Police evict squatters from Raven's Ait island

Police evict squatters from Raven's Ait island

Police evict squatters from Raven's Ait island

Police evict squatters from Raven's Ait island

Police evict squatters from Raven's Ait island

First published in News by

The police invasion of Raven’s Ait Island, Surbiton began at first light this morning, as the force attempted to remove a group of squatters who had set up home on the island since February.

Upwards of 40 officers are believed to have made the 4am push to regain control of the multimillion pound island, which the squatters had bragged they could hold for months after receiving an eviction notice on March 19.

But despite their bullish claims the occupants apparently came quietly, with most of the group either removed or waiting patiently on the banks to be ferried back to the mainland by about 9am.

Special police climbing teams were used to winkle several of the squatters from their hastily constructed ‘crows nests’, while rumours of the inhabitants bunkering themselves in underground tunnels appear to be unfounded.

Boat owner Richard Turk had been approached by police in recent weeks in an attempt to commandeer his fleet of pleasure craft for the invasion, but when he arrived at work at 8am this morning the operation was well under way.

He said: “They used two police boats and two RIBs, and there must have been at least 40 officers.

“The squatters were all just standing on the bankside cheering and chanting - they all thought it was quite funny.

“They’ve talked about how they could hold the island for months, but it looks like they’ve been seen off in just two or three hours.”

The group, who have styled themselves as eco-warriors, were caught out last week after it emerged they had used more than 30,000kW of electricity since taking control of the ait - the same power as 45 average homes would use in the same time.

A spokeswoman for Kingston police said: “A High Court writ was obtained to allow Royal Borough of Kingston to retake possession of the island at Kingston's County Court on 19th March 2009.

“The occupants of the island were given notification to comply with the courts order to leave the island voluntarily.

“As the squatters refused to leave the island, action was taken today in the early hours of the morning to implement the terms of the County Court Order, by ensuring the safe removal of all those that occupied the island.”

Kingston Council said they will be installing 24-hour security on the island while they find tenants for the former wedding and conference centre, which went into administration in November last year.

• Do you know more? Let us know by email here, phone the newsdesk on 020 8330 9546 or leave a comment below.

Comments (20)

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12:48pm Fri 1 May 09

I hope not says...

Good. About time too - send them the bill for cleaning up the mess these layabouts left behind and for the repairs that will need to be made.
Good. About time too - send them the bill for cleaning up the mess these layabouts left behind and for the repairs that will need to be made. I hope not
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Fri 1 May 09

limesta says...

As someone who visited the island I know for a fact that repairs on the abandoned and in places dilapidated buildings were under-way. I myself would have been up a ladder scrapping and painting next week were it not for the eviction.
Comments made on the basis of ignorance really can't be taken seriously. It's a shame we've all been deprived of the communal workshops and projects planned for this lovely place.
As someone who visited the island I know for a fact that repairs on the abandoned and in places dilapidated buildings were under-way. I myself would have been up a ladder scrapping and painting next week were it not for the eviction. Comments made on the basis of ignorance really can't be taken seriously. It's a shame we've all been deprived of the communal workshops and projects planned for this lovely place. limesta
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Fri 1 May 09

Tony from Surbiton says...

Great news - good riddance.
Great news - good riddance. Tony from Surbiton
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Fri 1 May 09

Fred1 says...

Splitting hairs but is that 30,000kW or 30,000kWh? A kW is a unit of power, whereas a kWh is a unit of energy. Does the hack that wrote this article even realise the difference? The fact that "power" is described as something that's used "in time" would suggest not.

It makes no sense to compare your island to a bunch of houses unless you're explicitly clear about what is being compared.

I don't think this is a pedantic point, because the context is an attempt to smear the squatter's eco-credentials. It makes it sound like rather an empty smear to me, that's not backed up by any evidence.

Anyway, I can't say the squatters did me any harm.
Splitting hairs but is that 30,000kW or 30,000kWh? A kW is a unit of power, whereas a kWh is a unit of energy. Does the hack that wrote this article even realise the difference? The fact that "power" is described as something that's used "in time" would suggest not. It makes no sense to compare your island to a bunch of houses unless you're explicitly clear about what is being compared. I don't think this is a pedantic point, because the context is an attempt to smear the squatter's eco-credentials. It makes it sound like rather an empty smear to me, that's not backed up by any evidence. Anyway, I can't say the squatters did me any harm. Fred1
  • Score: 0

7:13pm Fri 1 May 09

sparry says...

