All posts by Tony Gosling

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist. Over the last 20 years he has been exposing the secret power of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and élite Bilderberg Conferences where the dark forces of corporations, media, banks and royalty conspire to accumulate wealth and power through extortion and war. Tony has spent much of his life too advocating solutions which heal the wealth divide, such as free housing for all and a press which reflects the concerns of ordinary people rather than attempting to lead opinion, sensationalise or dumb-down. Tony tweets at @TonyGosling. Tune in to his Friday politics show at BCfm.

UK on verge of second traveller revolution? Asking experts from the 1970s and 80s

Do benefit cuts mean UK is on verge of second traveller ‘revolution’? With two experts from the 1970s/80s Series: Bristol Broadband Co-operative Program Type: Weekly Program

Featured Speakers/Commentators: Contributor: Bristol Broadband Co-operative

Summary: Author of The Battle of the Beanfield, which describes the police attack on hundreds of travellers in convoy toward Stonehenge festival, Andy Worthington and traveller Sean join us to discuss the social and political reasons why the UK’s 1970s and 1980s ‘New Age’ travellers appeared when they did. Sean trained as an HGV mechanic so was helping maintain many vehicles, he describes life on the road, the practicalities of moving night after night and relations with neighbours and the police. Sean was at important festivals such as ‘Nostell Priory’. Ultimately the traveller convoy was part of a wider ‘movement’ against the changes being brought in by the Thatcher government, forced repeated evictions by landowners and, since they had been forced out of permanent ‘bricks and mortar’ homes to live out of vehicles, was about land rights and property.

Nostell Priory festival 1984

On June 1st 1985, a convoy of new travellers, peace protesters, green activists and festival-goers set off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire to establish the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge. There were around 450 people in total, and they included a number of women and children. They never reached their destination. Eight miles from the Stones they were ambushed, assaulted and arrested with unprecedented brutality by a quasi-military police force of over 1,300 officers drawn from six counties and the MoD. That event has gone down in history as ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’. This book is the combined effort of a large number of people who feel passionately that only through reaching an understanding of what actually occurred before, during and after ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ can a proper ‘closure’ take place for those involved and the many people who have been in some way touched by it.

The Battle of the Beanfield

UN climate report: Change land use to arable to avoid a hungry future?

UN climate report: Change land use to avoid a hungry future

[NOTE: Arable is a more efficient use of land, food health, protein and calorie wise, than livestock farming except on marginal land like hills. So for that reason alone the UN are heading in the right direction.

But hunger has little to do with land use or climate, its much more about land ownership and the financial system, incentives and subsidies. ed. TG]

GENEVA (AP) — Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the Earth’s land and the way people use the land is making global warming worse, a new United Nations scientific report says. That creates a vicious cycle which is already making food more expensive, scarcer and less nutritious.
“The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a co-author of the report. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.”
But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said.
Earth’s land masses, which are only 30% of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world Thursday at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings.

“The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.”

Scientists at Thursday’s press conference emphasized both the seriousness of the problem and the need to make societal changes soon.

“We don’t want a message of despair,” said science panel official Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London. “We want to get across the message that every action makes a difference.”

Still the stark message hit home hard for some of the authors.

“I’ve lost a lot of sleep about what the science is saying. As a person, it’s pretty scary,” Koko Warner, a manager in the U.N. Climate Change secretariat who helped write a report chapter on risk management and decision-making, told The Associated Press after the report was presented at the World Meteorological Organization headquartersin Geneva. “We need to act urgently.”

The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to the forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth.

“Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study.

And the future could be worse.

“The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said.

In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now.

“The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” NASA’s Rosenzweigsaid. “Just to give examples, the crop yields were effected in Europe just in the last two weeks.”

Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said. But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops.

For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6% to 13% less protein, 4% to 7% less zinc and 5% to 8% less iron, she said.

But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer applications — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said.

If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said.

The science panel said they aren’t telling people what to eat because that’s a personal choice.

