A collective of artists squatting the iconic Thornton Heath eyesore Ambassador House have been given a stay of execution by a judge because the eviction notice served on them contained errors.
The group of five former Croydon College art students have turned a floor in the building in to a community arts hub which they have dubbed CR7 Studios.
The building has been empty since it was brought in October 2012 by Red Wing Property Holdings Ltd, owned by Sajid Bashir, who is taking legal action to evict the artists. His legal team have now resubmitted documentation to bring the squatters back to court.
Julian King and Nathan Stewart (pictured), who both grew up in the area, and have been occupying the building for over two months, appeared in Croydon County Court on behalf of the group last week, which is now launching a campaign to stay with a petition.
They are calling on the community and politicians to support them in their bid.
EXCLUSIVE: AMBASSADOR HOUSE SQUATTED: https://www.thorntonheathchronicle.co.uk/exclusive-ambassador-house-squatted/
On Facebook the new group says about its activities: “CR7 Studio is a new co-working creative community-based in Thornton Heath. Artists, designers, filmmakers, illustrators, developers, writers, photographers, creative producers, art directors, makers – anyone who works in a creative field is welcome to CR7.
“We are a vibrant community of like-minded creatives in a supportive environment where all members benefit from co-working by sharing knowledge, ideas, connections and forming long-lasting friendships as well as opportunities to grow their respective businesses, projects and skills. We value collaboration and a sense of community and family.”
The Croydon Local Plan identifies options for Ambassador House but not before 2026 – eight years away.
The plan would be to provide a mix of residential, retail and community facilities. It would have to include community use as Ambassador House is protected by Policy SP5.
Many reading this will be shocked to see the large rooms sitting empty when Croydon is among the top thirteen worst boroughs for homelessness in the country with a 22 per cent increase in rough sleepers between 2014-17.
Similarly our community, which is home to many artists, and is campaigning for a community hub will be dismayed to learn there is prime space in the heart of Thornton Heath they could have been using.
The Chronicle was given unprecedented access to the nine storey office block which has spectacular views of Thornton Heath, after being invited in by Julian, a filmmaker.
While there is limited access to water, two floors of the building have working electricity and the collective has set up an amazing workspace on the third floor.
Julian who has been squatting since being evicted in 2014, said: “We are very cautious about who we want to bring inside because some people they just want to destroy things and we are not about that. It is not conducive to how we want to go forward. We are trying to open a community project for the community.”
If you want to get involved contact Julian email: firstname.lastname@example.org