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, 09:00
Celebrating at the Pole

A man has braved life in sub-zero temperatures, trekking 100 miles to the North Pole where he was one of the first men to ever play a full game of rugby for charity.

Fri, 17:15
An artist's impression of the tree office

London’s first ever ‘tree office’ in the heart of Hackney’s Tech City will provide a unique solution to London’s work space shortage when it launches next month.

Fri, 16:54
The winning building in Tabernacle Street

A Shoreditch nightclub decimated by a fire - famously started by a kiss - has risen from the ashes in the form of an office, and is now one of 38 of RIBA’s winning projects demonstrating exceptional new architecture in London.

Fri, 15:23
Samantha Baines

From touring the pub comedy circuit and hosting radio shows to winning awards and landing a blockbuster film role, comedian and actress Samantha Baines has been busy entertaining audiences with her fresh comic style.

Most read news

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Digital Edition

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


Our trusted business finder