‘Tent City’ camp set to be evicted from University of Leeds land in city centre

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The ‘Tent City’ encampment is set to be evicted from University of Leeds land in the city centre after five days at the site.

A judge granted an possession order after an application by the university and property firm Downing Students Leeds against ‘persons unknown’.

Leeds County Court was told at a hearing today that members of the encampment, set up by the group Leeds Voice for the Homeless, entered the site on Calverley Street on October 6 and put up tents in the garden area.

Tom Tyson, representing the university, said the Tent City encampment arrived in Victoria Gardens in the city centre before being moved to make way for the Olympic homecoming parade.

It then moved to nearby Park Square before being moved on again after an another court order was issued, on the basis that the encampment would move to the old international swimming pool site.

Mr Tyson told the court that the members of the camp arrived on the University of Leeds land last Thursday and said they would leave by October 6, but did not do so.

He told the judge that if an order was granted, enforcement would be carried out in a humane and non-confrontational manner.

The Tent City group did not have legal representation in court.

One member, calling himself Mr Jessop, said the members were happy to leave but needed more time, 24 hours, to clean the site up.

He said there were tents still there but that he could not get to the site until the housing office closes.

Mr Jessop accused the university of ‘wasting resources’ by not waiting for the group to leave before taking possession of the site.

He said they moved from the international swimming pool site because the group’s members had been attacked.

Judge Andrew Saffman accepted the application for a possession order and said to the group’s members in court: “It seems to me you are trespassers.”

He added: “I don’t think there is any basis for refusing the order by the claimant. If that means they have to clean up the mess rather than you, that is up to them.”

Later, another member of the group told him: “We never meant to upset anyone, we just went there because we wanted to be safe. We were being attacked.”

A University of Leeds spokesperson later said in a statement: “The protestors set up tents outside student accommodation last week. Their protest was not aimed at either the University or its students.

“Because the land was occupied unlawfully, they were asked to move on and many have now left. The University is seeking to regain full possession of the site through the courts.”

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