Still, Hans-Otto Pörtner, a panel leader from Germany who said he lost weight and felt better after reducing his meat consumption, told a reporter that if she ate less ribs and more vegetables “that’s a good decision and you will help the planet reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016, global food waste accounted for 8% to 10% of heat-trapping emissions.

“Currently 25%-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square miles of land.

With just another 0.9 degrees F of warming (0.5 degrees C), which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high,” the report said.

At another 1.8 degrees F of warming (1 degree C) from now, which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high.”

Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid-to-late 21st century,” the report noted.

Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23% of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37%, the report said.

But the land is also a great carbon “sink,” which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air.

From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.7 billion tons (5.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 12.3 billion tons (11.2 billion metric tons) of it out.

“This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot, a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continue to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy.”

Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said.

Recent forest management changes in Brazil “contradicts all the messages that are coming out of the report,” Pörtner said.

Saying “our current way of living and our economic system risks our future and the future of our children,” Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, questioned whether it makes sense for a country like Germany to import large amounts of soy from Latin America, where forests are being destroyed to plant the crop, to feed unsustainable numbers of livestock in Germany.

“We ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it,” said Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report.


AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein reported from Washington. Frank Jordans contributed from Berlin.

Social Housing under siege – on centenary of 1919 Addison Act which began huge UK council housing programme

‘Its time for the war to end, and for housing to be reinstated as one of three pillars of the welfare state, along with health and education.’

[]The unnecessary destruction of Robin Hood Gardens Estate in Poplar, in east London, March 2018, to make way for a new private development, Blackwall Reach (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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Today, July 31, is the centenary of the first Housing and Town Planning Act (widely known as the Addison Act), which was introduced by the Liberal politician Christopher Addison, as part of David Lloyd Georges coalition government following the First World War, to provide Britains first major council housing programme, as John Boughton, the author of Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing, explained in an article published yesterday in the Guardian.

Boughton explained how, when Addison introduced his flagship housing bill to the House of Commons in April 1919, he spoke of its utmost importance, from the point of view not only of the physical wellbeing of our people, but of our social stability and industrial content.

‘Between 1920 and 1980 the British government built around six million council houses’ says Tony Gosling

As we celebrate the centenary of council housing, Boughton noted, this sentiment is not lost in the context of the current housing crisis. From the rise in expensive, precarious and often poor-quality private renting to the dwindling dream of home-ownership, it is fuelling discontent. This escalating crisis means that increasing numbers of people are now forced to deal with the painful consequences of the country’s inability to provide such a basic human need a stable, affordable home.

Philanthropists had been creating social housing since the 1840s, beginning with Model Dwellings Companies (privately run companies that sought a return for investors while providing affordable housing for the working class), and the Peabody Donation Fund (now Peabody), founded by the London-based US banker George Peabody, whose aim was to ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of this great metropolis, and to promote their comfort and happiness, and whose first project, on Commercial Street in Spitalfields, opened in 1864.

The first council-built housing was created in Liverpool in 1869, and in 1890, as Boughton put it, a Housing Act established the legislative powers and machinery of state for the expansion of council housing. He added, however, that only around 24,000 council homes were built nationally before 1914.

In contrast, as he described it, the 1919 Addison Act was a housing revolution – and while Addison’s motives were commendable, it must be noted that it took the horrors of the First World War and the housing plight of those who survived it for the British establishment as a whole to embrace the need for a major programme of genuinely affordable housing.

As he proceeded to explain, It required not only that all local authorities conduct a survey of housing needs within just three months but that they actively prepare plans to meet them. Beyond what could be raised locally by a penny on the rates, the cost of building these new homes was to be met entirely by the Treasury. The act also insisted on high-quality housing, taking its cue from the wartime Tudor Walters Report, which had recommended cottage homes with front and back gardens, bathrooms and pantries at no more than 12 to the acre.

