Police move in on squatters‘ hotspot

SQUATTERS have been evicted from a disused hotel in Hounslow which had become a hotspot for drunken fights.
Up to 30 people, including a family with a young child, are believed to have been living at the Grenada Hotel, in Lampton Road, since it closed last summer.
More than a dozen police officers, ambulance crew and welfare officers turned up at the property last Friday as an eviction notice was served by the owners.
Sgt Alan Boyle, of Hounslow Police, said there had been a number of problems with squatters drinking on benches outside the building, with police called to a number of fights.


He added that previous welfare checks had uncovered several criminals responsible for burglaries and shoplifting in the area.
“We‘ve been called to at least one incident of ABH here and we‘ve heard through the grapevine that there have been fights among people living inside,” he said.
The property nearly went up in flames last November, when a fire lit by squatters to keep themselves warm got out of control, and Sgt Boyle said the top floor was littered with burnt-out disposable barbecues.
Rasal Goldyn, whose body was found in Lampton Park last month, is believed to have been living there too. Detectives are still investigating the circumstances of the 32-year-old’s death, though it is not believed to be suspicious.
As the squatters left the building they were met by welfare staff, who offered advice about the support available, including treatment for alcohol and drug treatment.
Satti Khangura, who owns the building, said: “This empty building is a nuisance to neighbours, whether it’s used by homeless people or just children wanting to muck about.
“Hopefully we can get permission to demolish it as soon as possible because it’s very difficult to secure all the entrances and I‘m sure the squatters will find a way of getting back in.”
Mr Khangura is hoping to get planning permission to turn it into two hotels, which he claims will create up to 110 jobs in the area.
A previous application for a hotel and flats was rejected earlier this year but he said he hopes to submit new plans for the two hotels in October and begin building next year if successful.
CASE STUDY:
Former construction worker Maria (not her real name) had been squatting in the hotel since arriving in the country from Latvia last November.
She claims she was cheated by a man based in Hounslow who offered her a job and accommodation in return for money, only to disappear, leaving her with nothing.
The 40-year-old, whose only family is her adult foster child back in Latvia, told the Hounslow Chronicle there had been about 20 people living in the building.
“The conditions weren‘t very good but there was access to water so at least we could drink and wash,” she said.
“I will have to sleep rough in Lampton Park tonight but I don‘t know what I‘ll do after that.”

http://www.hounslowchronicle.co.uk/west-london-news/local-hounslow-news/2009/09/14/police-move-in-on-squatters-hotspot-109642-24684738/