Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Rooftop protest against squat eviction


“There is a housing crisis and they are trying to evict people from their homes. I am resisting peacefully. This is my home.”

Photos: Lorna Stephenson

wavingA three-hour rooftop occupation was staged by a man resisting an attempted eviction of the squatted Printers Devil pub in Broad Plain, Old Market this afternoon.

From the roof of the three-storey building, he declared: “There is a housing crisis and they are trying to evict people from their homes. I am resisting peacefully. This is my home.”

Chris*, 25, took the action after bailiffs from High Court Enforcement turned up at the derelict pub this morning. Chris, along with the other people currently residing in the pub, said they had not been warned of the eviction happening today, although they were aware that the building had been given a possession order and eviction was imminent.

On his decision to get down from the roof, he commented, “I’ve got my point across. I’m a pacifist and I don’t want anyone to be in danger on the roof”. He added that “It’s been an upsetting day – I’ve lost my home”.

The Grade 2 listed building was empty for eight years before being occupied by Chris and friends six months ago. The pub had previously been repossessed by a bank and fallen into disrepair.

The occupiers claim that the building is being purposefully neglected to make it easier for future developers to get around planning restrictions on listed buildings.

Another occupier, Hayat, 22, claims Chris renamed the pub the ‘People’s Palace’, and had a lot of support from the community.

“He put so much work into that place, renovations, re-roofing, dehumidified the place and cleaned it up, got the plumbing working…” she says. “He’s given a lot to people.”

The pub has been a home – with zero drugs and ‘safe space’ policies – for a transient group of vulnerable adults and travellers, some of whom are now sleeping in tents elsewhere in the city.

Many more benefited from the space, says Chris. Over six months, the space offered a base for people to apply for jobs, get organised and move on: “There was a lot of people like that who moved on to have permanent places.”

The group say the building has been used for workshops and community outreach projects.

“We would get waste food and cook it, and then distribute it to homeless people in the area,” says Hayat.

Two police cars were present at the scene with officers claiming their presence was purely to ensure safety for the public and for Chris, and prevent ‘breach of the peace’.

The bailiffs at the scene, from High Court Enforcement (HCE), declined to comment on the circumstances of Chris’s eviction.

For more information on Bristol’s housing crisis, see the Cable’s investigations on Dead Space, the future of supported housing and the impact of off-shore companies buying up Bristol.

*Interviewees requested the use of first names only.


Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

Watchdog finds ‘serious failings’ after concluding council does not know what state its housing is in

Bristol City Council has been called out by a government regulator for not meeting new quality standards, with thousands of repairs and damp and mould cases long overdue for action and many safety check records missing.

#Cable10Years: three campaigns the Cable fought and won

For our 10th birthday we're collecting some of our best work. Here we highlight some campaigns the Cable has run to improve people's lives in the city, and how you can help us continue by supporting our work.

‘This is long overdue’: campaigning high-rise residents promised action to improve their homes

After years of living in crumbling, leaking housing, and putting pressure on the council to take action, people in neglected blocks of flats at St Jude's hope change is finally coming.

‘Prison felt safer than the streets’: why women’s homelessness needs to be better understood

From rough sleeping to overstretched waiting lists for a social home, women in Bristol and beyond are disproportionately affected by the housing crisis – but their needs are often not recognised.

Revealed: Building owner ‘abandons’ leaseholders trapped in unsafe Brislington flats

Orchard House residents took matters into their own hands to force the building owner to carry out remediation works, under powers brought in after the Grenfell tragedy. But as the legal deadline nears, little progress has been made.

Inclusive or exclusive: can community-led housing schemes provide for people most in need?

In recent years Bristol has seen the development of several new community-led housing schemes, which are often driven by small resident groups – but also aim to house people in need of a social home. How is the model working out – and with funds shrinking, does it have a future?

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning