A Surbiton property developer has paid a squatter to relocate so his multimillion pound project is not held up.

The serial-squatter has lived in a tin shed on waste land behind Victoria Road for several years and is well-known by residents and shopkeepers.

When demolition workers entered the Surbiton Plaza site and found him last month, property developer CNM Estates stepped in and offered him cash if he left, making him sign papers promising to leave immediately.

Despite being served with eviction orders by Kingston Council in the past few years, the squatter had continued to return to his shed, which has no electricity or running water.

He would often shower at the Surbiton YMCA, and neighbours would lend him ladders so he could get over the wall, resident Alan Robinson said.

He is understood to have been celebrating his windfall in Surbiton pubs and is now said to be living in a squat in Guildford.

CNM Estates managing director Wahid Samady described his accommodation as a “rotten old shed”, and said: “The guy just keeps coming back and he’s got no right to be there.

“We take a very strong view against squatters. It’s important that as a borough we stand tall to it.

“We have assisted him with relocation. I gave him some money so he can relocate himself. He signed a piece of paper to say he would leave immediately.”

Mr Samady denied he was paying him off and said it was “in the spirit of helping him out”. The signed agreement, he said, was merely for accountancy purposes.

Demolition work has now begun and the project to build 39 flats, a medical centre and two shops on Victoria Road, is expected to be completed in 18 months.

Alan Robinson, of Cottage Grove, said the squatter as a “super guy” and “a bit of a character”.

He said: “While the site wasn’t being used everyone was happy for him to squat there but now it’s time to move on. We’re talking about building affordable housing for people here.”

Ray Mustoe, who runs Regency bookshop said people liked him living there because he kept trouble makers away from the site.

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