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'They cleared up the mess': Neighbours say illegal squat improved town

PUBLISHED: 16:35 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 31 October 2019

The Marquis of Lorne, where sixteen squatters were evicted earlier this month. Photo: Matthew Nixon

The Marquis of Lorne, where sixteen squatters were evicted earlier this month. Photo: Matthew Nixon

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Neighbours of a disused pub illegally occupied by 16 people have said squatters "didn't cause trouble" and actually improved the surrounding area.

The Marquis of Lorne, where sixteen squatters were evicted earlier this month. Photo: Matthew NixonThe Marquis of Lorne, where sixteen squatters were evicted earlier this month. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Neighbours of a disused pub illegally occupied by 16 people have said squatters "didn't cause trouble" and actually improved the surrounding area.

On Wednesday, October 30, East Suffolk Council announced they evicted sixteen squatters - including a missing young person - from the disused Marquis of Lorne pub.

Homeless people had moved into the abandoned property in September, and were eventually kicked out with a High Court order by the site's owner Hayden Chemists.

The council claims squatters were living in unsafe and illegal conditions, with evidence of drug use and electricity theft.

The Marquis of Lorne, where sixteen squatters were evicted earlier this month. Photo: Matthew NixonThe Marquis of Lorne, where sixteen squatters were evicted earlier this month. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Neighbours of the pub have said those living there were not causing trouble and improved the area.

Lauren Lubbock, who lives next door to the Marquis of Lorne, said: "We only ever saw them coming in and out, and we did see when the police were here, but we never had any problems.

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"They were actually the ones who cleared it up. Because around the side there was just a big mess. They were no harm to us whatsoever, there's literally been no problems."

Another neighbour, who wished to be anonymous, said: "In actual fact the largest problem they faced was youths who found they were in there, seeing the lights on.

"Bricks were thrown through windows. But by all accounts they were just exercising squatters' rights in a commercial building. They didn't disturb anyone.

"I appreciate someone owns this, but they bought the building to sit on it. It wasn't being used.

"The people in there were homeless anyway, and it's a roof over their heads - wouldn't we do the same thing?

"It's not somebody's personal house, and there wasn't loud music playing. They just found access to it and had a shelter."

East Suffolk Council connected all of those squatting with relevant local services to secure long-term accommodation, and declined to comment further.

Approved planning permission shows the pub is going to be turned into eight one-bedroom apartments by Donald G Hayden (Chemists) Ltd.

Hayden Chemists refused to comment when asked about the squatters, planning permissions, and the state of homelessness provision in Lowestoft.

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