Search

Squatters invade heritage building earmarked for Hackney community centre

09:21 21 May 2014

Squatters at the Old School House in Hackney.

Squatters at the Old School House in Hackney.

Archant

Campaigners in Hackney are distraught that a Grade II listed building they have earmarked to turn into a community centre has been taken over by squatters.

The squatters are allegedly defecating in the Old School House yard behind the makeshift curtain. Photo by Kriss Lee, @CLiPiCs.The squatters are allegedly defecating in the Old School House yard behind the makeshift curtain. Photo by Kriss Lee, @CLiPiCs.

The group of people who have taken over The Old School House in Lea Bridge Road, Lower Clapton, and are allegedly defecating and urinating in the yard behind a makeshift curtain, have been quick to remind passers-by of their rights.

A typed note stuck on the gates explains that as the building is not residential, they are entitled to occupy it until a claim is made in the county court for repossession.

They have also warned anyone thinking of entering the building using violence they will press for prosecution, which entails six months prosecution and a £5,000 fine.

“Take notice that we occupy this property and at all times there is at least one person in occupation,” it says, alongside another notice saying they have a dog.

In 2009 housing developer Vision Homes a section 106 agreement was signed promising the 18th century building could be turned into a community heritage centre in return for securing planning permission to build housing on Paradise Dock nearby.

But the community needed to raise around half a million pounds which it has still not managed to do.

Now Vision Homes wants to convert the dilapidated building into two two-bedroom flats, and last September put in a planning application for change of use from a visitor centre and museum to residential.

Cllr Linda Kelly, who has been leading the Clapton Arts Trust community group bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund, is fearful the historic building – which was once a mission school for the children of itinerant riverboat people and workers – will be damaged by the squatters.

“We are so afraid, we are worried they will damage the heritage part of the building or they could start a fire in there,” she said.

“The building needs so much tender loving care to bring it back to its former glory and these people aren’t helping that at all.

She continued: “If you close your eyes and picture the schoolroom with cobbled streets on one side, it’s so quaint and authentic, you go back to the time it was built, people have asked for film shoots there, it’s that beautiful.

“We’re wondering how they got into it in the first place because the gate is coded.

“It’s one of the last remaining legacies Hackney has and it’s a shame to see this has happened.”

The squatters declined to comment, as did Vision Homes.

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:00
Boddington

A leading tech boss has called for more action to get girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at school and for Tech City to become more multicultural.

Yesterday, 15:12
Current Cycle Track

More than 200 residents have signed a petition against plans to sever a popular cycling route in Hackney Wick and replace the busy one-way street with a two-way system.

Yesterday, 12:15
Police believe this man can help with their enquiries (Picture: Met Police)

The hunt is on for a pervert who sexually assaulted a woman on a Hackney bus as it drove near Shoreditch Town Hall.

Sunday, July 26, 2015
Ania Hardy

Soulful singer-songwriter, Ania Hardy, who has been described as the “sonic love-child of Bill Withers and Ella Fitzgerald” has just released her first record, after overcoming a childhood fear of singing which lasted nearly two decades.

Most read news

Competitions

Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hackney Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder