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Squatters given local backing to take on the council

June 06 2010
Herne Hill residents have petitioned Lambeth Council to let four squatters remain as neighbours Residents of the wealthy 'yummy mummy' area of Herne Hill, south London, have petitioned the council to let four squatters remain as neighbours in the five-room Mayall Road terrace they took over a year ago.

The creative intruders have ingratiated themselves partly through showing free weekly films. Local resident Rob Kerr, a consultant for BT, said: "The overwhelming majority of us want the squatters to stay."

Despite the backing, the council's property manager, Lambeth Living, has started a legal war to have them removed.

Deaf to the list of improvements the four have made, a spokesperson said: "Squatting is illegal and we take a zero-tolerance approach to all squatters... People who illegally occupy properties are depriving families - in genuine need and on the housing waiting list - of a permanent home."

According to the Advisory Service for Squatters, squatting is still legal in the UK. Although the house - just one of the borough's 865 empty properties - had been empty for three years before the takeover, the council is resolute. The legal battle continues.
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