Squat comes to an end at site of derelict prison in Greenbank
SQUATTERS occupying a derelict prison have moved out after its supermarket giant owner began securing the site.
Members of the GreenBank GreenSpace group had been camping at Longfield House, known to locals as the old ambulance station, for nearly two weeks.
They had cleared litter and just begun a planting project in a bid to transform the site into a thriving community space.
But workmen on the scene last night said the group had been served with an eviction notice by bailiffs, and had opted to move on to avoid court action.
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A team from Bristol-based Proact2it Limited was yesterday clearing rubble on behalf of Aldi, the heavyweight German supermarket chain that owns the site.
A wooden fence has also been erected around the entire building, which for years has attracted drug users and other anti-social behaviour.
Proact2it director Christian Allen said the whole plot would be secured by next Friday, with padlocked chains already restricting entry to the land.
He said: "We had a meeting earlier this week and it was agreed that we would put a wooden hoarding up to protect the squatters. Now they're gone we're going to build the hoarding over the existing fencing, and put chains on the gates."
Local residents, police and Plymouth City Council have long expressed concerns about the state of the site.
It was originally part of the Greenbank borough prison before being converted to accommodate Plymouth police headquarters in 1935 and, later, Plymouth Health Authority. For more than a decade it has been owned by Aldi, which has made a number of unsuccessful planning applications to build a supermarket.
Last week the council said it had directed Aldi to secure the plot amid health and safety fears. Discarded needles, empty bottles of booze and dumped rubbish have been commonplace at the site for years.
GreenBank GreenSpace, whose members were unavailable for comment, had been part-way through clearing the land and were planning to grow small crops and even apple trees.
The Herald has contacted Aldi several times for comment over the last two weeks, but nobody has been able to respond.