Thursday, 1 December 2011

Occupy movement costs Corporation of London nearly £500,000

The Occupy London movement has cost the City of London Corporation nearly £500,000 since it took root in the Square Mile six weeks ago.
The corporation, which is taking legal action to remove the Occupy camp from the area around St Paul's Cathedral, has spent £450,000 on policing, £15,000 on cleaning and has budgeted £200,000 for legal fees. The money is coming out of the corporation's public purse.
The activists, who are campaigning for economic and social justice, have three bases, one of which is on corporation land. Of the others, Finsbury Square is on land owned by Islington council while the third is non-residential and operates from a vacant bank building near Liverpool Street.
On Wednesday the corporation served the St Paul's camp with an enforcement notice as part of its efforts to remove the hundreds of tents pitched since 16 October. It appears to have caught Occupy London by surprise, as many of its members were taking part in the national protests against public sector pension reform.
The enforcement notice says the camp is not "an appropriate use of land".
"It adversely affects the setting of the cathedral and other listed buildings and does not preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the St Paul's conservation area. It has a significant adverse affect on the general amenity of the area. It adversely impacts other uses in the locality including worshippers and businesses."
Protesters will have 48 hours to comply with the notice, which takes effect on 30 December unless an appeal is made beforehand.
The eviction hearing will takes place at the high court on 19 December.

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