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Squatters move back into seafront property
1:49pm Tuesday 23rd January 2007 in Search
Squatters have moved back into a derelict building earmarked for one of Hove's most controversial developments.
Magistrates forced a group of illegal occupants to quit Medina House in October but more squatters returned this week.
Police officers, the building's owner and councillors are looking at the court eviction order to see if the squatters can be turfed-out immediately.
Neighbours fear they will be subjected to noisy all-night raves and parties, which caused them sleepless nights last summer.
Sirus Taghan, owner of Medina House, in King's Esplanade, plans to demolish the historic property and build a 100ft block of flats. The design has been likened to a "stack of toppling plates" or the set of a science-fiction film.
Lou Stack, of Save Hove, who lives in nearby Bath Court, said people did not want the squatters but they were also angry about Mr Taghan's proposals.
She said: "We think it is the same lot of squatters that were here before and they got in through a back window.
"They're living on the upper level and have had the electricity and water supplies switched on.
"Apparently they don't want the building to be demolished and are all for the building being saved.
"While we don't want Medina House to be knocked down, we're not happy about the squatters either."
Jan Young, a councillor for Central Hove ward, said: "We can't do anything until we've looked into the eviction order to see whether it allows us to evict them again immediately.
"If we can't, we'll have to go through the whole process in the courts again.
"We are changing parking regulations on King's Esplanade, though, which will make it harder for squatters to have visitors.
"Last summer was a nightmare because their friends would come and park on the seafront in their vans and stay for days and nights on end, whereas we will be taking away all-day parking."
Residents complained of months of misery caused by the squatters when they were last camped there.
Peter Marrocco, who runs Marrocco's Italian restaurant next door, complained of graffiti, rubbish and raves that could last 27 hours.
The building has been used as a squat since 1999, when a group called the Chalk Circle moved in, turned it into a gallery and held exhibitions there.
Mr Taghan, of developers Globe Homes, has been planning on turning the building into apartments since he bought it from Brighton and Hove City Council.