A pop-up community art gallery in the old police station on West Street has caused a stir amongst Haslemere residents.

Sarah Plunkett, the founder of Crazy Creations a group of artists that facilitate events for children is behind the initiative.

She noticed that the former police station had been empty for years and thought it would be the perfect place to set up a community space.

Sarah said: “I walked around the building and noticed there was a lot of rubbish littered around the site.

“I tried the door to the shop and found it open.

“A few artist friends said they would support and join me in requisitioning the commercial site for use as a community art venue.

“The support we have had from people who are pleased to see that the building is being used even more so that it's now a community space.”

Inside the pop-up art gallery space.
Inside the pop-up art gallery space. (Sarah Plunkett)

However, not everyone agrees with Sarah’s use of the site as she does not own it and comments from the community on social media say she is ‘squatting’.

But the law states that it’s not illegal to occupy a non-residential property and can only leave if the court tells them to.

Sarah has said that she will give 20 per cent of any sales to the owner but claims they have refused to communicate with her.

Councillor for Haslemere North and business owner Oli Leach says: “I like the idea of it.

“Anything with children and to support their mental health that's brilliant and of course we will support it.

“But it has got to be done the right way.”

Surrey Police confirmed there was a recent incident at the site and no further action was taken and any issue relating to someone being in a building without the owner’s permission is a civil matter and not for the police.

Cardboard car made by Sarah and the team.
Cardboard car made by Sarah and the team. (Sarah Plunkett)