St Paul's demo faces new legal move

 

The City of London Corporation has relaunched legal action against the anti-capitalist protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral.

The corporation previously offered to give the protesters until the new year to leave the site.

Stuart Fraser, policy chairman at the corporation, said: "We paused legal action for two weeks for talks with those in the camp on how to shrink the extent of the tents and to set a departure date - but got nowhere.

"So, sadly, now they have rejected a reasonable offer to let them stay until the new year, it's got to be the courts.

"We'd still like to sort this without court action but from now on we will have to have any talks in parallel with court action - not instead."

Earlier today, Occupy Wall Street protesters in a New York park were ordered to leave their encampment because officials said it had become unsanitary and hazardous.

At about 1am local time, police handed out notices from the owner of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Office Properties, and the city saying that the park had to be cleared.

The City of London Corporation's planning and transportation committee voted today to continue with the legal action.

A notice regarding the decision is expected to be served to the Occupy London movement tomorrow.

Mr Fraser said: "We are getting reports about vulnerable people, cases of late-night drinking and other worrying trends, so it's time to act. It will clearly take time but we are determined to see this through.

"Lawful protesters who stand or walk are a regular part of London. But tents, equipment and now, increasingly, quite a lot of mess, is not what a highway is for and others are losing out."

Notices given to the protesters in New York said the park "poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard to those camped in the park, the city's first responders and the surrounding community".

Protesters were told they could return within hours, but without sleeping bags, tarps or tents.

Occupy London organisers have called for supporters to meet outside the US Embassy in London this afternoon.

Occupy London said in a statement: "As part of the gathering, Americans allied with Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London will demand entry to the embassy to question the ambassador on events happening in New York."

Mr Fraser said City of London Corporation had taken the decision to pursue legal action some time ago, but "where we've had our finger on the pause button, we've now taken it off".

Protesters will be told to remove their tents and equipment within 24 hours. If they remain, proceedings will be issued in the High Court.

Mr Fraser said talks with the protesters made it clear that they "are not going to move any time soon".

He said: "We have a responsibility to clear the highway, which is frankly for the use of everybody."

He added: "We don't have a choice in this."

Mr Fraser said businesses near St Paul's Cathedral have complained about a loss of business and are concerned they will suffer trading losses in the run-up to Christmas.

The Corporation is expecting a legal challenge from the protesters. "I am quite sure their legal teams are on standby," said Mr Fraser.

Court action is likely to take weeks. In a statement, the City of London Corporation said no enforcement action will take place without a further committee debate.

The Corporation's bid does not extend to tents on land belonging to St Paul's Cathedral, which suspended its legal action against the protesters on November 1.

Ronan McNern, a spokesman for Occupy London, said: "It's really sad this is the way the City of London Corporation thought they had to go.

"To be honest, it's really disappointing that they cut off the process of dialogue.

"However, if they want to go down this route we have a legal team who are fully prepared.

"It's significant that the City of London Corporation announced this today just as there have been violent evictions in New York and across the United States."

The chapter of St Paul's Cathedral are meeting tomorrow to consider their response, a cathedral spokesman said.

 

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
News
i100
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage: 'I don't know anybody in politics as poor as we are'
i100
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015