Unfortunately, as Boughton proceeded to explain, in a post-war era of materials and labour shortages, construction costs were unprecedentedly high at around 1,000 per house, up to three times the cost of pre-war production and his programme fell victim to public spending cuts. Just 176,000 homes had been built in England and Wales of the 500,000 Lloyd George had promised, and Addison resigned from both the government and the Liberal party in protest, later joining the Labour Party, where he served under Ramsay MacDonald, and became Leader of the House of Lords during Clement Attlee’s extraordinary post-WWII government.

Following Addison’s resignation, there was a revival of council-built housing via other housing acts in the 1920s, although, as Boughton noted, the houses were typically smaller and plainer than those envisaged in 1919. In the 1930s, when the Labour politician Herbert Morrison undertook a visionary expansion of council housing in London as the leader of the London County Council (LCC), further housing bills, which particularly took aim at slum clearances and introduced rent rebates also addressed what Boughton described as one serious deficiency in Addison’s reforms that their relatively high rents excluded the slum population most in need of rehousing.

The horror of another war the Second World War and, again, the plight of returning soldiers paved the way for the British establishment to once more accept the need for another major programme of genuinely affordable housing, as part of the astonishing post-war government led by Clement Attlee, which also established the NHS and consolidated the welfare state.

From then until 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and set about destroying council housing through her Right to Buy policy, cutting funding for maintenance, and introducing an absolute prohibition on councils spending money from the sale of homes to build new council housing council housing was promoted by both Labour and Conservative governments, ensuring that, for most of the preceding 60 years, after the 1919 Addison Act, there was, as Boughton put it, a broad cross-party consensus that accepted the necessity of state intervention to build the homes the country needed.

As Boughton also explained, One common factor underlay both eras of reform under Addison and Nye Bevan and it provides the single constant in the long history of what is now referred to as social housing: that is the inability of the free market and the unwillingness of the private sector to provide decent, affordable housing to those in greatest need.

40 years on from the start of Margaret Thatchers assault on social housing, Britains housing crisis has become nothing short of a disaster. Thatcher presided over a housing bubble, but also a subsequent crash, when numerous homeowners were caught in a negative equity trap. The market remained cool throughout John Majors premiership, but when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, ending 18 years of Tory rule, it didnt take long for another colossal housing bubble to develop one that continues to plague us today, with house prices at an all-time high, private rents unfettered and out of control, and social housing still chronically undermined. Blair failed to roll back Thatchers Right to Buy project, and also failed to establish the need for a major social homebuilding programme, and, throughout London, and across the country, Labour councils persistently failed to defend council housing, instead launching estate demolition programmeswith private developers that have drastically reduced the numbers of social homes available.

Since 2010, the Tories have only added fuel to this blazing fire of inequality, slashing subsidies for social homebuilding and encouraging housing associations like Peabody to lose touch with their founders aims by becoming, essentially, private developers with a sideline in social housing. Moreover, when Boris Johnson was Londons Mayor, he set affordable rents at 80% of market rents (as opposed to social rents at around 30% of market rents), and this injustice has, typically, not been adequately addressed by the Labour Party, or by the major housing associations. Since replacing Johnson in 2016, Sadiq Khan has set up a sliding scale of allegedly affordable rents, all of which are considerably more expensive than social rents London Affordable Rent (over 60% higher for a two-bedroom flat), and London Living Rent (over 130% higher).

For more information, see Andy Worthington’s articles, The Eviction of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden and the Mainstream Medias Inadequacy in Reporting Stories About Social Homes and Affordable Rents, Video: I Discuss the Tidemill Eviction, the Broken Regeneration Industry and Sadiq Khans Stealthy Elimination of Social Rents, as well as Shame on Peabody: Calling on the Former Philanthropic Social Housing Provider to Abandon Its Plans to Destroy the Old Tidemill Garden and Social Housing in Deptford and A Radical Proposal to Save the Old Tidemill Garden and Reginald House in Deptford: Use Besson Street, an Empty Site in New Cross.

