Broadway Market Occupation: BBC News Coverage

For BBC local news coverage of the ongoing Broadway Market occupation click on this link here.

Protesters continue cafe battle

More protesters have occupied a cafe to save it from demolition, less than a week after others were evicted.


Police and sheriff’s officers moved in to remove them from Tony’s Cafe in Broadway Market, Hackney, last Wednesday after a four-week occupation.

On Boxing Day more protesters occupied the cafe, in the fight against what they call the area’s gentrification.

Spokesman Arthur Shuter said they were now freezing in the half-demolished building, but they would remain.

He said there was no longer any water or gas and many of the fittings had been removed and the roof had been destroyed.

But he told BBC London: “We have to maintain occupation of the building, we have no choice.

“Now that we have done it we can’t go home at night, because when we come back in the morning, the building will be gone.”

He said protesters decided to re-occupy the popular cafe because what had happened was “so unfair” and a lot of people locally were against it.

Builders moved in to start knocking it down as soon as the last batch of protesters were removed.

The cafe is one of several buildings in the area due for demolition, but some residents say it is a local institution.

Hackney Council told BBC London that it had sold the property years ago, in line with government guidelines, to help clear its debts.


This is an update on the occupation of 34 Broadway Market which Hackney Independent fully supports.

On December 21st the occupation in defence of Tony’s Cafe at 34 Broadway Market was evicted. Developer Dr Wratten’s henchmen smashed half the place down. On Boxing Day morning, a new group of supporters of the campaign managed to enter and re-occupy the cafe.

We have now undertaken an ambitious reconstruction scheme and are rebuilding the cafe almost as fast the wreckers smashed it down. (We plan not one but two floors – but no exclusive penthouse apartments or concierge on this development!).

We are loath to describe this as regeneration but it’s probably closer to it than anything Wratten or Hackney Council have been capable of so far.

We still have lots of work to do, so if you have building skills or just would like to help out, we’d be glad to see you. We urgently need more bedding, food, heat, and other provisions. Anything you got for christmas and don’t want would be gratefully received. Please come down if you would like to help out keeping the place occupied.

As promised, we are going to go on fighting for Tony to get his place back and to defend Spirit’s shop. The fact that new people were willing to come forward and carry on this community occupation only shows how strongly many in this area feel about the sell off of Tony’s and Spirit’s places and the wider process of social cleansing affecting long-term working class areas like Broadway Market.

Please sign up to our mailing list and pass this news on to everyone you know – we need your help to keep this thing going! Thanks to everyone for their support so far.


From the website:

On Wednesday morning the occupation in defence of Tony’s Cafe at 34 Broadway Market was evicted. Despite this setback we are going to go on fighting for Tony to get his place back and to defend Spirit’s shop. This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning!

You are cordially invited to our Christmas Party on Tuesday 27th at 1pm, outside Tony’s Cafe. There will be music, food and drink, and maybe a few festive surprises. We will also be outside the cafe again on Saturday 24th from 11am. Come and get a Christmas card!

Whilst we appreciate that Christmas is only days away and that money is tight for everyone, we urgently need to raise funds to keep the campaign going. Please make a donation if you are in Broadway Market over the next few days. There are collecting tins at 27-29 Broadway Market (Supermarket & Off-Licence) and at 71 Broadway Market (Spirit’s Nutritious Food Galley). Please give generously.

Developers evict cafe protesters

BBC News

Protesters who locked themselves inside a cafe for four weeks to save it from demolition have been evicted.

Builders started knocking down Tony’s Cafe in Broadway Market, Hackney, shortly after protesters were forced to leave just before dawn.

Residents fear that the popular cafe will be turned into luxury flats as part of the area’s “gentrification”.

Hackney Council told BBC London that they sold the property some years ago to help clear its debts.

Campaigners say the cafe is a institution in the community.

“People are sick of very little being done for low-income families,” said campaigner David Stanton, who said other properties were under threat.

“This is something that’s not going away and the council knows it.”

“It’s for the rich,” said Betty Shanks.

“I’m ashamed that the council, who say they’re for the working class, can come and along and take the cafe away.”


Please copy and send out to as many people as possible


Sheriffs and Police broke into Tony’s Café this morning, injuring one of the occupiers and have allowed Dr Wratten’s men to start an immediate demolition. Within an hour the building was rendered unliveable.

We lodged an appeal yesterday with the High Court but the bailiffs ignored that and went ahead anyway. Two of the occupiers are at the courts right now trying to get a stay of execution but Wratten’s men have done so much damage that it seems unlikely we could re-occupy the café.

