The judge threw out the London Fire Service's Interim Possession Order (IPO) on Friday after it arose that papers for the 48-hour fasttrack eviction process were received FOUR days after it was squatted.
As previously reported on Indymedia London, the building was at the centre of a planning controversy after residents of the area signed a petition against it being converted into luxury flats on TWO separate occasions.
The Fire and Emergency planning authority then issued an Interim Possession Order for the building which was found in a bad condition by its current occupants.
The denial of the order means that the costs of this expensive procedure will be passed on to the taxpayer, but at least they will now be able to enjoy this much-needed community space in the heart of London.
One visitor to the social centre had earlier described the potential of the place. “After the government released its latest budget attacking pensioners and community areas we find the expensive eviction of these premises to make a mockery of Cameron’s Big Society model.
Another London resident was hopeful that the social centre could give local people a place to learn new skills and increase the sense of community stolen by austerity and depression. “This squatted social centre could become a focal point for people of all ages to get together and work to a better world. It also shows squatters that they can fight the illegal claims of landlords and even public authorities in court, and win! This demonstrates the social value of squatting which puts into use public buildings which have been abandoned by the authorities while highlighting the local battle for use of the site.”
The building has been disused since 2008 when the crisis first hit as bankers’ mistakes created a financial crisis which has affected millions in cuts to public welfare, health services and pensions.
As a new law to ban squatting is being discussed in the House of Lords, he added: “Social centres like this show how a disused public building can be put to effective use without expense to public purse. It seems that the only thing the government is concerned about promoting is projects that are run by multinational corporations in the interests of financial profit as opposed to cultural or social value.”
Workshops on bicycle maintenance, yoga and dance are being run throughout the open day at the space near Lambeth Bridge on the south side of the river almost directly in front of Parliament.
The success comes at a time when fire stations around the country are being shut down under budget cuts with some taken on by volunteers, a move which could the general public at risk, according to some analysts.