The result of the last 40 years of politicians eroding social housing and doing nothing to rein in greed in the housing market is akin to another war, but this time a cannibalistic war waged by British citizens on their less well-off fellow citizens, as those with mortgages taken out before the bubble have seen insane returns on their original investments, and, at the same time, absolutely no legislation exists to prevent those who take out buy to let mortgages from exploiting their tenants as much as they wish, while those fortunate enough to live in properties at social rent myself included are part of an ever-diminishing minority, and, since 2010, have lived in fear that the Tories will pass legislation intended to fully exterminate social housing, or, if they live on a council estate, that Labour councillors will vote to demolish their homes.

Its time for the war to end, and for housing to be reinstated as one of three pillars of the welfare state, along with health and education.

Note: If youre interested in doing something to mark 100 years since the Addison Act, please sign Shelters petition calling for the government to build more social housing, and watch George Clarkes excellent Channel 4 documentary, George Clarkes Council House Scandal, which was broadcast this evening, and in which George called on the government to build 100,000 council homes a year, and to suspend Right to Buy. An article by George, entitled, We dont just need more council houses we need the very best in space and ecological standards, is here.


If you own land you can build a home on it: Russia changes law to replace planning permission with simple notification scheme


Olga Golovetsky

[Story courtesy of Yuriy Smirnov, many thanks]
Notice of individual housing construction and registration of houses

Notice of individual housing construction and registration of houses

How to register private houses after the cancellation of the building permit.

In the summer of 2018 entered into force the Law of the Russian Federation No. 340 substantially amended certain provisions of the town planning code and some other legislative acts.

The SPC “Nagkagusto” explained that now private developers are not required permission for construction or reconstruction of residential buildings. It is enough to send her notice of the proposed construction on the relevant form approved by Order of the Ministry of the Russian Federation. As for houses, the simplified procedure of registration of the Declaration and techplan still valid for 2 months — in January and February. This is particularly important for owners of the already built cottages and houses.Those who are just beginning the construction of housing, must be submitted to the local authority a notice of its beginning, which is from March 1, 2019 becomes binding.

The main changes in the design of the building by law

The amendments focus primarily on the requirements of individual housing construction (IZHS). On the one hand they aimed at the simplification of individual housing construction on the lands of settlements and gardeners, on the other hand, the prevention and elimination of ongoing violations in this area.

So, from now on, the legislation imposes restrictions on the size of the constructed residential buildings. It can be detached homes up to 3 floors above ground and not more than 20 m, which are represented as a single object of real estate.Thus, excluding the possibility of building houses for their further division into a number of owners, the legislator addresses the possibility of construction of a dwelling house under the guise of individual housing or townhouses, presenting them as cottages. In this case, it turned out that one plot of six acres had to own a few property owners.And it allowed each of them to sue the allocation of their respective share in kind.

Registration of unfinished buildingsRegistration of unfinished buildingsDesign of buildings and houses under the new rules is based on the technical plan that forms the cadastral engineer. When the construction for any…# building Homes and apartmentsWelcomed 340 Law No. members of gardening non-profit associations (SNT). This year, each of them has the right to build on his land a dwelling house and residing therein, to register his family. Or, if there is on the site of cottage or garden house, to change it to residential. This will allow him to pay for electricity under the new tariff. That is, 30% less, as provided for homes located on land SNT.

The actions of an individual developer prior to and on completion of construction

For the owner of a plot of land in the village or in the CHT who wants to build a new residential or garden house, to start his actions, you must supply the appropriate notification to the local administration. It does not require the provision of urban plan and scheme of the land plot with the future house. The staff of the Commissioner division of administration or self-government body within the working week will verify compliance with the parameters of the future home specified by the developer in its notice, provided by the legislation norms.In the absence of any violations, I will send him a notification about the possibility of building a house on the plot, which is valid for 10 years. This entitles you to the start of construction. But the developer can commence and in the case that such feedback from the administration they have not received. His failure is equivalent to saying that the future construction is compatible.

When construction is completed, the developer is obliged to submit to authorised local notification to the administration in the form prescribed by the Ministry of construction. Attached is the technical plan, the notice of start of construction, a return notification of the authorized body on the results of the verification and Declaration to the house. After that, the local administration or the competent authority checks the house erected on its compliance with the town planning regulations. Which is documented in a notification. After these documents and the technical plan sent to the Federal registration service.Having considered them, the institution puts the building in the cadastre and registers the right of ownership.

Receiving a failure notification about the planned construction

Local property developer might be sent return notification that the parameters of the house, indicated in his notice of upcoming construction, do not correspond to prescribed laws regulations. Or that building a house in the specific area is impossible for technical reasons (for example, above it is a high-voltage power line), in the absence of the developer rights to it or for other reasons. In any case, this means a ban on the construction.But in order not to get into a difficult situation, its better to seek the assistance of competent in this matter entities. Lawyers GKI “Nagkagusto” will help to find the way out of the situation and achieve a positive result. Will issue a notice in accordance with the requirements and gather a full package of documents, which guarantees a positive response from the competent authorities.

Ed Revill: clean burning gas from woodchips, the waste ‘biochar’ makes excellent fertiliser

By Ed Lovelace – from 2011

Ed Revill from Swansea gives us the low-down on biochar-producing stoves and how they can be harnessed to convert chemical energy stored in wood into useful heat and nutrient retaining, “carbon negative” charcoal known as ‘biochar’.

Audio interview

Permaculture revolution Ed Revill, from Swansea Biochar.
– Explore techniques which allow us to live in balance with the Earth.
– Recaim sovereignty from food and energy corporations and start to build resilient systems.
– Explore how to produce healthy soil as well as domestic heat by stabilising carbon in soil.
– Producing food and energy by stabilising carbon in soil enables us to reverse our ecological footprints and live in harmony with the Earth.
– This is the reverse of the current practice of burning fossil fuels to produce energy and food.

UK Permaculture revolution


Tory behind Grenfell cladding downgrade hosts lavish party just before 2nd anniversary of fire

EXCLUSIVE: Rock Hugo Basil Feilding-Mellen, the Tory councillor who oversaw Grenfell’s refurbishment, invited actress Rosamund Pike and John Lennon’s musician son Sean to his 40th bash

By Alan Selby 14 JUN 2019

Rock Hugo Basil Feilding-Mellen (known in Ladbroke Grove as ‘Cock Wielding Felon’) organised the bash

The Tory councillor who oversaw Grenfell’s refurbishment has been slammed for throwing a star-studded party at his family’s country pile weeks before the horror’s two-year anniversary.

Rock Hugo Basil Feilding-Mellen’s 40th birthday bash saw a who’s who of socialites and stars descend on Stanway House in Gloucestershire, including actress Rosamund Pike and John Lennon’s musician son Sean.

Photos on social media showed millionaires rubbing shoulders at his mum’s 5,000-acre Jacobean manor as families prepared themselves to commemorate the tragedy that killed 72.

Grenfell United, the survivors and bereaved families group, said: “Seeing these pictures is like a gut punch.

“We are no closer to justice, yet people that should be answering questions for the deaths of 72 people and the devastation of our community are living without consequence. It’s disgraceful.

“Because of what was done to us there are 72 birthdays we didn’t celebrate this year and two children who never made it to their first.”

Edward Daffarn lived in Grenfell Tower and almost lost his life in the fire.

He said: “It makes me feel like I did when reading the following quote from the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: ‘they were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clear up the mess that they made’.”

A source who revealed the party had taken place said: “I’m just appalled at the arrogance of these people revelling in the run-up to the Grenfell anniversary.

“There are seventy-two people who’ll never have another birthday.”

Moyra Samuels, of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign, said Rock Feilding-Mellen’s decision to hold a party with his rich and famous pals just three weeks before the two year anniversary of the fire showed he was “morally bankrupt”.

She said “He’s quite indifferent to the impact that such a thing might have on a grieving and quite sensitive community. He’s oblivious, continuing to act as if it is of no consequence that 72 people died.

