The old Taj store has been squatted in a recent direct action against Sainsburys to build their 10th store in Brighton and Hove. The plan is to turn it into a community centre, with a cafe on street level. I visited the occupation today and the place is massive with 4 floor of space begging to be used.
Here's a message from the occupation:
"We need your support to help save our community!
As you may be aware, Sainsbury’s have applied to the council for permission to open a new supermarket on the site of the old Taj shop on St James street.
We have seen that there is a widespread opposition to this in the local community.
Another supermarket owned by a big corporation will put even more pressure on local independent businesses in these already harsh economic times. After all Taj itself only closed down because of the recession.
In these times where ordinary peoples lives are being made tougher and tougher as a combination of government cuts to public services, increasing food and oil prices, and the recession, the last thing we want to see in our community is poor people made poorer just so some rich Sainsbury’s shareholders can get richer.
For these reasons we have decided to take direct action to try and stop these plans going ahead by occupying the building. This was a tactic that successfully managed to prevent a Tesco being built on Lewes road last year and it can work again if we get enough community support.
By coming down to the building, signing our petition and showing your support in other ways we can send a strong message to the council that the local community will not stand for this.
Also, by occupying the building we are able to open it up to everyone in the community to get involved, make it their own, and use it to organise all kinds of self-organised community responses to these difficult times: everything from protests against the government’s cuts, to local volunteer run projects to directly help people here and now.
So please feel very welcome to come down to the old Taj shop, talk to the people there and get involved. We have tea and coffee!
The Taj occupiers."