Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Squatters take over Cardiff pub


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The former Entrerprise Inns pub, the Tredegar on Clifton Street has been taken over by squatters after lying empty for many years. The pub was closed in 2006 due to drug problems and Media Wales has some details here of what has happened to the place.
The absurdly named “Red and Black Umbrella Collective" have taken over this building and have no doubt banned smoking whilst holding meetings about how to promote more diversity amongst Afghan goat herders and the like.
 A sign on one of the windows reads:

"We are currently renovating the pub and want to provide a cultural hub for the local community. We want to create a safe and welcoming environment for everybody. The social centre will be a drug and alcohol-free zone, for people to come together, share skills and ideas, meet new people, make art, watch films and learn new languages.”
Sounds like Chapter Arts Centre without the bar!

Photographer Tom Ashmore has gained access to the squatters and photographs of the inside of the pub appear here.
It looks like the squatters were involved in the Occupy Cardiff fiasco in which the anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist protestors all went into into JD Chaverspoons after their eviction from the outside the castle walls.This is what happens when pubs close down - the buildings become derelict and squatters get in. Actually when this place shut the area improved as the drug dealers and their customers moved on elsewhere. No one has any idea who owns the pub now - Enterprise claim they sold it or are denying ownership - if Enterprise had not let this pub get in such a bad way it would never have closed in the first place and has lain empty for 5 years. Cardiff council are also to blame for failing to enforce Enterprise to do something to this pub - a compulsary purchase order can be issued for derelict buildings and it could have sold for housing or demolished. I am not an advocate for keeping failed pubs open, especially ones with known drug problems that do nothing to enhance the area but squatters moving in is not in anyones benefit - especially the neighbours in the South Wales Echo piece.


12 comments:

Steve Lamond said...

It sounds fine to me. It doesn't sound to be the kind of squat that is doomed to become a crack den but a planned community amenity. Yes its a shame that its not going to return to use as a pub, but its better than the eyesore of a boarded up pub, or worse yet a pile of rubble waiting to be built on, like so many other pubs.

dt said...

I live near the New Tredegar.
I never went there when it was open but walked past many times and it had pretty bad vibe. From what I've heard it was closed with good reason.
Squatters always get negative press. It sounds like the people squatting the New Tredegar are doing something positive with the place. As long as they stick to their word and keep it drug and alcohol free I say best of luck to them.

Dave, Splott said...

I'd say the main problem is the alcohol ban! in a pub!

I never went in the place when it was a pub (for good reason!) and had no intention of going in now, but they coaxed me in with cake.

With youth unemployment at one million seems to me these kids are doing something productive.

Best of luck to the squatters, best thing that could have happened to the place to be honest.

Anonymous said...

You are also mistaken in assuming that no one knows the identity of the proprietor, the current occupiers have an ongoing and open dialogue with him- generally seems a decent chap. the neighbours have been excellent- even helping fix the roof. These guys are sound and some even have a passion for home brew- and it's good stuff. Good on them!

Anonymous said...

As said in a previous comment, squatters tend to get a lot of stick from the media. Sadly, most people don't tend to differentiate between the few people with drug dependencies who move into an empty building in order to take what they can to sell, and those who believe in squatting as a viable alternative to our current consumerist culture. I'm not sure why you think it's reasonable to make such a sweeping generalisation about squatters being 'not in anyones benefit', especially since they have made it quite clear that they will be doing their best to offer something to the local community and making sure the pub is a drug and alcohol-free environment. As someone who has talked to members of the squat on numerous occasions and finds what they are doing completely admirable, I find it sad that this notion of squatters being layabouts who will inevitably bring house prices down and wreak havoc on the community rather sad, not to mention outdated.

Anonymous said...

Not much chance of bringing house prices any further down in this area!
Lest see these squatters start paying council tax if they really want to be part of the community

Anonymous said...

I was down the squat today. Lovely people, good vibes.

Brew Wales said...

Having spoken to the solicitor acting for the owner, I can confirm that legal proceedings are in force against the squatters to remove them from the illegally occupied premises.
The squatters are preventing much-needed renovation work being done on this building.
Also the anonymous commentator above who says that 'the current occupiers have an ongoing and open dialogue with him '(the owner) is writing complete bullshit. The owner wants them out so he can repair the damage down and have his builders convert the premises into flats.

Developing Control Planning Law said...

The owner may wish to convert this building into flats, however he'll need to secure planning permission first.

As such even if he is pursing legal proceedings he is unlikely to be granted an immediate possession order.

The legal process is likely to last several months and until such time as the owner has a timetable of plans to use the building it is unlikely the legal squatters are going to be evicted.

Eventually, the owner will have possession of the premises, but not until a judge is satisfied it is going to be used.

Thanks to these squatters and British Law the building with be in use and safe from fire or drug addicts until it is redeveloped.

That's win-win for the community, the squatters and the owner himself.

TMac said...

Not good to see another pub close, but it sounds like there are more people (and fewer drugs) in the Tredegar now than when it was open. Am looking to do a feature on my blog (http://drunkdragon.wordpress.com/) about Enterprise and how they run things; and not always for the best. Any thoughts from Brew Wales?

Tom Ashmore said...

To clarify, when I photographed the Occupy Cardiff group at the pub, the squatters did not have anything to do with the banner making (not meeting). Instead they provided a large space for the protesters to work in, and provided refreshments and snacks for everyone there.

I also photographed a 'to do' list, detailing an extensive index of maintenance jobs to carry out on the building. In my opinion, their presence their is helping to keep the pub from going into a state of disrepair. It was a clean and extremely civilised environment inside, reflective of the occupants I encountered there.

Dave Jones said...

Visited this the other day, still squatted and still going strong.

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