Eviction proceedings have been started against a group of squatters occupying The Bohemia pub in North Finchley.

The group was today issued with a summons to appear at Barnet County Court on Monday, where the legal process to have them removed is set to begin.

Administrators for the former pub Chantrey Velacott applied for the order, despite on-going talks with the pub’s owners Mitchells and Butlers and the property agent Colliers.

The Bohemia was closed suddenly in August when lease holders Gregarious Ltd failed to agree a renewal with Mitchells and Butlers.

Since gaining access to the empty building in late September, the squatters have opened it to the community, running workshops and events including yoga, salsa dancing and film nights.

Pete Phoenix, who represents the group, said he was surprised to receive the summons as talks with Mitchells and Butlers and representatives from Colliers had been “constructive”.

He said: “We have had a good working relationship with them and had been showing around some prospective tenants. This summons came out of the blue and we were a little taken aback.

“We had said we would leave at an agreed date if a new tenant was coming in to reopen the venue – the last thing we want to do is go to court.”

Mr Phoenix said he and members of the Bring Back The Bohemia campaign group had been working on a co-operative bid for the lease, thought to cost in the region of £80,000 a year.

He said: “We want to be getting on with progressing this project and finding a new tenant to reopen the building or put together our own bid.

“Lots of people have been using and enjoying the building since we came in and we’ve had lots of support. These court proceedings are a waste of time and money.”