Neighbourly squatters move out of old bank
A GROUP of squatters have moved out of a former bank in Clifton.
They moved into the large building at 131 Pembroke Road three weeks ago in the early hours of Sunday, September 30.
The squatters said the building was previously used as a private bank by Lloyds TSB, and that the freehold is owned by Coventry Diocese Finance Board.
Lloyds TSB confirmed it was responsible for the building – and the squatters claimed the company holds the leasehold for it until 2018.
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After being served with an eviction notice by Lloyds a group of six men moved out yesterday.
They held up signs proclaiming "Best squat evah!" and "Another banking mess up".
They also made an oversized silver key out of cardboard and foil to give to the bailiffs as a "symbolic gesture".
In a statement to neighbours when they moved in, members of the group said they needed somewhere to live as they had been evicted from their last squat.
They also said that their temporary stay would not cause neighbours any noise or nuisance.
"As a group of homeless people with no money we're enjoying getting one back at the financial system which always seems to get public money thrown at it when they're in trouble," they said.
The squatters claimed they gained entry to the house through an open window at the back of the property.
Speaking to The Post yesterday, one of the squatters, Barry Fry, said: "We made the key as a symbolic hand-over act to physically represent that we were giving the building back. None of us know where we are going next and being homeless isn't much fun in the winter – it's very much hard work. It's a shame to leave this building is it usually just sits empty.
"We don't see it as a mansion, we just see it as a roof over our heads.
"The number of rooms it has is secondary. The neighbours seem to have been fine with having us here. We've been quiet and peaceful and haven't caused a nuisance.
"We also want to make the point that we have kept the house in good order – there is no graffiti or mess and all of the brass door knobs, chandeliers and copper piping are as we found them."
As the squatters left yesterday they piled up mattresses, sofa cushions, pillows, rucksacks, three guitars, a wheelchair and a toolbox.
They had bagged up rubbish, as well as recycling, and no damage or mess was visible inside the house.
Police attended the building several times while the squatters were living there.
They said that as no damage had been caused to the building, and it was a commercial property, the occupation was a civil matter.
The squatters said they had written to the building's owners to ask about whether it could be used by a housing co-operative so that it would no longer be left empty.