"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Lambeth Council Strikes Again

The Mail reported yesterday that Lambeth council have come under fire for handing out a list of all its empty properties to squatters.

My family come from the Borough of Lambeth, in south London, and I have a great deal of experience with this particular council's staff and their madcap schemes. They have a very interesting approach to customer service and the extent of one's need, and unfortunately it is ranked from the bottom up.

So this story comes as no real surprise to me.

The council insist that their hands are tied by a legal loophole - squatters submitted a freedom of information request, and Lambeth were forced to hand over a list of 800 empty flats and houses in the Borough.

They now fear that not only will there be a marked rise in squatting in Lambeth, but the bill for damage to empty properties and the security measures taken to prevent squatters entering could be immense.

This may also set a legal precedent for councils up and down the country.

It was all down to incompetence, however - a staff member published a list of all the empty properties in Lambeth in the appendix to the minutes of a council meeting, despite being warned it was an error.

As the information was then in the public domain, the squatter's request could not be denied.

Lambeth council has had many past problems with squatters - in August 2008 a large group were moved out of four blocks of empty flats they had taken over after a 5 month legal battle. Here's what happened to a respectable street after the squatters moved in:

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