Pitt Street Squatted
Friday, February 11, 2005The following is from the press release sent by the Pitt Street squatters to the Hebden Bridge Web
Local residents have occupied the historical Adult Education Centre in Pitt Street, Hebden Bridge, in protest against Calderdale Council selling it off for private development. Residents have opened a temporary "Pitt Street Social Centre", offering tea, cake, videos, workshops, a Free Shop, and a chance for residents to discuss how to stop council sell-offs and the "gentrification" of former mill-town Hebden Bridge.
When the Pitt St Building became the most recent of public buildings to be put on the market, frustrated locals asked the council for time to put forward an alternative plan to keep it as a community resource. However, in their rush to make a quick buck, the Council steam-rollered opposition, and went ahead with the sale.
"Where has the money gone and who are the new owners? We've been asking questions but no-one seems willing to tell us anything. How dare our representatives continue to completely ignore our needs and views? It's just more council corruption." said Katrina, a local involved in the occupation.
This is the second occupation of a public building that has been sold off by the council, in the last year. For five days in April 2004, hundreds of local people were involved in the occupation of the old Hebden Bridge Tourist Information Centre, turning it into the People's Information Centre. And residents are well aware that other buildings are in line for possible sell-off, including the library and the council offices.
"We want to make sure these remaining resources stay in public ownership for public use, instead of being used to make more money to feed the greed of the private developers who are destroying our town." stated Ed, another resident. "As things stand now, we have to take this kind of direct action ourselves simply to have a community-controlled space."
The residents are demanding that Calderdale Council take immediate action towards:
The Social Centre invites all Hebden Bridge residents to make use of the space. Activities planned so far include
Pitt Street Social Centre may be contacted on 07952 443618, for a limited time only.
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