Squatters occupying a former office building in Peterborough may resist eviction after a court ruling which will force them to leave the premises by the end of the week.
Peterborough City Council was successful in securing an interim possession order which means the squatters will have to leave the council-owned Aqua House, at East Station Road, 24 hours after being served with the order.
The order has to be delivered within 48 hours of being granted by the court, which quickly sided with the council after hearing the case yesterday afternoon.
The protesters, calling themselves Peterborough Squatters Autonomy, have not decided whether they will resist eviction, but will issue a press release on their Facebook page.
Their representative in the county court, who would not give his name in court or outside for fear of attack, said the group would make a democratic decision on how it would proceed.
He added: “The ruling was pretty much what we thought would happen, but I do not see why it did. The building has been damaged and we’ve been making it more secure.”
The representative told Deputy District Judge Tattersall that the squatters had been housing and feeding homeless people after moving into Aqua House on Saturday, May 16.
He said: “If you grant this order these people will be back on the street and will go back to crime.”
The representative claimed the public owned the building, due to it belonging to the council, but his claims were dismissed by Judge Tattersall who said: “I do not want to get involved in a political debate.
“If they own the land you have no right to be there.
“Whilst I do not doubt your genuineness and passion, there’s no alternative.”
The protesters have been displaying banners and posters on Aqua House since moving in which have hit out at austerity and changes to public services.
Legal proceedings by the council to remove the squatters began on Wednesday, May 20
Two police officers were present with the squatters in court and the force has been visiting Aqua House on a regular basis.
Last week, the squatters said they have had so many donations of food and drink they were planning to distribute some to the homeless.