Hay Hill protesters receive court date from Norwich City Council

Protesters camped in Norwich city centre were today served with legal papers warning them to stop trespassing or face court action next week.

The Occupy Norwich camp, in Hay Hill, emerged almost four months ago to oppose several issues, including inequalities of wealth in society.

But despite the group indicating it would move after Norwich City Council threatened legal action, tents remain in place with a small number of protesters vowing to stay.

This has led to the city council pinning forms seeking repossession of the land to trees near the camp.

A court date at Norwich County Court has been set for Monday, February 20. The council will be able to seize back the land if it succeeds with its legal action.

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And any protester who formally identifies themselves could be liable to contribute towards the authority's initial court and solicitor costs of almost �250.

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'On February 4 the protesters agreed unanimously to leave the site last Saturday - a decision which they publicised.

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'Following a request from the protesters, the council wrote confirming the offer of the use of an alternative space on Hay Hill.

'Unfortunately we never received a written response to this proposal, despite assurances from the protesters that we would.

'We're very disappointed that they are continuing to trespass on the site after promising they'd leave.

'Therefore this morning we served those present on the site with court papers seeking repossession of the land.'

The council initially gave the group until February 3 to leave. But the authority has now stepped up its legal action.

Occupy Norwich says it is no longer directly involved in the administration of the Hay Hill camp.

This was after a general assembly held by the protesters agreed the camp should be managed by a branch of Occupy Norwich.

This is known as the working group and they hope to improve the camp's image.

Vanessa Buth, of Occupy Norwich, said the group would keep in contact and show solidarity with the campers but the tents were no longer their responsibility.

She said: 'It really matters how the public perceives the camp. We don't wish to be an eyesore. We wish to put a message across. If we can't do that as people don't fell comfortable with the camp and how it looks or it doesn't feel inviting then that's a problem and that's not the wish of Occupy Norwich.

'So what's happening now with this letter will have to be dealt with by the camp. The people have been made aware by the group of those responsibilities and they believe the way they move forward is the right one and they have ideas of how to deal with it.'

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