Bristol squatters: We won't let Tesco get Jesters Comedy Club without a fight
Squatters who have taken over a former comedy club in Stokes Croft in protest at plans to turn it into a Tesco say they will fight moves to evict them.
Last week at a hearing at Bristol County Court, a repossession order was granted to Tesco, leaving the squatters at the former Jesters Comedy Club in Cheltenham Road waiting for an eviction notice to be served.
They moved in at the start of February, putting up a sign that read: "Tesco – Every little hurts."
In a message sent from "The Tesco squat crew" to members of Facebook group set up for people interested in the issue, they explained the court proceedings and said: "There should be a notice period of 48 hours and this time will be used to defend the site."
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No one at the site yesterday would comment about the lengths they would go to in an attempt to keep bailiffs out.
But they appealed for supporters to join them when the authorities arrive to show the strength of local feeling.
One of the group inside the former comedy club, Paul Saville, 24, a student who lives in Fishponds, said: "We think it will be soon. When we get the letter through the door, it will be a matter of spreading the word. We would like as much support here as possible when the bailiffs arrive."
Another member of the group, 25-year-old Paul Harwood, who lives in Stokes Croft, said: "If 3,000 people surrounded the building, the bailiffs would struggle to get to the building. We want as many people as possible to be here, to have a presence."
The group have set up a "phone tree" to let people know when the bailiffs are due. A phone number that people can text for more information is in the window of the building, and chalked on the pavement outside.
Since the squatting group have occupied the building, they have been using it and offering it as a community space, for concerts, meals and other events.
Mr Saville said: "It has been great. We've had everything from poetry events to community bingo – we couldn't find any bingo balls so we used some old potatoes chopped in half. It's been good to get people in here in the evenings, and people come in to see what's going on when they walk past in the day, or just look in through the windows."
There has been a large amount of local opposition to the decision to change the use of the club to a supermarket, and residents have claimed that there was a lack of community consultation.
Last month dozens of people marched along Cheltenham Road to show their support for the squatters and their opposition to Tesco.