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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 15:17 GMT
'Oldest squat' residents evicted
Police officers in riot gear
About 200 police in full riot gear were on the scene
More than 150 people living in what is thought to be London's oldest squat are being evicted to make way for a new housing development.

About 200 police in full riot gear and 20 police vans have been providing back up to enforcement officers in St Agnes Place in Kennington, south London.

Lambeth Council won a High Court battle to remove those living in around 21 houses in the street this month.

Eight houses, which were squats for 30 years, have been cleared peacefully.

Lambeth Council plans to demolish the houses and replace them with new homes - at least 75% affordable housing - and a sports centre.

'No roof'

The council said it hoped the eviction was peaceful and it would provide alternative accommodation to the vulnerable and those with children.

Some families have been rehoused, while others are more determined to stay put.

View of St Agnes Place
New homes and a sports centre would replace the squats

Squatter Delroy Brown said: "I have got no roof over my head...so I had to wait until they had broken the door down and then they came in and told me to take everything out."

Another squatter, who did not wish to be named, said there was a lot of resistance among residents and many had built "devices" to keep bailiffs out.

Mary Lynch, of Lambeth Council, told BBC News: "We have tried many strategies to clear this street which has been long-term squatted by people who have not been paying rent for those dwellings."

It is estimated unpaid rent on the properties over 30 years amounted to 4m, plus a further 400,000 in council tax.

In a statement, Lambeth Council said it has a responsibility to its 40,000 lawful tenants, as well as 12,000 people on the housing waiting list.

"Lambeth is of the strong opinion that council tenants and council tax payers should not be subsidising squatters."




SEE ALSO:
London's oldest squat faces end
04 Nov 05 |  London


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