Legal costs deal paved way for camp to depart

Sheffield Cathedral, minus the Occupy camp
Sheffield Cathedral, minus the Occupy camp

A BEHIND-the-scenes deal helped pave the way for protesters camping outside Sheffield Cathedral to end their occupation, it emerged today.

An agreement has been struck between church authorities and members of Occupy Sheffield that the cathedral will not be seeking legal costs from the group.

At a court hearing in January the cathedral’s legal bill was said to be around £8,000 - but the final sum is expected to be over £12,000.

Legal documents also showed the cathedral had lost estimated income of £65,000 - and the eventual legal bill would have been substantially increased had the issue gone to trial.

The camp was dismantled over the weekend, well before a court deadline on 4pm on Monday.

The Dean of Sheffield the Very Reverend Peter Bradley he was pleased with a ‘reasonable’ outcome.

“Occupy Sheffield can now focus attention on the issues they raise rather than their location, and we can return to our ministry and continue with our development plans,” he said.

“Part of the agreement is that Sheffield Cathedral will not be claiming legal costs from Occupy Sheffield.

“We would like to thank the people of Sheffield and the region for their consistent and strong support during the three month demonstration.”

The Dean added: “We will now focus on our mission alongside addressing some of the issues raised by the Occupy movement such as poverty and social inclusion. I will do my best to affect change in my capacity as an active member of city boards and community organisations.”

A spokesman for Occupy Sheffield said their stand would continue.

“The threat of £100,000 in costs and the cathedral’s answer to peaceful protest as eviction has made the decision to leave easier,” he added.