Squatters do a bunk as bailiffs smash Brick by Brick’s doors

Seven bailiffs, acting as “Representatives of the Owner”, wasted no time in descending on Brick by Brick’s former offices in George Street on Saturday afternoon to evict the squatters who had been occupying the building for almost two weeks.

Squatted: the Brick by Brick signage had gone from the expensively modelled shop front, replaced by eviction notices

A group calling themselves “Reclaim Croydon” had been squatting the five-storey building in protest against the dire housing situation in the borough.

The building had been subject to an elaborate, and expensive, refurbishment when Brick by Brick took it on for a showroom (with no homes to sell) and offices under a 10-year lease from landowners the Whitgift Foundation.

Brick by Brick spent more than £1million on leasing the building and refurbishing it to their bosses’ expensive tastes. Brick by Brick is being wound-up, the failed housing company having bankrupted their owners, Croydon Council, after receiving £200million in loans over the course of five spendthrift years, while they had delivered just three council homes in that time.

The building had remained pretty much unoccupied and unused from March 2020, at the start of the covid pandemic, until the formal closure and departure six months ago.

Last Friday, Croydon County Court issued an Interim Possession Order. The following afternoon the seven heavies descended on the squat, breaking the doors down and eventually changing the locks to secure the building and prevent the squatters returning.

But the squatters had already moved on – they risked a possible prison sentence if they defied the court order. One remaining member of the collective is thought to have escaped over some town centre rooftops.

Reclaim Croydon left a parting present for the bailiffs and the borough’s landowners and council, with a note: “You might think you’ve won this time, but we will carry on with our fight against homelessness by any means necessary. Yours, Reclaim Croydon”.

And in a statement issued today, Reclaim Croydon said, “This is just the beginning.

“We have already opened more squats and we shall carry on with our occupation of empty Brick by Brick buildings until Croydon Council houses all those in need in the borough. No Pasaran!”

Read more: ‘Disgrace’ as £110m of Brick by Brick homes stand empty
Read more: Council sells off public green space to Brick by Brick for just £1
Read more: Council set to take £100m hit as it winds down Brick by Brick
Read more: Conflicts of interest, incomplete contracts, unlawful payments

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12 Responses to Squatters do a bunk as bailiffs smash Brick by Brick’s doors

  1. Laurence Fisher says:

    I hear Kerswell’s office will be empty soon why don’t they squat in that?

    • I wouldn’t allow wishful thinking to run away with you, Laurence.

      Although many at the council suggest that there is a vacuousness in the CEO’s office, even on the days when she is there.

  2. Moyagordon says:

    Yay! Power to the people! It’s good people are highlighting the issue of how wasteful Brick by Brick was. I agree empty Brick by Brick properties should be allocated to families on the waiting list for a council house. Brick by Brick was bankrolled by local taxpayers so local people deserve to benefit from this unused housing. As council tax payers we may have lost a lot of money but at least some good would come of it.

  3. Have new paying tenants been lined up, or will this building lie vacant for months, just like the other empty properties further down George Street?

    • Laurence Fisher says:

      It’ll be taken on by the usual people who have quite a portfolio in the town.
      Bastard Bastard & Nomegov are the solicitors, Bodgit & Scarper are the agents, and Dodgy & Dodgit are the firm hired by the council to knock down or convert into expensive rabbit hutches. All will be well. As usual. As expected. And on time. At your expense.

  4. JohnG says:

    No NHBC insurance for Brick by Brick houses and no Architect’s sign off. It seems a whole load more debt will be coming the Council’s way to offload these brick by brick disasters. Any sensible person or Company would want both before sale. Croydon Councillors must be proud of their affordable homes schemes and Council property investments.

    • What proof do you have for these claims, John?

      • PaulT says:

        Ask yourself why there is a glut of homes on the former Lion Green Road car park left empty?

        If you believe that a developer is waiting for the market to pick up or that the demand for them is low, I have a bridge in central London that you might be interested in.

        • They are Brick by Brick-built flats.

          One deal to sell them to a housing association did not go through, and the council recently revealed an exceedingly complex sale-and-lease-back arrangement with a couple of companies.

          But yes, the flats remain empty.

          So if you know so much about this Paul, do please share your insights.

  5. Christian Evans says:

    It was a good effort by reclaim Croydon

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