Dalmarnock defenders defiant in eviction stand-off

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A TENSE stand-off between council officials and a couple threatened with eviction to make way for Commonwealth Games athletes continued into the night yesterday.

Margaret and Jack Jaconelli's doors and windows were boarded up as they braced themselves for the arrival of bailiffs set on ending the stalemate, which began on Thursday when the Court of Session rejected a final appeal against the compulsory purchase of their home in Dalmarnock, Glasgow.

Pasted to one of the boards covering a window was a letter from the Jaconellis stating that they were protesting against injustice.

"We are having a peaceful demonstration for the injustice of this eviction (from] within our family home," it read, adding that if any of the occupants were to suffer injuries during any attempted eviction, then "both sheriff officers and Glasgow City Council will be held liable for prosecution".

The Jaconellis have been battling Glasgow City Council for almost eight years over its plans to build a yard for the Commonwealth Games Athletes' Village on the site where their two-bedroom flat in Ardenlea Street stands.

After a weekend of waiting, the couple had coned off the end of the road and barricaded themselves and other family members – including Mrs Jaconelli's sister, Janice Swales, sister-in-law Jessie Glass and a number of grandchildren – into their home.

Mrs Jaconelli, 52, last night was upbeat, despite having been forced into an effective siege. She said: "I have been trying to keep up my spirits. I am becoming more and more positive. So many people have come to help me because they realise what is happening to me could happen to anyone.

"I want the council to treat us with a bit of respect," she added. "We are happy to take part inmediation with the council, but not on condition that I leave my home first."

The doors to her home were covered with plywood, while metal poles and masonry barricaded them shut to prevent any easy access for the bailiffs.

The move followed an attempt by sheriff officers on Friday to have them removed as the last remaining tenants in the now-derelict block.

The officers, accompanied by police officers, were rebuffed and the council had made an 11th-hour offer of mediation, but only on condition the Jaconellis left the flat by midday yesterday.At first the family was unsure whether to accept the deal, but then confirmed that it had been refused.

The dispute centres on the sum the council has offered for the compulsory purchase.

An original offer of 30,000 was made, based on a 1990 valuation, later increased to 90,000.

Mrs Jaconelli refused this figure on the grounds that it would have to be used in part to cover legal and heating costs and so was not enough to allow them to move to a new home mortgage-free, as they currently are.

Mr Jaconelli, 52, said: "I've been feeling like a caged animal for four days. But I am not losing faith. If we need to stick in this for the long haul, then so be it."

Outside, almost 40 friends, supporters and family members kept vigil.

Mike Daly, the lawyer representing the couple, said Glasgow City Council had turned down any offer to enter mediation while the family remained in the property.

He said the eviction could now take place at any point during the day.

Glasgow City Council said they expected the eviction to go ahead as planned, because the family had not accepted the terms of its deal.

When the eviction failed to materialise, a council spokesman declined to comment further, other than to state that officials were considering their options.