Westfield granted court order to evict Bradford Occupy protesters (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Westfield granted court order to evict Bradford Occupy protesters
The Occupy Westfield group left the building site shortly after the decision at Bradford County Court, and moved their equipment and caravans on to the neighbouring Urban Garden, which is currently leased to Bradford Council.
There are now fears that Council taxpayers could have to foot the bill if the Council takes any action to remove them from the new venue.
Councillor David Green, Council leader, visited the occupiers this afternoon and urged them to move on.
He told the Telegraph & Argus: “I understand and share the frustrations of local people who have waited years for the Westfield shopping centre to be built and everybody has a right to peaceful protest.
“However, Bradfordians should be able to continue using and enjoying the Urban Garden and the Council is considering what action may be necessary to ensure that remains the case should the protest carry on.
“I hope the protesters consider that any legal costs faced by the Council would have to be met from budgets which are already under considerable pressure.”
Speaking outside the court earlier today, Alias Yousaf, of Chambers Solicitors, who is acting for the Occupy Westfield group, said that his clients had always intended their protest to be a “peaceful and lawful” one. He added that they would comply with the terms of the order, which covers the construction site only, and not the Urban Garden.
One of the campaigners, Adan Awan, said: “We were never here to break the law, so we will move peacefully on to the Urban Garden. The awareness we have raised has been phenomenal – it just shows that people do care about the hole.”
He added that Westfield had simply pushed the problem on to the Council by forcing them off the development site and on to the Urban Garden.
A spokesman for Westfield said: “We are pleased with the judges’ decision to award the possession order. We request that the protesters leave the entire development site including the Urban Garden to allow Westfield to focus on its core priority to lease the site.
“We have advised the occupants that the protest is counter-productive to the retailer negotiations.”
In June last year, the company announced it hoped to restart the mothballed scheme in the first half of 2012.