Facing eviction: 30-year-old Marian Dumitrache from Romania in the Lee Valley Park
East European immigrants facing eviction from a “shanty town” on the banks of a canal in north London today said: “We’ve got to live somewhere.”
The group of around 50 men, mostly from Romania, have been served with a possession order by landowners TFL which will be heard at the High Court on Friday.
If approved, police will have powers to move the group – who have been accused by locals of turning the leafy stretch of the Lee Valley Park in Edmonton into a “filthy slum” – off the land.
Using discarded doors, boards and plastic sheets, they have created a makeshift encampment of around 10 huts each with its own front door, along with washing lines, mirrors hanging from trees, a lounge and a dining area.
Most of the men are unemployed and spend their days waiting at a nearby retail park in the hope of being picked up for construction work before returning to cook on open fires and share a bare mattress with up to six other men.
One of the group told the Standard: “We came here for jobs but we don’t often find work. I came here four months ago to send money home to my family in Romania.
“We aren’t a problem. These guys are not dangerous. We need to sleep somewhere. It’s difficult living here, there is no electricity and nowhere to wash but the canal.