Let’s move forward


The Squatters Network of Brighton [And Hove Actually]) has become increasingly concerned about the distress and misery that Government policy on squatters can cause. Law-abiding squatters who work hard for a living can spend a lot of time repairing damage to occupied buildings and clearing up the debris that unscrupulous owners have left behind.

We have met squatters and corresponded with members of the public who have expressed concern about the appalling impact Government policy on squatting has had on their properties or local neighbourhoods. We are also aware of smear campaigns in the media about noble squatters occupying residential properties in London, although we know the solution of squatting is not confined to the capital nor to affluent residential properties.

The Squatters Network of Brighton [And Hove Actually]) does accept the claim that is sometimes made that squatting is a reasonable recourse of the homeless resulting from social deprivation. There are avenues open to those who are genuinely destitute and who need shelter. When those have been explored without success, there is always the final step of occupying an empty property. No matter how compelling or difficult the owner’s own circumstances, it is wrong that legitimate occupants should be deprived of the use of a clearly unused property.

Of course, the Government must also tackle problems affecting the wider housing market and bring more empty homes back into productive use.

The Squatters Network of Brighton [And Hove Actually]) acknowledges that squatting can have a positive impact on the enforcement authorities, local authorities, homeless charities and other organisations. Any option we decide to pursue as a result of a squatting action is necessary and proportionate, based on evidence of the scale of the problem and the effectiveness of current sanctions. Squats need to be workable and affordable, taking account of the current economic climate and reduction in government expenditure. Ultimately, once our freedoms are outlawed only us outlaws are free.

There should be no doubt about the seriousness with which the Squatters Network of Brighton [And Hove Actually]) treats this issue or our determination to tackle this problem. The Advisory Service for Squatters has already published guidance for squatters under existing legislation (the excellent Squatters Handbook).

We will keep on squatting the empties.

The Squatters Network of Brighton [And Hove Actually])

With many thanks to Little Lord Crispin ‘Let’s Be’ Blunt’s Foreword to ‘Options for dealing with squatting’ A