SQUATTERS fighting to preserve a derelict nursery in Lyminster have told of their disappointed after they were evicted on Friday (February 13).
Eight bailiffs, accompanied by six police officers and staff from Arun District Council, finally removed the four activists from the Meadview Centre, in Lyminster Road, after a month-long battle for possession.
The squatters, who were all part of the Rainbow Common Wealth, have since criticised Arun’s actions, branding them ‘the public enemy’.
Phoebe Richards, who lives at an address in Littlehampton, was one of those helping to co-ordinate the team occupying Meadview.
The 30-year-old said: “Obviously I’m disappointed with the council. They’re public servants and are meant to be serving the community but they’re not. They are the public’s enemy ripping off the community. We’ve only ever acted in kindness to try and make this site a better place.
“So it’s pretty obvious who the public’s enemy is.”
Arun had previously tried to have the group evicted last month. However, these efforts failed when some of the squatters took to the roof of the abandoned community hub. The activists have since been working to clear the centre of weeds and rubbish.
They had hoped it could be converted into a prime asset for parents home-tutoring their children, like Phoebe.
“It’s not like we were doing anything criminal here,” she added. “They are treating us as if we were a bunch of criminals doing drugs. We are peaceful people trying to renovate a space for the community to use.”
The site is now earmarked for a new horticultural nursery. A spokesman for Arun said the illegal occupation was preventing the future operation of a new business capable of employing local people.
He added Arun had had no formal representation from the squatters about using the site and that Arun had never planned to use it as anything other than a horticultural nursery.