Sheffield cathedral moves to evict Occupy camp

By staff writers
12 Jan 2012

Sheffield Cathedral officials have said they will move ahead today with eviction of members of the Occupy movement camping on its grounds.

The cathedral says the action is interfering with its planned refurbishment programme, and it needs the space for a “builders yard”.

Members of Occupy Sheffield, pitched their tents outside the cathedral on 5 November.

They told BBC radio Sheffield this morning that they wanted to mediate with the Cathedral, were prepared to scale down the camp and find a compromise so that the Cathedral’s builders could move in. But, they said, the Cathedral did not want to talk to them.

In a statement on the cathedral's website, The Dean of Sheffield, the Very Reverend Peter Bradley, said that the church had "acted generously towards the protest, seeking to hear, along with ecumenical partners, the issues which are being raised".

He went on to say that, despite the support, "the presence of Occupy Sheffield in the churchyard has caused disruption to the cathedral's work.

"Services have been interrupted, staff time has been taken up with ensuring public safety on the forecourt, bookings for school visits and for our conference facilities have declined.

"As a small organisation which receives no government funding and which supports its own charitable work through the Cathedral Archer Project, Sheffield Cathedral cannot afford this continuing drain on its resources."

Occupy Sheffield said it had taken over a former Salvation Army Citadel building on Cross Burgess Street, but still planned to keep its cathedral camp going.

One of the members of Occupy Sheffield, Deacon Dan, said: "We're making moves. We are taking some tents down, we're rearranging the camp. We have the space at the citadel now, we're doing lots of work on there.

"We will be refocusing. We are hoping to have big public meetings at the citadel. But we also need to keep a visible presence on the street, so that we can engage with the public in a better way."

Joby, another member of the camp, urged that a compromise be found.

[Ekk/2]

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