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Cottage of Content Occupation Comes to a Close

Jack Writer | 17.09.2006 18:13 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | Birmingham

On Friday 15th September 2006 the occupation of the Cottage of Content social centre in Sparkbrook came to a close.

The occupation was started on the 9th of July 2006 by a local collective intent on securing the community resource from auction proposed by Birmingham City Council. The occupation lasted 69 days.

At approximately 7:45am high court bailiffs and a Council official who initially refused to identify himself forcibly evicted the occupiers of 147 Kyrwicks Lane, Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

Bailiffs encountered barricades and passive resistance which halted the eviction for one hour. Local people gathered together opposite the neglected community centre to offer verbal support and witness the forceful eviction.

One onlooker, Mrs D, commented: "There was no need for the force used to evict these people, do they do this kind of thing to families? What if that poor guy had been a pregnant women, would they have done the same? Shame on them!"

Local communities supported the occupation – which sought to restore the neglected community space back to community use. Local people were involved in public meetings and discussions about the future of the Cottage, expressing a common desire for the council to rethink its intentions of selling the property off.

However on the 7th September 2006, Birmingham City Council won a possession order from Judge Savage regarding the Cottage of Content.

On Friday morning, bailiffs tried to persuade the occupiers to leave, who refused and made clear their intentions of resisting the eviction. Following this, bailiffs called the police who are said to have refused to identify themselves. Police officers claimed that a reporter from Indymedia was disturbing the peace.

The bailiffs finally entered the property by taking the front door off its hinges with a crowbar. Another bailiff damaged a wooden fence repaired by the occupiers as part of their restoration of the building.

Entry to the building was met by passive resistance, with those involved linking arms and legs. One bailiff was taken away in an ambulance for straining his lower back, and several members of the resistance also sustained injuries, one being taken to casualty.

Jack Writer
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Hide the following 2 comments


19.09.2006 08:32

Jack Reader...

....and what?


Jack Writer