175 Views
1 Comments

Sussex students involved in squatting in Stanmer Park

The music room in the farmhouse, one of the rooms aimed at creating new spaces for arts, music and politics for the wider public. Photo: Tom Wills

Sussex students are among a group of squatters who have taken over an 18th century farmhouse in Stanmer Park.
The group of artists and political activists moved in to the spacious property three weeks ago, shortly after the house was vacated by its previous tenants.

The house in Stanmer Village is a ten minute walk from the university campus. Around ten people have been living there at any one time, with others visiting for public events organised by the squatters.

“We’re not squatters just looking for a place to live,” one explained. “We’re actually trying to do something for the community.” The group have squatted a succession of buildings in Brighton and Hove since April, aiming to create spaces for art, music and politics for general public use.

Six bedrooms have been set aside for the squat’s permanent residents, while a further six are used for public events and workshops.
The squatters have posted a notice on the front door of the house asserting their legal rights and warning they will prosecute anyone who attempts to enter by force.
The house is owned by Brighton & Hove City Council, which cannot legally evict the squatters before obtaining a court order.

The Council has filed a claim for possession of the property, due to be heard in Brighton County Court on Monday 11 October. Assuming the Council’s claim is successful, bailiffs could arrive to evict the squatters in a matter of days or weeks.
The squatters say they plan to remain in the building as long as possible and have not ruled out the possibility of physically resisting eviction. “Some of us really want to put up a fight,” said one.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, leader of the Labour group on the council and chair of the trust which manages the property, said: “The Brighton and Hove Estates Conservation Trust is currently taking legal action to regain possession of the property so that it can be re-let to local people in accordance with the Trust’s policy.”
“We want to get away from that stereotypical image of squats being a place to get smashed,” says squatter Adam Sonfield.

He was one of a small group which set out to create a squat that was about more than simply providing a roof over their heads. “We said, ‘let’s try and create a squat where there’s space to do things.’

“A lot of the time in squats there’s not a lot of things to do – just talk about drugs or smoke a cigarette and talk bollocks. But if there’s an art room, a music room, if there’s supplies then people can feel free to go around and get involved.
“It’s your own responsibility how much you want to take part in it. In uni and in general it’s always organised by an institution or a teacher or a leader, but this is showing that it’s all up to us as individuals and as a group – we can work in more anarchistic ways. ”

Robbin, another squatter and former Sussex student, said: “The music room down here is great. It’s in the basement, there’s loads of amps, there’s a drum kit, there’s guitars everywhere.
“The sound doesn’t leak out much. We can play all through the night. The nearest neighbours are a good hundred yards away.”

The squatters are planning a “family fun day” in an effort to foster good relations with their neighbours in the sleepy village of Stanmer. The group are passionate about giving something to the community – and not being a burden on the state. They are frustrated that the Council does not take a more permissive approach to squatting by allowing them to live in buildings that would otherwise be empty, although they admit that their current home could be let out if they were not there.

Robbin, who has been squatting in Brighton for several months, explains: “I’ve made a choice that I’d rather do voluntary stuff – and music – this last year, rather than work full-time. So while doing that, instead of claiming from the state for everything I’ve been more self-reliant.”

“There’s two big houses owned by the council that are still empty – they were empty before we moved in, they’re still empty now that we’ve moved out of them. If we were allowed to still be in there we wouldn’t be in this place which they could otherwise be letting.”

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
512 views1
Campus News
512 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
54 views
Arts
54 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
95 views
Arts
95 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
94 views
Arts
94 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
117 views
Arts
117 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
139 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
151 views
Arts
151 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
142 views
Arts
142 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
228 views
Campus News
228 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
107 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
212 views
Arts
212 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
142 views
Arts
142 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
213 views
Artist Focus
213 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
148 views
Interview
148 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
217 views
Arts
217 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
239 views
Arts
239 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
276 views
Arts
276 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
191 views
Artist Focus
191 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
200 views
Books
200 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
256 views
Science
256 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
266 views
News
266 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…