This week, police have been struggling to cope with the volume of squatters that have flocked to the abandoned Bubbles Car Wash on Lawrence Street.
Does squatting have to be such a problem? If conducted peacefully, there’s no reason that local suburbs have to turn into a British Battle of Ryesgade. York is a beautiful city, abandoned buildings included. Here’s a rundown of empty buildings that shouldn’t be such a hard stay:
WORKING MEN’S CLUB, LAWRENCE STREET
Actually pretty close to Bubbles. The troublesome squatters there could just cross the road and find somewhere altogether more glamorous. The ex-Club has a whole three floors and two wings. As in, an East Wing and a West Wing. Before it was the WMC, who, incidentally, now live next door, it was a family home, built in 1822 for the Tuke family (the guys that set up The Retreat). Swanky.
BONDING WAREHOUSE , SKELDERGATE
The Bonding Warehouse is only a little way away, just off Skeldergate. Standing at a palatial four stories, it’s a prime squatting location: a riverside balcony, view of the bridge and central location. Ideal. Plus you’d have neighbours in high places (the next-door flats cost a mint). It’d be an ideal location for an illegal rave. Or you could save all the space to yourself, run around, pretend it’s the White House, play skittles with beer bottles, whatever.
WHITE SWAN HOTEL, PICCADILLY
An ideal location, right above the shops and close to all the local attractions. Great for young couples. The exterior is beautiful (albeit fake) Tudor woodwork, and although the interior probably needs a lick of paint, it’s an ex-hotel, so we can assume that means ensuite bathrooms and big ol’ beds. Who needs running water?