Using words such as 'bragged' and 'bullish' about the squatters reveals predjudice. Maybe it's Kingston Council that need quizzing. Isn't Raven's Ait a facility for ALL the people of Kingston? These enterprising people were not stealing but working hard to create something of worth for the local community. I wonder what the Council are going to create apart from hostility.
Using words such as 'bragged' and 'bullish' about the squatters reveals predjudice. Maybe it's Kingston Council that need quizzing. Isn't Raven's Ait a facility for ALL the people of Kingston? These enterprising people were not stealing but working hard to create something of worth for the local community. I wonder what the Council are going to create apart from hostility. sparry
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Fri 1 May 09

viziondanz says...

very sad and very stupid behaviour by the "authorities"

I spent a day on the island and it was a vibrant wholesome community of young people attempting to create something positive for our community - the council has squandered a wonderful opportunity and further alienated good people from engaging in society - and then people wonder why young people want nothing to do with society - totally irresponsible behaviour on behalf of the council - shame on whoever was responsible for this violation.
very sad and very stupid behaviour by the "authorities" I spent a day on the island and it was a vibrant wholesome community of young people attempting to create something positive for our community - the council has squandered a wonderful opportunity and further alienated good people from engaging in society - and then people wonder why young people want nothing to do with society - totally irresponsible behaviour on behalf of the council - shame on whoever was responsible for this violation. viziondanz
  • Score: 0

8:01pm Fri 1 May 09

Blue Eagle says...

I was very disheartened to hear the news this morning that the occupants of Raven Ait have been forced off the Island. Not only were they were providing Kingston with a much needed community centre, but were also saving the local council thousands of pounds in maintenence and security costs while the building is not being used. They have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the centre - anybody that visited the island could verify that.

We need more community centres like this, and Ravens Ait is the perfect site. If only people could see that these eco-warriors are actually dong what is needed... they need all the support they can get. Listen to what they have to say before you make any presumptions.
I was very disheartened to hear the news this morning that the occupants of Raven Ait have been forced off the Island. Not only were they were providing Kingston with a much needed community centre, but were also saving the local council thousands of pounds in maintenence and security costs while the building is not being used. They have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the centre - anybody that visited the island could verify that. We need more community centres like this, and Ravens Ait is the perfect site. If only people could see that these eco-warriors are actually dong what is needed... they need all the support they can get. Listen to what they have to say before you make any presumptions. Blue Eagle
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Fri 1 May 09

beepy says...

This is yet another example of those who are willing to help those around them being abused by those in power. authority is authority ONLY if those around them perceive it to be worthy of respect. I like a growing number of people no longer have that respect. You were (in some circumstances) elected to help not abuse the people you (no longer) represent!
This is yet another example of those who are willing to help those around them being abused by those in power. authority is authority ONLY if those around them perceive it to be worthy of respect. I like a growing number of people no longer have that respect. You were (in some circumstances) elected to help not abuse the people you (no longer) represent! beepy
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Fri 1 May 09

hmmm... says...

its about time too.
its about time too. hmmm...
  • Score: 0

11:47pm Fri 1 May 09

margaretha says...

Raven's Ait is a gem and should be treasured - I supported the squatters because for the first time ordinary local people could visit the island and enjoy the beautiful, peaceful surroundings away from the hustle of cars, cyclists, joggers etc. In contrast, whilst Kingston Council were in charge, no one got to visit the island unless they were a guest at a fancy wedding... What is the future for Raven's Ait now that Kingston Council are back in control? Will I or my children ever get to visit the island again? At least the squatters encouraged local people to visit the island and they looked after the place and put on lots of fun and interesting workshops and community events for both adults and children. Lets hope Kingston can learn from the squatters and make Raven's Ait a nice place for us all, rather than just sell it or lease it to some private company who will no doubt prevent this.
Raven's Ait is a gem and should be treasured - I supported the squatters because for the first time ordinary local people could visit the island and enjoy the beautiful, peaceful surroundings away from the hustle of cars, cyclists, joggers etc. In contrast, whilst Kingston Council were in charge, no one got to visit the island unless they were a guest at a fancy wedding... What is the future for Raven's Ait now that Kingston Council are back in control? Will I or my children ever get to visit the island again? At least the squatters encouraged local people to visit the island and they looked after the place and put on lots of fun and interesting workshops and community events for both adults and children. Lets hope Kingston can learn from the squatters and make Raven's Ait a nice place for us all, rather than just sell it or lease it to some private company who will no doubt prevent this. margaretha
  • Score: 0

1:02am Sat 2 May 09

Richard1958 says...

