Squatters set to be removed

SQUATTERS who have taken over a former social services building in the centre of Stowmarket will face a court hearing to evict them within days.

SQUATTERS who have taken over a former social services building in the centre of Stowmarket will face a court hearing to evict them within days.

The property, in Ipswich Street, is owned by Suffolk County Council and is thought to have had half a dozen squatters living there.

An eviction notice was served last month and a spokesman for the authority said they now expect a court hearing to be held on July 14.

He said: “At least some of the squatters are believed to still be in the building and we have a date for a court hearing now.


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“We will serve notice on anyone in there a few days before the hearing to alert them to it and we hope very shortly after that to repossess it.

“We do not know whether there has been any damage, we are not able to get into the building, although from the outside we have seen no evidence of anything.

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“We would like to convey our heartfelt apologies to local residents for the inconvenience, although have nothing more to say at this stage.”

The site has been sold by the council, subject to contract, for redevelopment, with structural work planned for the property once the squatters are evicted.

Residents have been worried that it would be occupied for weeks before those inside - thought to have arrived at the beginning of last month - were moved on.

Stowmarket mayor Anne Whybrow is saddened there is a squat in the town centre and called on the county council to addresses the matter quickly.

She said yesterday: “Officers at the county have worked hard to get this hearing date rapidly. If we do not address this straight away we will be welcoming squatters in other buildings and this highlights the importance of securing unoccupied premises.”

Meanwhile police were also called to reports that squatters may have moved into the Learn Direct centre in Stowmarket within the last few days.

The incident happened at about 7.30pm on Monday evening when Suffolk Constabulary found that people appeared to be trespassing within the building in the centre of the market town.

Officers attended and said there were an unknown number of people within, the owners were informed, but the property was thought to have been empty again by about 9pm the same night and officers are not linking the two incidents.

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