Sunday, 14 March 2010

Black Cat Kitty Antics: And Stay Out?

The Black Cat occupied radical community social centre of Bath is currently located at the old 'Newark Works' building, Unit 3A, the former Riverside Business Park, Lower Bristol Road, Bath, BA2 3DW, a 5 minute walk from Bath Spa train station. However, their stay at that venue is looking currently threatened, which is a shame, because the building is particularly suited to its current use for community, art, campaigning, residential and performance events.

Whilst B&NES Council have decided not to follow up on the Black Cat collective's attempted negotiations with Property Services personnel Malcolm Grainger and Joanne Long, they handed court summons to the BC on Wednesday, who are in court to defend against eviction proceedings on Wednesday the 17th at Bath County Courts at 10am. Highlights from their argument went along the lines that, though the BC people seemed “personable and enthusiastic” their “business proposal” seemed “naive”, and they should be moved out in case they trip over, hurt themselves and sue B&NES. Whilst the Black Cat Collective are surprised to hear they made a business proposal to the council, they are saddened that the council have chosen to go against public opinion and against financial common sense to spend taxpayers' money on court and bailiffs, even though there have been no complaints regarding the community social centre's behaviour, and indeed, the council has no plans for the 2-year vacant building. B&NES instead made the decision to not legitimise the Black Cat's presence in the city, shockingly.

And the trouble doesn't just stop there. Bath police attempted at 15:15 on Friday the 12th of March to force entry to the building, kicking at the door and dislodging three bricks of the Grade 2 listed stonework, and claiming that the Black Cat people had broke in that morning – even though Bath police were informed about the occupation back on the 15th of February by 'Rely On' security. Beat manager Adrian “you won't have a community social space round here if I have anything to do with it” Secker, previously indicted by his own words of overstepping his own supposedly non-political remit, turned up and expressed lament that the Black Cat were still on his patch. Perhaps he should change his patch? Nevertheless, the police threatened to return and arrest the one resident, if they could find an excuse.

Police also turned up the next morning at the back door the around 10.40am, complaining about another supposed neighbouring break-in.

If anyone is unhappy with this turn of events, and can think of anyway to help persuade Bath & North East Somerset Council to change its mind, then they would be delighted to hear from you, via bathsocialcentre [at], or over the phone on 07956 777609. It's always nice to have company at the Centre anyway, so why not drop round and say “hi”?