Reverend Peter Nichols heads squatters' fight to stay in derelict Thrifty garage in Brimsdown Avenue

Squatters fight to stay in derelict petrol station

Reverend Peter Nichols in his caravan on the derelict site

The squatters claim they are keeping the site safe

First published in News by

Squatters who took over a former service station three years ago have been ordered to leave the site.

Reverend Peter Nichols, who lives in a caravan at the derelict Thrifty MOT Centre in Brimsdown Avenue, was told by a district judge yesterday at Central London County Court in Regent’s Park that he and six others living on the site must leave within the year. 

But Reverend Nichols – who runs his own science fiction-based religion, the Church of All Worlds, from his caravan – plans to appeal against the decision over the next couple of days on human rights grounds.

The eco-warrior, who claims he uses the site to campaign against climate change and global warming, said: “It is difficult to predict what will happen.

"We are prepared if necessary, to move out but we are also prepared to appeal and negotiate with the owners.

“At the end of the day, we have an order against us and we have to find somewhere else to go if we fail to make an arrangement.

“We just don’t know, but I think this site could be empty for years and years.”

He said although the order was served yesterday, he does not know when they will be forced to leave and claims notice should be given before they are evicted.

Reverend Nichols believes the squatters’ presence has kept the site, which is owned by The Sisters Property Company Limited, secure for the last three years.

He hopes the squatters will be able to come to an agreement with the owners to allow them to stay on the site, which is in a residential street.

The environmental campaigner told the Enfield Independent on Tuesday that he is also living in fear of Enfield Borough Council after officers arrived on site to seize six vehicles.

The authority claimed the vehicles were illegal as they were untaxed and had not been declared off the road to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).

Approximately 50 vehicles remain on site, which Reverend Nichols claims the squatters keep on behalf of charities or renovate to help other worthy causes.

He is concerned the council will soon return to collect more vehicles.

Enfield Council's cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Chris Bond, told the Enfield Independent on Tuesday that the council “cannot allow” illegal activity that causes a nuisance to continue.

He urged the squatters to do the “right thing” and move on to a place where they can live legally without “inconveniencing” residents.

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