Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Westfield in court to evict Bradford protesters
Westfield’s lawyers have served repossession papers on the occupants of the development site, and a hearing was due to take place at Bradford County Court today.
A spokesman for the Australian company said in the past month it has asked the occupiers to leave.
She said: “On numerous occasions in this period, Westfield has requested that the trespassers vacate the construction site for health and safety reasons and advised their efforts were counter-productive to the retailer negotiations and pre-lettings required before the scheme can progress. At various points the trespassers have said that they would leave but failed to do so.”
She said that “through very difficult economic conditions, Westfield has remained committed to Bradford”.
The protesters arrived at the site five weeks ago, saying they let themselves in through a site gate using a padlock key. They pledged to carry out a peaceful protest for seven days or until their demands for a public inquiry and an audience at the Westfield site with Bradford Council leader David Green and Bradford MPs were met.
They met Councillor Green at City Hall three weeks ago, and have continued to call for a public inquiry to answer questions about the development agreement for the shopping centre.
Alias Yousaf, of Chambers Solicitors in Bradford, who is acting for the Occupy Westfield group, said that a protest would be taking place outside the court building today as the proceedings take place.
He said that they secured a leading barrister with specialist experience of defending possession proceedings.
Of the protest itself, he said: “Despite the adverse weather conditions my clients have continued with their protest and have now collated almost 20,000 signatures – the views of the public can no longer be ignored by Bradford Council.”