Warning to squatters that ex-Fibbers site is ‘dangerously unsafe’

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DEVELOPERS claim a former York music venue which squatters have occupied is “dangerously unsafe to be inhabited” – and have revealed that a revised vision for the site is being drawn up which includes music, cultural and work space.

But the squatters, who themselves plan to stage live music again in the ex-Fibbers building in Toft Green, say they have completed a risk assessment and have informed people of the risks and mitigated them to the best of their ability, and say they are continuing to clean and tidy the property and make it safe for visitors.

The squatters have moved in after previously occupying vacant land near to York Barbican, where they created the ‘Barbican Community Centre’ before being evicted.

Developers North Star said it was working with the owners of the Fibbers building, Toft Green Developments, to resolve the situation. A spokesman said that as a local company which was trying to invest in York and support the arts and cultural sector, it found the action “very disappointing”.

“Where we have properties that are suitable for meanwhile use in the cultural sector, we donate them to good causes, as we have done with the Malthouse on The Crescent and the former Minster Van Hire centre on Micklegate previously,” he said.

“This building is dangerously unsafe to be inhabited and has major health risks, and does not have insurance for habitation currently.

“It also has an unsafe asbestos roof. If this building had been safe to host cultural events then we would have gladly done so as we have successfully elsewhere. A lot of the internal features, including the air conditioning units, have been gifted to The Crescent Club.

“A planning application is currently with the council and we obviously can’t legally do anything with the building until permission is granted.

“In the coming weeks, we will also be announcing a revised vision for this site which includes music, cultural and work space that will be fantastic for the city’s cultural sector.”

The ‘Barbican Community Centre’ group said the asbestos roof was not a risk to health, as it was undisturbed and out of reach, and they were being careful to leave it untouched.

They said they were happy to discuss with North Star their “temporary and independent use of the space” whilst it was left empty.

“However, our vision for the space is of a community centre that is run not-for-profit in order to benefit the people of York, and this differs from the interest of North Star, a commercial development company, who wishes to develop for profit,” they said. “Fibbers is an iconic venue in the city and deserves to be renovated and reopened to the people of York.”

They said they had little confidence that North Star would support the establishment of a community centred space, events and music venue.


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