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Squatter group Suspenses Property Guardians host community concert at The Doctor Johnson pub in Barkingside

Smokey Love (left) and Too Explicit play at a squat gig Smokey Love (left) and Too Explicit play at a squat gig

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
12:18 PM

A group of squatters who are attempting to re-open a derelict Grade II listed pub for the community have hailed a concert in the site’s car park a success.

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Gee is part of four squatters claiming to be a group called Suspenses Property Guardians (SPG) who entered the Doctor Johnson Pub in Barkinside last monthGee is part of four squatters claiming to be a group called Suspenses Property Guardians (SPG) who entered the Doctor Johnson Pub in Barkinside last month

Suspenses Property Guardians (SPG) put on a two and a half hour concert at the Doctor Johnson Pub in Longwood Gardens, Barkingside on Sunday (15) afternoon, in an attempt to show residents their aims for the venue.

The group has been attempting to strike a deal with owners Cloverton Properties Limited since entering the property in May.

Four men - Marco, from France, Radoslaw, from Poland, French-Moroccan Nabil, and group leader Gee - from Suspenses Property Guardians left the pub six days later as part of their attempts to remain on good terms with Cloverton Properties Limited.

Gee, 41, said the positive reaction of residents living near the pub, many of whom were contacted by SPG before the concert took place, was one of the most pleasing aspects of the concert.

Gee (2nd from right) and three other squatters who were part of the Suspenses Property Guardians (SPG) group inside the Doctor Johnson Pub in BarkingsideGee (2nd from right) and three other squatters who were part of the Suspenses Property Guardians (SPG) group inside the Doctor Johnson Pub in Barkingside

He said: “We had a really good reaction and when the police arrived they were awesome, too.”

“We unpacked all the equipment and then we packed it all up again two and a half hours later, but it was very valuable.

“People have said that they are glad someone is doing something - that was really positive for us.”

Redbridge Cllr Alan Weinberg attended the concert and discussed with Suspenses Property Guardians their plans for the building.

“I said to them whatever plans you have are subject to the owners saying that they are able to stay for a set period of time,” said Cllr Weinberg.

“It is not whether I support the squatters - they need to meet with residents not just from Clayhall but in Barkingside, too. I will go by the residents.”

John Sharrock, chairman of community group Barkingside 21, said neither he nor his members knew enough about the group to make an informed decision.

He said: “I do not think we know enough about them. My immediate reaction is if you do not own a place, you do not have a right to it.”

Ilford North MP Lee Scott said he has not been contacted by any residents in support of the squatters.

Ilford North MP Lee Scott said he has not been contacted by any residents in support of the squatters.

He said: “I am against anyone breaking the law. If they could come to an agreement with the owners about community usage then that is different.

“Someone will have to buy the site - I cannot see the owners giving the site away.”

Cloverton Properties Limited declined to comment when approached by the Ilford Recorder.

Do you live near to the Doctor Johnson pub in Longwood Gardens, Barkingside? What do you think about the ongoing situation regarding squatter group Suspenses Property Guardians? Call the newsdesk on 0208 477 3825

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