The state of Brighton and Hove’s housing crisis was exposed this week as a Brighton University student returned from his summer holiday to find two traveler families pitched up in his back garden and nine squatters living in the confines of his one bedroom ground floor flat.
Jack Holding, 21 of Viaduct Road, had returned to the flat, which he rents from his parents, on Wednesday following a 6 week summer break. The sociology student arrived to find his door ajar and a strong musty scent coming from the house. At first he thought he had been burgled but as he made his way in he was greeted by a group of squatters who had decided to make Jack’s flat their own. ‘I didn’t know what the pissing hell was going on’ Jack said, ‘I had expected to just get home chill out for a bit but instead I had people all over the show. They are friendly folk but they don’t half stink and there is crap everywhere they have destroyed all my books and my furniture and burnt it for firewood, I have know idea why it’s boiling outside and they could have just put the heating on’ he explained.
If the squatters wasn’t enough Mr Holding later discovered two caravans occupied by seven travelers squeezed into his garden. ‘I went to get a bit of fresh air out back and there were these two caravans in the back garden with a family in each of them, I couldn’t f***ing believe it! I mean they are nice enough but I can’t pretend it is not a bit of a pain, their kids run riot at all hours and leave their shite everywhere. I have to shimmy between the two caravans and step over half the contents of Toys R Us every time I want to put the washing out’ he said.
Mr Holding has contacted the council but they have responded saying the have no power to evict the squatters or move on the travelers, ‘I suppose I just have to live with it’ he said. ‘It’s a bit of a squeeze but we have come to the agreement that I can stay in one of the built in wardrobes so at least I have my own space. There isn’t really a queue for the bathroom as they don’t seem to wash much. They are constantly nicking my baccy and lighters though and its a right ball ache cooking for 10 when you are used to only cooking for yourself. One of the girls even had the cheek to request a vegan evening meal, I had to walk down the shop to get some stuffed peppers.The families outside generally keep themselves to themselves which is fine it just those bloody kids constantly running around screaming like nutters’ he moaned.
Angel one of the squatters has said Jack’s hospitality hadn’t gone unnoticed, ‘Yea he is a nice man. Not very spiritual but he does his best. He has made us all feel very welcome and we hope to stay as long as possible, probably until our rich parents stop sending us money down, so like never’ she quipped.
The travelers and the council both declined to comment.