Cafe at Scratchwood Open Space in Mill Hill reopens after squatters occupied building

This Is Local London: Cafe reopens - months after squatters occupied the building Cafe reopens - months after squatters occupied the building

A cafe blighted by squatters has finally reopened - months after the “mindless individuals” occupied the empty building.

Django Lounge, in Scratchwood Open Space, Mill Hill, had been due to serve teas and coffees to park users last June, but the day had to be postponed after intruders moved in.

Today, the new cafe, which celebrated its grand opening on Friday, is a bright and luxurious place for ramblers to relax after a walk in the fields.

New owner Umah Ahmed named the coffee shop after the film Django Unchained, which he said was “fascinating”.

He added: “It’s my passion. We’ve had squatters, bad weather and a leak - but the council have been very helpful.

“It’s my first day of seeing customers today and I am very happy.”

Last year, leaseholder Mukesh Hirani, director of Exact Homes Ltd, said the squatters were causing as “much havoc as possible”.

At the time, Hale ward Councillor Hugh Rayner said: "It is a great shame a group of mindless individuals have thought fit to come and camp in our lovely park."

The squatters eventually left on their own accord in mid-June.

Cllr Rayner visited the new cafe with Clive Cohen, chairman of the Barnet group of the London Wildlife Trust, and John Living, of the Mill Hill Preservation Society.

Mr Rayner said the 140 acre Scratchwood area is a “jewel in the crown” of the park.

He said: “The café will bring new life and vitality in this area.”

Comments (14)

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9:18am Sun 23 Feb 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Yet another inaccurate story: squatters moved in and left in June, yet the headline suggests they have only just left, after causing long term problems, which is not true. If anything causes problems in Scratchwoods, and prevents families visiting and enjoying the area it is not squatters, it is dogging and other extra curricular activities for which the area is sadly now notorious. Perhaps Cllr Rayner should address those problems rather than blaming a convenient scapegoat.
Yet another inaccurate story: squatters moved in and left in June, yet the headline suggests they have only just left, after causing long term problems, which is not true. If anything causes problems in Scratchwoods, and prevents families visiting and enjoying the area it is not squatters, it is dogging and other extra curricular activities for which the area is sadly now notorious. Perhaps Cllr Rayner should address those problems rather than blaming a convenient scapegoat. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog

11:48am Sun 23 Feb 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

Once again, Mrs Angry refuses to criticise squatters. Whether they occupied this property for one day, one month or six months, is irrelevant. They had no right to be there.
Once again, Mrs Angry refuses to criticise squatters. Whether they occupied this property for one day, one month or six months, is irrelevant. They had no right to be there. Don't Call Me Dave

1:27pm Sun 23 Feb 14

james smyth says...

Why shouldn't people walk their dogs in the park ? Why shouldn't people do other activities in the park? I didn't realise there was a bylaw that states only ramblers are allowed . there are hundreds of families that visit the park , just what on earth are you going on about Mrs angry?
Why shouldn't people walk their dogs in the park ? Why shouldn't people do other activities in the park? I didn't realise there was a bylaw that states only ramblers are allowed . there are hundreds of families that visit the park , just what on earth are you going on about Mrs angry? james smyth

1:34pm Sun 23 Feb 14

You don't fool me says...

What a total crap piece of reporting! The headline would have you believe that the building was closed due to the actions of the Squatters. Nothing could be further from the truth, this building was was not used as a cafe for a very long time we'll before the Squatters arrived. And the area is blighted by all types of unsavoury people! I would not go anywhere near the place these days. It is a shame as it used to be such a nice area.
What a total crap piece of reporting! The headline would have you believe that the building was closed due to the actions of the Squatters. Nothing could be further from the truth, this building was was not used as a cafe for a very long time we'll before the Squatters arrived. And the area is blighted by all types of unsavoury people! I would not go anywhere near the place these days. It is a shame as it used to be such a nice area. You don't fool me

1:47pm Sun 23 Feb 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

DCMD, this is not about criticising squatters - or occupiers. There is a subtle difference, but here is not the place to debate it. What I was criticising was the sloppy journalism which distorts the facts to make a headline that misrepresents the truth.

