Court date looms for Dalston Lane squatters

Squatters who have made four derelict Georgian terraced houses their home for several years are calling for Hackney Council to talk to them about the future of the properties.

The council is seeking repossession of the properties in the Dalston Lane Conservation Area and the case is due back in court on 17 February.

Tim Pickering, a cycle courier who has lived in the terraces for two years, is among the current occupants calling on the council to allow them to stay in the property until building work commences.

“The council are refusing to engage with us,” he said. “If it weren’t for the fact that we have been in occupancy of these buildings, they would have rotted away.”

He said the residents had kept the buildings in good condition, carrying out repairs to the roofs, general weatherproofing and internal maintenance. They are concerned that if they are successfully evicted, the houses will fall into disrepair.

The council rejected a proposal from the occupants to allow them to stay in the buildings to maintain them, and since then the occupants say there has been no effort to respond to their requests to open negotiations.

Mr Pickering said the occupants were frustrated that they have been unable to open up a dialogue with the council, which they feel would be more productive, and less costly, than appearances in court. They have also questioned the cost of securing the building once they have been evicted.

He told the Citizen they are quite willing to vacate the properties when the council is ready to begin redevelopment. The case first went to court on 18 June but possession was refused because the council didn’t have its paperwork in order. The case then returned to court in September but was granted a further postponement pending the outcome of a related case.

Related: On the Dalston terrace