Oxford social centre gets stay of execution

25.08.2011
The squatted social centre known as "Plebs' college" was in court this morning for an eviction hearing.

About 10-15 supporters crowded into the public gallery while a couple sat at the front to address the court.

There were, of course, the usual comedy moments that occur when a large group of people is forced to remain serious at a formal-but-slightly-ridiculous event.

The judge claimed that none of our defences amounted to a valid legal defence, and informed us with an affable demeanour that "you might be doing something very worthwhile and meritorious with the place, but you don't have a right to be there" and "you may very well be homeless but you can't stay on someone else's property".

Still, we had apparently gained his sympathies; he suggested to the owner's solicitor that they undertake not to make use of the possession order for at least 7 days, and pointed out that it would likely take another 7 days beyond that to arrange bailiffs.

They agreed, and so we have the place for another 1-2 weeks.

One down-side is that the judge agreed to allow the owners to apply to the High Court for enforcement if necessary; which means if they need to they can send bailiffs with more powers (though they are also more expensive for the owner).

The judge finished with the comment: "I hope you find somewhere else". Incitement and encouragement to continue the project in another squatted space? Well, perhaps...

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From previous report from 14th August:
An empty industrial workshop in East Oxford has been squatted by a group planning to use it for community and social events, an organising base for local radicals and living space too.

We had our first visit from the cops today. To cut a long story short, they managed to coerce their way in by waving around battering rams and threats of arrest. But after wandering around and failing to find any evidence of theft or damage, they left.. leaving us pleasantly mystified. Not sure why they didn't kick us out when they physically had the chance; there are many theories.

Still, now that first encounter is out of the way we can now get down to business. A freeshop, bookswap library, community meals and freeschool events are some ideas we have for starters, but we want your ideas too! If you have an idea for an event or project, get in touch or come and chat.

We're at 55 Randolph Street, which is here:
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=51.745114&mlon=-1.234634&zoom=16
...unfortunately at the moment getting in involves hopping over the front wall to get into the courtyard. This can be done using the neighbours' front wall (luckily the folks in that house seem to be pretty sympathetic). If you need a hand with this give us a wave from the road.

Useful things you could bring:
-mattresses or bedding
-electrical or plumbing skills
-food and/or water

If you don't have time to visit us in person you can reach us at:
oxsquat@riseup.net