Squatters’ Paradise

The space in the middle of Rochester Square used to be a sprawling garden centre. Now it is a squat that is home to about thirty people, give or take. This is a squat with an avowed mission. They want to take the disused land and turn it back into a garden centre: a floral space bursting with life that will be open to the whole community. But they are taking their time about it.

Over the course of a couple of months I talked to and visited Rochester Square. My aim in this piece was to try to give a very fair portrayal of the squat and its current state. Squats are given a bad press by the majority but then idolized by the minority. I tried not to fall into either camp. I concentrated on giving an honest and probably complimentary overview of the squatters’ aims but at the same time being straight forward about the lack of progress to fulfilling them they had made.

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