Squatters Take Over Gordon Ramsay’s Luxury Pub

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.17 - 2024 2:32 PM CET

Occupants have taken over Gordon Ramsay’s pricey pub in England, where it's not typically illegal to occupy an empty commercial property.

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British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay likely has a few harsh words for the occupants currently inhabiting his London pub.

He has unsuccessfully tried to persuade the police to evict at least six individuals who, according to multiple British media outlets, have been occupying The York and Albany Hotel and Gastropub for almost a week.

The occupants claim they plan to transform the pub — currently listed for sale at 13 million British pounds — into a combination of a shelter, art gallery, and soup kitchen.

A Protest Against Gentrification

The occupation is a protest against the severe housing shortages and sky-high rents in London’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

“We regularly aim to open our doors to everyone, especially the population of Camden, who have been victims of gentrification,” the group wrote in a statement on Instagram.

Camden is a district with one of the largest wealth disparities in London.

Gentrification describes the process a district undergoes when wealthy investors buy up run-down houses, refurbish them, and raise the rents. This displaces the area’s original residents, who often have low incomes, in favor of residents with higher incomes.

Rent: 650,000 British pounds annually

Since 2007, Ramsay has been leasing the pub, situated in historic buildings near Regent's Park in the center of London.

He has tried, via legal action, to exit a lease that obliges him to pay nearly 650,000 pounds in rent annually for 25 years.

The pub was on the market last year and was unoccupied when the squatters broke in.

Legality of squatting

London Police informed the BBC that they have received a report about the situation, which they described as a private matter.

In England and Wales, occupying an empty commercial building isn't illegal. Police intervention is possible if criminal activities, like vandalism, occur, the BBC reported.

Interestingly, squatters can seek legal ownership of a property if they have inhabited and maintained it continuously for 10 years.

"Camden is a district with one of the largest wealth disparities in London, so it only seems fitting that properties worth 13 million pounds, which most locals could never afford to visit, are opened to everyone," the group behind the action wrote in a post.

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