Pitt Street Squatted

Friday, February 11, 2005

The 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.

Pitt Street Squatted

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.

Pitt Street SquattedThis 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:

  • significant investment in affordable social housing that is sustainably built
  • protection for local people working locally so they are not forced to leave by rising housing costs
  • visible commitment from the council to involving people in the decisions about what happens in Hebden Bridge

Squat cafe

The Social Centre invites all Hebden Bridge residents to make use of the space. Activities planned so far include

  • a Free Shop, where people can bring things they don't want or need anymore, and can take away what they like ‚ without paying!
  • Hebden's newest CafÈ, the "Gap in the Market", will be open 11.30am ‚ 8.30pm, serving quality food at affordable prices
  • Discussion forums on topics raging from global to local, e.g. the current development of Hebden Bridge, and
  • Video and music performances during the day and in the evening
  • There's also a rumour of a Real Estate Agent, where people can give their suggestions on how currently underused space in town could be improved for the benefit of people living and working locally.

Pitt Street Social Centre may be contacted on 07952 443618, for a limited time only.

Squat pool

See also:

Pitt Street Squatted

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