The High Court has ordered a group of anti-capitalist squatters to leave the Royal Mint building opposite the Tower of London amid fears they were planning to host an illegal New Year's rave. The joint-leaseholders of the building said they feared the property being overrun by hundreds of members of the public this evening should those inside go ahead with plans to throw open the doors for a party.
The group of up to 50 first occupied the Grade II-listed building on 28 December, demanding that it be used to shelter the homeless rather than sit empty. They were photographed unfurling banners reading: "The Homeless Strike Back" and "Take Back the City."
The former Royal Mint building is to be redeveloped into a business complex. Documents from Land Registry records show the site was sold for £75m in April 2015 to RMC, which is incorporated in the British Virgin Isles.
The squatters are understood to have left the building peacefully following a decision at the High Court this morning (31 December) – removing the threat of an illegal rave going ahead. The joint leaseholders of the Royal Mint building, RMC LH Co. Ltd., and RM Site Management Ltd., claimed that an all-night New Year's party was being planned.
Law student Jed Miller, who works for an advisory service for squatters, disputed claims that a rave was due to take place. He also requested that any decision on whether to remove the squatters be adjourned until the new year, adding that security personnel on site would be more than able to cope should revellers descend on the building this evening.
Mr Justice Henry Carr rejected the squatters' arguments, according to the Evening Standard, and granted a possession order with immediate effect. He added that had he allowed an adjournment "there is a real risk that an illegal rave would take place".
"There would be a continuing risk to health and safety and it would enable the occupation to achieve its objective of a rave simply by a request for an adjournment," he said. "I am not prepared to allow that to happen."