And James Smyth, please don't ask me to explain the difference between dogging and dog walking. What a sweet ,innocent boy you must be.
DCMD, this is not about criticising squatters - or occupiers. There is a subtle difference, but here is not the place to debate it. What I was criticising was the sloppy journalism which distorts the facts to make a headline that misrepresents the truth. And James Smyth, please don't ask me to explain the difference between dogging and dog walking. What a sweet ,innocent boy you must be. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog

3:02am Mon 24 Feb 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

Mrs Angry

The first sentence of the article makes clear that the cafe re-opened months AFTER the squatters left. Both the headline and article are accurate. But, as I am frequently called upon to remind you, you never let the facts get in the way of an opportunity to make an anti-Tory comment.
Mrs Angry The first sentence of the article makes clear that the cafe re-opened months AFTER the squatters left. Both the headline and article are accurate. But, as I am frequently called upon to remind you, you never let the facts get in the way of an opportunity to make an anti-Tory comment. Don't Call Me Dave

2:29pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Oh rubbish, DCMD: the headline implies a long battle with squatters as the reason for the delay in opening a cafe - that was eight months ago. The real point is what deters people from going to Scratchwoods is the reputation for dogging. And using the issue of squatters who were there for a couple of weeks in June is sloppy journalism.
Oh rubbish, DCMD: the headline implies a long battle with squatters as the reason for the delay in opening a cafe - that was eight months ago. The real point is what deters people from going to Scratchwoods is the reputation for dogging. And using the issue of squatters who were there for a couple of weeks in June is sloppy journalism. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog

11:03pm Mon 24 Feb 14

harvey_uk says...

Mrs Angry, these people break in to commercial properties and abuse the system to ensure that it costs the landlord thousands to evict, for this not yet criminal activity. It seem you agree with squatters ethics, or your judgement is impaired with anger as you're always on the blob!
Mrs Angry, these people break in to commercial properties and abuse the system to ensure that it costs the landlord thousands to evict, for this not yet criminal activity. It seem you agree with squatters ethics, or your judgement is impaired with anger as you're always on the blob! harvey_uk

10:30am Tue 25 Feb 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

On the blob? Is that code for something? I agree with many cases where the occupy movement has moved in, yes. Badly behaved squatters: no. But my point here is not about squatting, but about the inaccuracy of the story and choice of headline.
On the blob? Is that code for something? I agree with many cases where the occupy movement has moved in, yes. Badly behaved squatters: no. But my point here is not about squatting, but about the inaccuracy of the story and choice of headline. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog

4:28pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Not that Dave, another one. says...

I think Mrs Angry is right to say the article is poorly written in that it implies the squatters stayed for a long time. However what she hasn't explained is how the alleged activities that go on in the vicinity, which she blames as the true cuplrit, prevented the cafe from opening. Were they blocking the doors or something, or kept nicking the teabags?
I think Mrs Angry is right to say the article is poorly written in that it implies the squatters stayed for a long time. However what she hasn't explained is how the alleged activities that go on in the vicinity, which she blames as the true cuplrit, prevented the cafe from opening. Were they blocking the doors or something, or kept nicking the teabags? Not that Dave, another one.

6:42pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

Please shut up, you wazzocks.
Please shut up, you wazzocks. Edgar de Jarnac

11:05pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Pay attention, Not that Dave: I didn't say the 'true culprits' stopped the cafe from opening, just that the squatters did NOT stop it. See? I dare say some visitors may welcome a nice cup of tea, in between gawping at the action with their binoculars.
Pay attention, Not that Dave: I didn't say the 'true culprits' stopped the cafe from opening, just that the squatters did NOT stop it. See? I dare say some visitors may welcome a nice cup of tea, in between gawping at the action with their binoculars. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog

10:54am Thu 27 Feb 14

barnet123 says...

Phew I am glad this cafe is now open, I love a latte and a Digestive biscuit after a good old dogging session
Phew I am glad this cafe is now open, I love a latte and a Digestive biscuit after a good old dogging session barnet123

3:18pm Thu 27 Feb 14

bhattyclease says...

Everyone is missing the important part of the story - he named the cafe after Django Unchained.

I'm an amateur psychologist and I have extrapolated that someone who embarks on a life-venture and names it after a film that is only two or three years old is, quite clearly, a bit of a fly-by-night mug. I guarantee you that in five weeks, the cafe will be closed and there'll be a second-hand shop opening up nearby called 'The Wolf Of Wall Street Clothes and Books'.

What is the end of a bell called?
Everyone is missing the important part of the story - he named the cafe after Django Unchained. I'm an amateur psychologist and I have extrapolated that someone who embarks on a life-venture and names it after a film that is only two or three years old is, quite clearly, a bit of a fly-by-night mug. I guarantee you that in five weeks, the cafe will be closed and there'll be a second-hand shop opening up nearby called 'The Wolf Of Wall Street Clothes and Books'. What is the end of a bell called? bhattyclease

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