Great work. These time wasters need sorting out. Worth a lost night's sleep with the helicopter hovering overhead.
Great work. These time wasters need sorting out. Worth a lost night's sleep with the helicopter hovering overhead. Richard1958
  • Score: 0

1:05am Sat 2 May 09

viziondanz says...

what makes you say that richard?
what makes you say that richard? viziondanz
  • Score: 0

6:41am Sat 2 May 09

Chas Brown says...

Outrageous, another case of corrupt politicians using jackbooted cops to do their thuggery for them. As a resident of Kingston I'll never vote for this lot again, not only are they wreckers of Kingston's environment they have now proven themselves the enemies of the local community too, this would have been a good community centre, a lot better than the council could organise I'm sure, and now we have to pay to keep thugs on the island to 'protect it'. I hope the squaters return.
Outrageous, another case of corrupt politicians using jackbooted cops to do their thuggery for them. As a resident of Kingston I'll never vote for this lot again, not only are they wreckers of Kingston's environment they have now proven themselves the enemies of the local community too, this would have been a good community centre, a lot better than the council could organise I'm sure, and now we have to pay to keep thugs on the island to 'protect it'. I hope the squaters return. Chas Brown
  • Score: 0

6:55am Sat 2 May 09

localdude says...

I visited the island, and sorry to say, but this 'eco-conference centre' was a pipe dream from the start, although a clever attempt at claiming the island! It's all very well saying that the council has alienated people etc... but if the council granted permission to stay I bet you every crusty in England would have ended up there. Best to nip it in the bud sooner rather than later.
I visited the island, and sorry to say, but this 'eco-conference centre' was a pipe dream from the start, although a clever attempt at claiming the island! It's all very well saying that the council has alienated people etc... but if the council granted permission to stay I bet you every crusty in England would have ended up there. Best to nip it in the bud sooner rather than later. localdude
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Sat 2 May 09

Ziggy Folkmanis says...

what a heavy-handed reaction to the alternative community's attempt to reach out and find a dialogue with the authorities! instead of a compromise - police force! Just as long as the beaureaucrats can keep comfortable pushing paper and avoiding responsibility and having to look for intelligent and constructive solutions to problems.
what a heavy-handed reaction to the alternative community's attempt to reach out and find a dialogue with the authorities! instead of a compromise - police force! Just as long as the beaureaucrats can keep comfortable pushing paper and avoiding responsibility and having to look for intelligent and constructive solutions to problems. Ziggy Folkmanis
  • Score: 0

3:02am Mon 4 May 09

Russell Bowman says...

Steering Group Meeting Friday 8th May 18:30
Clattern, Lecture Theatre, Kingston University, Penhyrn Road Campus.
Everyone welcome.
Especially those with an interest in securing the future of Raven’s Ait.

Our collective aim is to set up a “Consultative Committee” and to call for the formation of a “Local Steering Group”.

To Invite the Good People of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and neighbouring Royal Borough of Richmond upon Thames to Actively Participate in this Historic Landmarks Transformation into an Environmentally Conscious Community Centre.

To lay the Foundation Stone for Raven’s Ait to be Re-incarnated as a Registered Charitable Organisation.

“To Create a Public, Social, Re-creational and Educational Centre, Dedicated to Serving the Community, to be Preserved for Future Generations to Come Together, Meet, Share and Enjoy”.

The plan being proposed to the council is for the island to be kept as a community centre, run by a Steering Committee made up of up to 20 local groups and National and International Projects. See our website for more info, or get in contact if your group would like to be involved with this steering committee.

We are currently working on our third detailed proposal to the council. Students and lecturers from Kingston University are helping to design a computer generated plan for a Sustainable Community Island. This vision will shortly be available on our website.

We are appealing through all the media that is covering this story to raise somewhere around £1.5 million to save this island as a community facility for all generations to enjoy into the future.

For more information please call:
Nick 07964672922
Phoenix 07769791387
Rick 07791042078
Camilla 07900800055

