Developer says squatters have not returned to police house in St Mark's
SQUATTERS have not returned to a former police house in Cheltenham, a developer has insisted.
Residents in Church Road reported seeing squatters moving into numbers 32 and 24 in Church Road in St Mark's on Saturday, with one of the trespassers said to be driving a BMW sports car.
But Angela Hughes, director of New Dawn Homes, did not believe the people were the same squatters who had occupied the property in summer last year.
"I have been there a few times and I'm positive there is nobody there," she said.
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"I think it is just homeless people gathering outside, but not going inside the building.
"The BMW is perhaps from someone who has parked there for the day and gone off somewhere else.
"People do park in the driveway there sometimes."
Ms Hughes had the electricity, water and gas cut off at the property, which is opposite St Mark's Church, after receiving reports of the squatters there last summer.
She said she sent a workman to the house again this week to remove the electricity meter in an effort to ensure there would be no way for them to get any power at the site.
Neighbours claimed the squatters had proved a nightmare, playing loud music and shouting while holding all-night parties.
One woman, who asked not to be named for fear of being targeted by the squatters, said: "They have been very disruptive.
"People come and go from the place at all times of night, and they have all-night parties which have been really noisy.
"When they are there, it can be a nightmare for the rest of us."
New Dawn Homes has planning permission to demolish the property, which has been vacant for years, and build seven houses on the site.
From April this year it will be a criminal offence to squat in a residential building. However the Church Road properties are currently commercial premises.
In September last year the squatters placed signs in the doors of the property saying they would not leave without a fight.
"They said: "We live in this property, it is our home and we intend to stay here.
"Any entry or attempt to enter into this property without our permission is a criminal offence.
"If you attempt to enter by violence or by threatening violence we will prosecute you.
"If you want to get us out you will have to take out a summons for possession in the county court or in the High Court."