and seven new flats, adding to congestion and overcrowding in the area, a project which has raised many objection s from local residents. To register your objections you can email Cheltenham Borough council at firstname.lastname@example.org .