Scratchwood cafe reopens months after squatters occupy building

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

Django Lounge, in Scratchwood Open Space, Mill Hill, was on the verge of reopening last June, but had to be delayed after a group of people moved in.

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

New owner Umah Ahmed named the coffee shop after the film Django Unchained.

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

They eventually left on their own accord sometime in the middle of June.

Hale Councillor High Rayner visited the new cafe with Clive Cohen, chair 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.”

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

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