TFC Supermarket building in Leytonstone High Road

Squatters removed from above TFC in High Road Leytonstone

Published in the Waltham Forest E Guardian

Squatters were evicted from above a supermarket for their own safety.

Firefighters on patrol spotted a number of mattresses propped up against the windows of space above TFC, in High Road, Leytonstone on Wednesday.

They inspected the property and discovered around 40 people living there, in what used to be offices and classrooms of the East London College.

The brigade issued a prohibition notice as the property was unsafe and too many people living in a small space.

The notice said: “The property does not have adequate fire resisting separation and insufficient means of detecting fire so is unfit for use as a residential and sleeping accommodation.”

As police supervised the squatters as they packed up their belongings yesterday, the Guardian spoke to ‘Kamikaze’, who had lived there since December 2013.

The 30-year-old said:

We pay our electricity bills, we have had no issues with the police and we have done everything properly. The council has offered us a hostel for the night but after that we will basically be forced onto the streets.

We even have an agreement with the shop on the ground floor which said as long as we did not make any mess or steal from the shop then we would be allowed to stay.

But manager of the TFC supermarket downstairs, Hasan Altun, denied there was an agreement in place.

He said:

We have had this issue for over a year and we can’t just kick them out, they are so noisy and play on their guitars and drums in the night. It is impossible for me to have an agreement with them. I have tried to be amicable and give them my mobile number, but these squatters are smart people and they will say or do anything to help them stay.

 If it is true that the squat is a fire safety hazard then they need to leave, if anything happened to there then it would affect my shop and my business.

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