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Campaigner for The Bohemia pub in North Finchley warns that squatting is 'not the answer'
The squatters, led by Pete Phoenix (centre left), took over the Friern Barnet Library for more than five months
A campaigner leading the fight to reopen The Bohemia pub has warned that an illegal occupation of the building “is not the answer”.
Squatters, led by self-proclaimed community activist Pete Phoenix, took over the popular community pub last night, four weeks after it was unexpectedly closed by owners Mitchells and Butlers.
Alon Or-bach, a former prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour and resident of Percy Road, a stone’s throw from the pub, has gathered almost 1,000 signatures calling for its reinstatement.
He told the Times Series that recent discussions with the owners had led to some positive behind-the-scenes developments.
And he said that the occupation by the squatters, the same group that took over the closed Friern Barnet Library for five months, could hinder the reopening of the pub.
Mr Phoenix said earlier today he and his group planned to turn the pub into a community centre and would be open to negotiations with the owners.
But 30-year-old Mr Or-bach said: “I don’t think this is the answer. It is not the same as the library. This is not a council building that the authority is looking to flog.
“The occupation gives the cause some attention but we need a sustainable business set up.
“I haven’t spoken to Phoenix yet but if the owners come up with new tenants looking to run a pub, I would hope the squatters would be open to leaving.
“I don’t know what their intentions are but it is a shame it has come to this.”
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