Squatters take over derelict Barkingside pub
- Credit: Archant
Police were called to a Barkingside pub after four squatters entered a derelict Grade II listed building last Sunday (11).
The squatters from Suspense Property Guardians (SP) are seeking to strike an agreement with Cloverton Propertywhich owns The Doctor Johnson pub in Longwood Gardens.
A 41-year-old man - known only as “Gee” - and three other squatters wish to host community art events from the pub, once they have cleaned “inside and outside of the building”.
Speaking to the Recorder, he said: “The squatters came on Sunday (11) and we swept the front of the building just to let residents know something is being done about the mess.
“What we are try to do is find a building that has been left for a period of time,” added Gee, who said his group had targeted the building for around a year.
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“Our role is keeping the landlord honest. There is no one keeping them honest.”
Businesses in the area, along with Redbridge Cllr Alan Weinberg, have reacted with dismay to the news.
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Cllr Weinberg, the ward councillor for Clayhall, said Spirit must focus its efforts to evict the squatters.
He said: “Obviously we, the residents, abhor squatters on our street. It is down to the building owners to rid the building of squatters.”
Sharon May, 53, who runs cafe Freshly Made opposite the pub, called the situation “an absolute tragedy”.
Ms May, who has lived in Barkingside for 28 years, added: “It is absolute tragedy to see such a beautiful building in such disrepair.
“Everyone in the area talks about. It is turning into a slum - it is a shame.”
Stacy Ismael, owner of Paw-Fect in Longwood Gardens, said: “There are two sides to the coin when it comes to squatting - there are people who are homeless.
“From a business point of view it is not exactly helpful. It would be helpful if the pub was functioning as a business.”