The squatters were represented by one of their number, Rob Nash, and relied on the human right to housing – which is rarely successful against private landlords and was dismissed quickly. A supporter, Mary Hunter, who attended the trial said: “The Judge was interested in our case and partly understood but he said right there that he isn’t allowed to do the right thing because it’s against the law.”
They then appealed to Mr Kandola to allow them to stay until the next tenant was ready to move the builders in and to see them as preferable to what may happen to the building were they not there. Speaking after court, Rob Nash commented: “The landlord wasn’t interested in speaking to us, or making a sensible agreement. When I suggested that we move out on our own and save them the cost of bailiffs, their lawyer laughed and said ‘what is a week’s rent worth?’ They won 250 court costs against me, plus VAT. And that was after reducing it because I have no money. The fear of court costs keeps lots of ordinary people from being able to stand up and defend ourselves in court.”
The group calling themselves OCSET say the project is not dead and will pop up somewhere else soon.