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Dozens of newly arrived homeless people squatted a large Hebden Bridge terrace - Queens Terrace. 30 years ago, both Hebden Royd and the newly Conservative Calderdale Council, decided they should be evicted. Richard Marshall (elected in 2007 as Calderdale councillor, Luddenden Foot ward) was one of the most vocal in urging eviction and wanting the squatters to be "sent back where they came from". Many former squatters still live in Hebden Bridge and have done their share to contribute to the renaissance of Hebden Bridge over the past 30 years.

The following report appeared in the Evening Courier of 19 March, 1976.

Eviction of squatters will go on

CALDERDALE COUNCIL is to go ahead with plans to evict squatters from Queens Terrace in Hebden Bridge in spite of a plea for the Housing Committee to consider other solutions to the squatting problem.

Four squatters appeared before the committee at it meeting last night on the invitation of the Housing Chairman, Coun Cyril Farrar (Con, Northowram - Shelf). They put forward four possible solutions.

Their proposals were:

THAT they form themselves into a housing association to renovate and improve the terrace without making demands on Council resources. They said some private tenants in Queens Terrace would be keen to take part in such a scheme.

THAT they form a tenants' cooperative. "This could take the form of granting council tenancies to the present occupants.

"This form of scheme is being increasingly adopted by the Greater London Council and many other authorities and encouraged by the Government.

THAT they buy their houses by. rental purchase. "This solution would absolve the council of any responsibility for the houses and make private house improvement grants available."
The squatters are also keen to purch re bricked-up houses to turn them into workshops.

THAT they should be. allowed to live in the houses on short life lets or licences. "This is a solution used by many local authorities. Most people would agree," they say, "that to leave houses abandoned for lengthy periods of time is utterly wrong with so many people homeless."

The squatters' case was presented by Julie Cockburn, Gillian Barron, Yvonne Shillabeer and Chris Ratcliffe who told the committee how they came to be homeless and to live in Hebden Bridge.

They said if the council adopted one of their solutions they would be no longer be squatters.

Rut the committee threw out their proposals on the grounds of expense and decided to go ahead with the process of eviction through the courts.

Eviction decision made in secret

The decision, and the discussion, took place behind closed doors after the Press had been excluded.

The decision to take the matter "below the line" was taken in spite of initial advice from the council's Chief Legal Officer, Mr Michael Ellison, that the committee would be out of order to exclude the Press and allow members of the public into the meeting.

This advice was later reversed after the consultation with the Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Michael Scott.

Councillor Farrar objected to taking the matter in this way. "All the time, it has been up to me to make statements about these people, he said.


He thought it was only fair that the, squatters should be allowed to put their point of view.

Councillor Raymond Pearson (Con, Mixenden) objected to the delegation.

"These people are illegal occupants of property, "he said, "and what have we got to discuss with them?" He left the room when the squatters were brought in.

Outside, with the Press, he said he had left on a point of technicality rather than protest.

"I do not see it as part of my duty as an elected representative to talk to people who are occupying houses, illegally," he said. It was not that he did not not sympathise with homelessness.

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