The sad thing is that more people than ever were coming to the café and there was still a fantastic energy to the occupation.

We plan a show of local solidarity tonight at 6pm, outside the Café. Please come and show your anger and support!

Update on the Occupation of 34 Broadway Market

This is an update on the occupation of 34 Broadway Market which Hackney Independent fully supports.


The meeting saw a level of attendance which pleased the organisers, and which shocked Hackney Council and other attendees. A head count showed that more than 135 people attended and many were clearly angry and seeking answers. Hackney sent their Interim Director of Law & Democratic Services – Meic Sullivan-Gould, with no elected labour Councillors showing their faces. The 3 property developers at the centre of the Broadway Market regeneration arguments failed to attend or be represented.
Five speakers put their clear points of view and Hackney listened carefully to what was said. A motion was put at the end of the meeting, calling on the Council to immediately agree to buy/take back Nos: 34 and 71 Broadway Market and to restore the properties to Tony and Spirit. The motion was carried unanimously. Hackney are now very aware of the depth of the feeling against what has happened here and we now need to maintain the current levels of pressure on the Council, and the property developers, to bring about the only solution which would be acceptable.

It was agreed that our protest would continue and that we will link up with the Ellingfort Road Co-operative and OPEN-Dalston, to highlight the problems faced by others, and the similarities with the Broadway Market issues. Meic Sullivan-Gould admitted that there had been fraud in the past and suggested that a number of corrupt officials had been caught out in the last 12 months and removed from their posts. But we know that many of those behind what took place during the commercial property sales fraud are still very much in place and in control. We have resolved to continue until they are formally identified and properly dealt with.

Spirit has received the date for his Appeal hearing at Shoreditch County Court – January 27, 2006 at 10.30am, for a one hour hearing (although we have heard that before haven’t we?). The Appeal against the Possession Order granted for Tony’s Café will be lodged with the Court of Appeal by 22nd December and a hearing is expected very early in January. There is still much to be done.

Update on Broadway Market Occupation

This is an update on the occupation of 34 Broadway Market which Hackney Independent fully supports.

Update 10th December 2005

Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in opposing Dr Wratten’s possession proceedings in court on Friday. However, instead of being heard in 10-20 minutes which is usual in these matters, the case went to trial and His Honour, Judge Latham, took until 4pm to reach his decision. He also gave Dr Wratten’s lawyers a very hard time. Much was made in court of the actions of Mrs Wratten, who is one of the directors of Market House Ltd, the company that wants to demolish Tony’s Café. Mrs Wratten made a visit to our occupation where she accepted tea, chatted with protesters and even signed our petition and gave us a donation. Judge Latham described her actions as

But at the end of the day the wider issues surrounding our occupation (for example the problems with the sale and planning permission) were not seen as relevant to the case in the eyes of the law. This meant that Dr Wratten’s property rights were given precedence and he can now evict the protesters.

An appeal is planned and must be lodged by 23rd December.

This decision has in no way dampened our enthusiasm to get justice for Tony and other affected traders in Broadway market and to continue challenging gentrification in the area.

The Evening Standard has continued its coverage of the events in Broadway Market. It devoted a whole page to the matter in Friday¹s edition and journalists were present at the court case.

London Tonight are sending a film crew to the occupation on Sunday morning we ask anyone who wants to show support to come along before 11am in a show of strength!

We are receiving an increasing number of calls from the press and media and many have started to become interested in the wider story of council corruption.

A public meeting is being called for local residents for Thursday 15th December between 7.30pm and 9.30pm at St Michaels Hall, on the corner of Lansdowne Drive and Lavender Grove, E8.

The Occupation of Tony’s Café has raised many issues in the national, London and local press and we are inviting people to discuss the following issues:




The event is to be chaired by Rev William Campbell-Taylor.

All relevant parties are being invited to speak including:

Chris Berry: Interim Head of Planning, Hackney Council
Jessica Crowe: Deputy Mayor of Hackney
Guy Nicholson: Regeneration Officer, Hackney Council
Andrew Boff: Conservative Councillor, Queeensbridge Ward
Bill Hodgson: Labour Councillor, Queensbridge Ward (Chair of Planning)

Arthur Shuter: Local Advocate and Spokesman for Protest at Tony¹s Café
Carl Taylor: Hackney Independent
Stephen Selby: Broadway Market Traders and Residents Association
Maria Flynn: Regents Estate TRA
Fred Filce: Whiston & Goldsmiths TRA

Dr Roger Wratten
Stirling Properties
Broadway Investments Hackney Ltd.

