Defiant squatters are ordered to leave Brick by Brick’s offices

While security guards peered from the windows of the empty Croydon Park Hotel on Altyre Road,  squatters and their supporters were erecting banners in the forecourt of Croydon County Court this morning.

Protest: banners were placed on display outside Croydon County Court this morning

The group of squatters calling themselves Reclaim Croydon were due at the court to be served with an Interim Possession Order for their occupation of the empty Brick by Brick offices at 62 George Street.

One of the Reclaim Croydon group went into the court room for the formal proceedings.

The IPO was issued, and the eviction date set for Monday, September 18.

“We are occupying this property as a protest against Croydon Council, corrupt property developers, and the conditions they have created for the families, working-class people and homeless people in Croydon,” Reclaim Croydon said in a statement issued earlier this week.

Brick by Brick was the council-owned housing company that in five indulgent years managed to borrow £200million from the Town Hall and in all that time built only three council flats, with most of its other developments going for private sale or unaffordable “shared” ownership.

By September 2020, BxB had failed to repay a penny of its loans and had never managed to make a profit, dragging the council into bankruptcy, and inflicting potentially a decade (at least) of misery on the whole borough.

Luxury: the refurbed, often empty BxB sales room, for a company which hardly had any properties for sale

Brick by Brick’s offices on George Street are owned by the Whitgift Foundation, the biggest landowners in the borough.

The building’s five floors (including a basement) were refurbished at a cost of £670,000  when Brick by Brick moved in on what was supposed to be a 10-year lease.

There was an often empty “showroom” on the ground floor and offices above, for which they paid £427,000. At one point, the building accommodated 43 Brick by Brick staff and workers from its associated architects’ firm, with a payroll of more £2.5million per year.

The premises have been vacant for around six months, after what’s left of BxB’s staff were moved back into the council offices at Fisher’s Folly. The company had used barely half of its lease period.

Seems reasonable: the squatters want to be housed by Croydon Council

Stiles Harold Williams, estate agents for the Whitgift Foundation, were originally offering the vacated BxB building for £42,000 annual rent earlier this year. Clearly, they’ve had no takers…

Reclaim Croydon are asking for support on Monday from 8am – it’s the earlier the better for bailiffs and evictions.

The squatters ask that supporters gather either outside the front of the premises on George Street, or at the back entrance on Park Street. They have stated that anyone wishing to stay at the squat the night before the eviction can contact them on

A spokesperson for the squatters said today, “It is better to leave us there. It will cost them more to move us.

“We will only go on squatting further Brick by Brick buildings until they meet our demands.”

Read more: BxB’s collapse was predictable. Why did no one else notice?
Read more: Brick by Brick CEO says company has sold 6 houses. Or is it 5?
Read more: Brick by Brick faces ‘disaster’ as it misses sales targets by 83%

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6 Responses to Defiant squatters are ordered to leave Brick by Brick’s offices

  1. Gavin Palmer says:

    Land is finite as a resource and thus very important to be managed well by the state. Property laws back up investment. Empty unused properties are a wasted asset with adverse possession laws when properties are abandoned or their final occupant dies with no heirs.
    Currently London has a great many “golden bricks” where someone buys a property for cash as a safety net , yet never occupy or use it. I heard of 100 flats where only 27 were used.
    This greatly damages the local economy as there are no occupants to eat meals locally, buy replacement goods go out for entertainment etc. We will see what happens after a large property fall however there is too much cash buyers yet the resource needs to be brought into use again.

  2. Don White says:

    Action on this eviction seems to have been a lot quicker than measures to remove cars parked in adjacent Queen’s Gardens. I assume the demand to accommodate vehicles takes precedence over the need to house Croydon’s residents.

    • Ian Marvin says:

      Judging from the notices on posts in Queen’s Gardens it seems that nobody had thought to make it a controlled parking area!

    • Sally says:

      Perhaps Heather Cheesborough, Chris Clark and Paul Scott can meet with the protestors and explain why they let so many developers build flats that no-one can afford, why people are homeless when flats sit empty and why they destroyed family homes for developments that were under the threshold for affordable housing?

      Perhaps they can also tell us where all our money went.

      • Ian Kierans says:

        Its called social engineering. The reality of Council planning designation for areas is that it create sink areas, ghetto’s and enclaves for those of that same ilk.

        That goes on nearly everywhere.

        Everyone needs a home and a safe place to live and raise a family but what this Council is doing to those most vulnerable is pretty despicable. It is fully aware that many of those properties are mould ridden poorly developed and still puts people into them.

        Does one blame the Council – yes.

        They may have few choices and all poor options, but that is no excuse for inhumanity and neglect.
        Places like Regina road and West Croydon bad developments that endanger health have no place in housing of the 21st Century.
        They need to stop hiding behind the rhetoric of it was Labour – It was Tory – It was Central Governemnt.

        Time to tell everyone the real truth and the reality of what can and cannot be done.
        Once you have honesty that is usually when actions get taken and progress is made

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