Former Barclays gets squatters

UPDATED: The former Barclays bank on Wanstead High Street appears to have acquired squatters. Sainsbury’s, which now owns the building, has told Wansteadium it is sending bailiffs to the site as soon possible.

An upstairs window at the building is open but it’s not clear how the building was entered. Police attended the scene, and according to one eye-witness, debated with the people inside and shook hands with them. One eye-witness said: “The police have been called twice and there is nothing they can do. The squatters are in now – got dropped off in a van with all their goods. They are all hanging outside the bank as they don’t have a garden.”

Squatting in non-residential property in England is not normally a crime in itself, though causing damage or using electricity in the building could lead to police action.

The former bank has been empty since July 2014, and is currently waiting for Sainsbury’s to decide what it is going to do with the site. The supermarket is reviewing its plans “and looking at a number of options for a store on the site”, a spokesman confirmed today.

22 thoughts on “Former Barclays gets squatters”

  1. Good for them. A perfectly reasonable property standing empty for two years – it’s far better that its used and occupied than left to rot.

  2. Oh, I don’t know, some resident squatters on a “Village” High Street is rather the thing nowadays – If you’re lucky they may open an organic coffee, cake and book shop that sells gifts and cards.

    Seriously though, what harm are they doing in occupying an empty building on an urban High Street, seems a good use of resources.

    1. Assuming they’re law abiding and respectful (and I have no reason to doubt that they are), as you say, it’s a good use for an empty building when there’s a shortage of places to live.

  3. I had to pay for my house. And tax on my earnings.

    Oh well, the poor darlings probably had a tough childhood.

  4. Getting a squat in Hackney is very competitive these days.

    For those looking to get in via a ladder, it is not surprising they have to look east; have some sympathy.

    Wasn’t so long ago that Soapy tied himself to a tree on Cambridge Park.

    1. Absolutely in the Cornerhouse and before the fire they ripped out some of the beautiful fireplaces. It is a shame it has been left empty for so long.

  5. For those who might have or want to simpathise to these squaters, please, read this article from the Guardian and than for a little time try to imagine and put yourself with your family in the same shoes of those families who live in the flats above. Imagine your child going out of your house and facing a stranger in your property who appears were smoking or using drugs. Is that what you want to happen in your house? Or wish to happen with your neighbour? Or anywere in our beloved Wanstead? Is that those families who lives there are do not our neighbours, that we should not worry about them? You have seen these squatters outside, may have heard what they are saying? But have you seen what is happening inside? The commercial part of the building is well knowingly is under the refurbishment. Any attempts of usage of electricity might be potentially fire hazardous. And that is could cause a big danger to the families who live above. Also to the buildings next to it. And finally look of our High Street could be destroyed for a very long time. Just because we didn’t liked the idea of Sainsbury’s coming it is not meant that we have to cheer everyone who comes and cause the problems to them and who hides behind good causes but in fact are selfish, careless, moral-less, easylife-wanters and etc.

  6. Well i feel sorry for the gentleman that lives above Barclays he said:
    Jamshed a father-of-five who lives above the new squat in High Street says he is “very distressed” that the group appear to have got in using his private door.

    The 35-year-old said: “These people have come inside our property when my wife and children were vulnerable inside.

    “My 10-year-old son went outside at around 6am and came back in saying it smelt funny and there were people there.

    “When I went out there to check what was happening there was a strong smell of cannabis and all these people with loads of their stuff.

    So they may be in the Bank but it seems they broke in through a residential part of the property.

  7. Oh lord, out come the soppy Liberalista. How I would love them to come home from their Umbrian villa to find squatters next door. The law is a total ass in this area. Any legal owner of a property – whether it’s commercial or not is irrelevant – should be able expel them immediately. What’s more, they should be prosecuted for trespass.

  8. This is what happens when you are all too middle class to want a Sainsburys or Macdonalds etc… What else is going to happen with empty units.

    You did this..

    1. Er…nobody here “did” anything. The building is empty not because of any comments on a website, LOL. It’s empty because the new owners are taking their own sweet time getting it ready for its new purpose.

      And the only reason some don’t want a Sainsburys is because we already have a Tesco, a Co-Op and apparently a Waitrose soon to arrive. McDonalds — we already have too many eateries of all kinds, and there’s a McDonalds just over the other side of the Green Man intersection.

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