Squatter still at Highbury Barn

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Efforts to remove a squatter living in a former Great Cornard pub continue to come to nothing.

David Vernon moved into the Highbury Barn in Canhams Road at the beginning of last month.

Although police have visited the building in an attempt to remove the 46-year-old, and have turned off the electricity, he has refused to budge.

“I am still here, I spent Easter here and am not going anywhere,” said Mr Vernon. “I have got nowhere else to go.”

The owner of the pub, Punch Taverns, is aware of Mr Vernon’s presence and is working with police to try to have him removed.

Under UK law, however, Mr Vernon is not doing anything illegal, as the pub is a non-residential building. He can only be forced to leave if he is found to have caused damage, stolen items, or a notice is issued by a court.

The pub is currently the subject of a planning application which, if successful, would see it turned into a supermarket.

Campaigners keen for the building to remain a pub say they do not believe the presence of Mr Vernon should hold any sway when Babergh District Council rules on the proposals.

Great Cornard Parish Council has already given the plans its support, fearing the building could become derelict.

“There remains continued community support for the retention of the pub,” said lead campaigner Gavin Fance, from Sycamore Road.

“I believe it would not be unreasonable for the council to resist any proposal that would lead to its loss, alteration or change of use.”