Each party will have 2-3 minutes to speak on one or all of the issues and questions will be taken from the audience. We expect the media to attend.

We have now learnt that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has appointed a senior officer to deal with criminal investigations relating to commercial property sales in Hackney.

Bill Hodgson, Chair of Planning in Hackney has told us that he is happy to refer the issues around planning consent for 34 Broadway Market to the Independent Planning Directorate a government body – for review.

Update of the Occupation of 34 Broadway Market

This is an update on the occupation of 34 Broadway Market which Hackney Independent fully supports.


7th December 2005
Once again, thank you to everyone who has been supporting the occupation. Many local people and traders have been giving donations, food and other useful items to help us continue protecting the building. We have collected over 500 signatures on our petition so far. Also we have had a lot of support from local estates – thank you to everyone who has put flyers round their estate.

Wiston and Goldsmiths TRA are formally offering full support to the protest at their committee meeting tonight and have already asked us if they can donate food to the occupation!

This occupation has been covered in today’s Guardian – it is the front page story on the G2 section. The Evening Standard are running a piece tonight, BBC London are picking up the story today and Channel 4 News and the Financial Times have also expressed interest in covering the situation.

Just to remind everyone that our court hearing is on Friday at 10.30am. Our supporters are invited to come down to the court which is at 19 Leonard Street EC2. It would be good to meet outside the court at 10.00am.

Tony has applied for legal aid for a Judicial Review of the planning
consent for flats – the planning consent which caused him to be evicted and paved the way for the demolition of the cafe.

 The Judicial Review will be to examine how planning consent was given by Hackney Council without referring to the proper planning committee. Hackney have recently looked at the planning decision but have so far decided they are not going to revoke it.
In addition, Tony’s solicitors are looking into getting an injunction to stop the court case on Friday on the grounds that the possession hearing will prejudice the powers of the High Court to examine the validity of the planning consent.

We have been informed that, following our protest, the Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad are ‘re-opening’ their investigation into the council commercial property sales in Hackney.

Lastest Update on the Broadway Market Occupation

This is an update on the occupation of 34 Broadway Market which Hackney Independent fully supports.

You may have seen that the Hackney Gazette covered our protest on their front page. We thank them for their attention but we want to clarify some aspects of their coverage. They described the people involved in the protest as ‘self-styled squatters with a cause’. We wanted to just clarify who is participating: There are some local people with experience of squatting involved and they have been invaluable in making this action possible. But it is important to realise that many people involved here have never done anything like this before they are local residents who felt that it was time to act to prove that it is possible to reverse the tide of gentrification. Also there are many, many local people and shopkeepers who have dropped in for a short time to show their support! You are invited to join us.

Just to let you know that there are reporters preparing stories about this situation for the national press. Keep a look out next week!

We have put up a poster letting people know that we are not asking people to boycott the businesses in buildings owned by Dr Wratten or his associates who are just their landlords.
Apparently they have suffered a drop in customers since our occupation a clear indication of how seriously people in this community are taking this issue and a sign to Dr Wratten that his future business interests in the market might not be so rosy!
The one point we do want to make is that these businesses might not know that they occupy premises with a dark history. Many of us miss Prakash the proprietor of Kenny’s Newsagents, formerly at numbers 4-6 who threw in the towel after years of wrangling with Dr Wratten. Obviously people also remember Little Georgia which was priced out of Broadway Market by Dr Wratten (as covered in the Hackney Gazette). Whilst we have nothing personal against the new business owners they should recognise that they are part of the wider process of gentrifying the area (increased rents, businesses not aimed at working class locals).

Our occupation has now been served with an application for a Possession Order which is due for hearing at 10.30 on Friday 9th December. We will be vigorously opposing this application and doing everything in our power to stop Dr Wratten from recovering and destroying the building!

Hackney Planning, Legal Services and the Chief Executive of Hackney Council are in intense discussions with the audit and anti-fraud division about the planning consent to build a new development on the site of Tony’s Cafe. It remains to be seen whether the council will cancel the consent they wrongly gave or whether they will leave us to apply for judicial review. Under pressure from local councillors, Head of Planning Sue Foster has decided that the original planning application was approved contrary to council rules. Although they were aware of this at the time the planning consents were granted they seem to have decided (some twenty-one months later) that they messed up!
Hackney are aware that we face possession proceedings and that there is an urgent need to resolve this issue.