Squatters occupying a former social centre on Grays Inn Road successfully resisted an eviction attempt by Camden Council on Friday 27 June.
Five occupants, who have been living at 238 Grays Inn Road, Holborn for more than four months were joined by campaigners who had organised an anti-eviction protest which took place at around 9am.
Bailiffs, hired to carry out the eviction, were turned away by the collective an hour after arriving. Several police officers were called in by the council to supervise the protest “in case [it] got out of hand.” Scotland Yard confirmed no arrests were made.
John Glackin, 44, a spokesperson for the five occupants said: “Around 30 people [attended the protest] – a mixture of local residents, activists, and a lot of squatters.”
“Ideally we’d like to talk with the council. We’d like the property to be used for the community – as a community centre, or for social housing.”
“But I think the council will come more forcefully. They might seek a High Court ruling, but ideally we would like to enter a dialogue with them.”
The Listed Building, which has been vacant since 2006, is now decorated with anti-homelessness banners, and placards.
It had previously been occupied for two weeks in early February by the activist group Banks of Ideas, and is sporadically used as a hangout for locals.
Squatting a residential building was made illegal in 2012, although it is not a crime to occupy a non-residential or commercial property, such as the derelict former social centre on Grays Inn Road.
Camden Council confirmed there are no plans at present to redevelop the property, but would consider offering the lease to a business tenant.
A spokesperson from the council said: “A survey carried out by the council identified a substantial amount of work which would be required to bring the premises back into use.”
“The council does not consider that it can justify making this investment given current financial pressures, so is proposing to offer the property on the market on a long least.”
“Although an Order for Possession has recently been obtained, when the court bailiff attended last week the occupiers refused to leave the premises.”
“We hope to secure possession shortly and will then take all possible steps to bring the property back into beneficial business use.”