A PROTEST is being planned after squatters were evicted early today from wasteland near York Barbican – amid claims and counter-claims about the legality of their removal.
Video footage has shown Patrick Thelwell, who set up the ‘Barbican community centre’ squat, being carried off the site in Kent Street by four security men, as dogs barked in the background.
He claimed that the eviction was illegal and said he would be consulting a solicitor, and said a peaceful protest was now being planned outside the site at 1pm tomorrow.
But Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, owner of the site which has lain empty since the former Barbican swimming pool and car park closed in 2004, said the squatters were ‘illegal trespassers’ who had been removed ‘in full accordance with well-established legal procedures.’
The Press reported earlier this week how squatters planned to stage ‘People’s Assemblies’ and live music, and open a library, on the site after occupying it.
They said they had received strong support from York people and many had donated to a fundraising website.
York council deputy leader Andy D’Agorne tweeted today that he had been ‘shocked to see footage of private bailiffs removing peaceful protesters this morning without any legal basis.’
Fellow Fishergate councillor Dave Taylor claimed today that the eviction was ‘unpleasant’ and possibly illegal, and said: “I’d like to thank the squatters for drawing attention to the fact that Persimmon Homes has sat on this land for many years, despite having two planning permissions from City of York Council to do something with it.”
He said it was time for ‘land banking’ to be made illegal.
York-based Persimmon Homes Yorkshire said in a statement to The Press:“The illegal trespassers at our Barbican site have been removed this morning in full accordance with well-established legal procedures.
“At our request, police officers were present at all times to monitor the situation. All but one of the trespassers left voluntarily when requested.
“The site has been made secure and we are continuing to review various options for the land’s future.”
More to follow.