Check out our website http://www.ravensait
.org.uk for more updates, events and videos and to see our proposal to the council.
Steering Group Meeting Friday 8th May 18:30 Clattern, Lecture Theatre, Kingston University, Penhyrn Road Campus. Everyone welcome. Especially those with an interest in securing the future of Raven’s Ait. Our collective aim is to set up a “Consultative Committee” and to call for the formation of a “Local Steering Group”. To Invite the Good People of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and neighbouring Royal Borough of Richmond upon Thames to Actively Participate in this Historic Landmarks Transformation into an Environmentally Conscious Community Centre. To lay the Foundation Stone for Raven’s Ait to be Re-incarnated as a Registered Charitable Organisation. “To Create a Public, Social, Re-creational and Educational Centre, Dedicated to Serving the Community, to be Preserved for Future Generations to Come Together, Meet, Share and Enjoy”. The plan being proposed to the council is for the island to be kept as a community centre, run by a Steering Committee made up of up to 20 local groups and National and International Projects. See our website for more info, or get in contact if your group would like to be involved with this steering committee. We are currently working on our third detailed proposal to the council. Students and lecturers from Kingston University are helping to design a computer generated plan for a Sustainable Community Island. This vision will shortly be available on our website. We are appealing through all the media that is covering this story to raise somewhere around £1.5 million to save this island as a community facility for all generations to enjoy into the future. For more information please call: Nick 07964672922 Phoenix 07769791387 Rick 07791042078 Camilla 07900800055 Check out our website http://www.ravensait .org.uk for more updates, events and videos and to see our proposal to the council. Russell Bowman
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Mon 4 May 09

beepy says...

It's good to see that the locsl populace has been empowered by the actions on Raven's Ait and are making efforts to improve their own environment. I am now looking to see how the authorities regard this action. I'm also going to lok to see if the press make nything of what is happenig here as this doesn't have the oportunities for drumming up sensationalism...Or am I just getting to be cynical in my old age!?!
It's good to see that the locsl populace has been empowered by the actions on Raven's Ait and are making efforts to improve their own environment. I am now looking to see how the authorities regard this action. I'm also going to lok to see if the press make nything of what is happenig here as this doesn't have the oportunities for drumming up sensationalism...Or am I just getting to be cynical in my old age!?! beepy
  • Score: 0

3:49pm Wed 6 May 09

Angela M says...

Blue Eagle, Guildford said:

"...Not only were they were providing Kingston with a much needed community centre, but were also saving the local council thousands of pounds in maintenence and security costs while the building is not being used."

And who is footing the bill for the water/electricity and gas? What part of the community centre were the squatters providing? It seems like they were just providing the community, and not the centre!
Blue Eagle, Guildford said: "...Not only were they were providing Kingston with a much needed community centre, but were also saving the local council thousands of pounds in maintenence and security costs while the building is not being used." And who is footing the bill for the water/electricity and gas? What part of the community centre were the squatters providing? It seems like they were just providing the community, and not the centre! Angela M
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Mon 11 May 09

john rules says...

This crudely biased slur by someone who was not there makes a mockery of british journalism. come on surrey comet, people are gradually seeing the truth in front of their eyes and realising what lying muppets you are. i am a respectable professional, and i was there, and these people were looking after the place very tidily and doing something useful with it, as anyone else who visited could see. either you have swallowed the police/council slurs whole or made them up yourself, either way you're a disgrace to your profession printing this nonsense. you couldn't even get up to make it for the sneaky night-time eviction - where did you get your photo from? the police?
This crudely biased slur by someone who was not there makes a mockery of british journalism. come on surrey comet, people are gradually seeing the truth in front of their eyes and realising what lying muppets you are. i am a respectable professional, and i was there, and these people were looking after the place very tidily and doing something useful with it, as anyone else who visited could see. either you have swallowed the police/council slurs whole or made them up yourself, either way you're a disgrace to your profession printing this nonsense. you couldn't even get up to make it for the sneaky night-time eviction - where did you get your photo from? the police? john rules
  • Score: 0

9:48pm Mon 11 May 09

john rules says...

This crudely biased slur by someone who was not there makes a mockery of british journalism. come on surrey comet, people are gradually seeing the truth in front of their eyes and realising what lying muppets you are. i am a respectable professional, and i was there, and these people were looking after the place very tidily and doing something useful with it, as anyone else who visited could see. either you have swallowed the police/council slurs whole or made them up yourself, either way you're a disgrace to your profession printing this nonsense. you couldn't even get up to make it for the sneaky night-time eviction - where did you get your photo from? the police?
This crudely biased slur by someone who was not there makes a mockery of british journalism. come on surrey comet, people are gradually seeing the truth in front of their eyes and realising what lying muppets you are. i am a respectable professional, and i was there, and these people were looking after the place very tidily and doing something useful with it, as anyone else who visited could see. either you have swallowed the police/council slurs whole or made them up yourself, either way you're a disgrace to your profession printing this nonsense. you couldn't even get up to make it for the sneaky night-time eviction - where did you get your photo from? the police? john rules
  • Score: 0

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