“He lives in an elite and removed world, and always has, even though he was he was based not far from the tower.

“He’s been raised, nurtured and brought up with this entitled attitude.

“It comes as no surprise, but it is indicative of the fact that actually people like him who were involved in the council at the time of the fire and made some serious decisions that influenced what happened are still continuing to act as if it is of no consequence that 72 people died.

“They think this should not change their lives, and they will continue to indulge.”She added: “You would have thought this would be a time to show some sensitivity and some subtlety.”

Moyra, a teacher, said as the inquiry into the fire dragged on slowly the community felt justice was being denied as key decision makers like Mr Feilding-Mellen moved on with their lives and escaped sanction.

She said: “Every aspect of the procedure of justice and truth has been thwarted, in all sorts of ways, by a ruling, privileged elite who indicate to this community and, quite frankly, the rest of the country, that they don’t have any shame in them.”


Fielding-Mellen did not comment when approached by the Mirror.

Mr Feilding-Mellen was deputy mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea during the refurbishment of the tower, and was the chairman of the housing committee.

He reportedly urged refurbishment consultants in 2014 to reduce costs on cladding.

At that point £300,000 was cut from a £10 million budget and now-banned flammable aluminium panels were to be installed, rather than the zinc cladding which was originally planned.

After being elected to Kensington in 2006 Mr Feilding-Mellen became deputy leader in 2013 and took a seat on the powerful major planning development committee.

In 2015 he warned that the council’s housing redevelopment programme would need to be completed “with no recurrent cost to the general council taxpayer”.

After news of his involvement in the Grenfell refit emerged he was forced to flee his family’s £1.2million Kensington home in the wake of the fire, fearing for his family’s safety.

He stood down as deputy mayor of the borough after the fire, and left the council at last year’s local elections.

Days after Grenfell, in 2017, he told friends he was cancelling plans to visit Stanway House for the 30th birthday of his step-sister Mary Charteris, who is a model and member of the band The Big Pink.

Those who did go to Mary’s party included Cara Delevingne, actor Jaime Winstone and aristocrats including Scarlett Spencer-Churchill.

Mr Feilding-Mellen, known as Rocky, is the son of Amanda Feilding, the Countess of Wemyss and March.

He is the great-great-great-grandson of the seventh Earl of Denbigh and a direct descendant of the Hapsburgs.

Amanda Feilding is an outspoken critic of drugs policy, and campaigns on the benefits of LSD and cannabis.

The UK’s 50 biggest landowners revealed –

Solution to inequality? UK Labour party embraces Land Value Tax (LVT)

Labour could stop renters paying council tax in major property laws shake-up

Labour has shown once again that it wants nothing less than the abolition of private property

Tax land: Winston Churchill said it all better then we can

Want to tackle inequality? Then first change our land ownership laws

George Monbiot From housing costs to wildlife collapse, we pay the price while the rich boost their profits. But from today we can fight back @GeorgeMonbiot

Tue 4 Jun 2019 06.00 BSTLast modified on Tue 4 Jun 2019 12.35 BST

What is the most neglected issue in British politics? I would say land. Literally and metaphorically, land underlies our lives, but its ownership and control have been captured by a tiny number of people. The results include soaring inequality and exclusion; the massive cost of renting or buying a decent home; the collapse of wildlife and ecosystems; repeated financial crises; and the loss of public space. Yet for 70 years this crucial issue has scarcely featured in political discussions.

Today, I hope, this changes, with the publication of the report to the Labour party – Land for the Many – that I’ve written with six experts in the field. Our aim is to put this neglected issue where it belongs: at the heart of political debate and discussion.

Since 1995, land values in this country have risen by 412%. Land now accounts for an astonishing 51% of the UK’s net worth. Why? In large part because successive governments have used tax exemptions and other advantages to turn the ground beneath our feet into a speculative money machine. A report published this week by Tax Justice UK reveals that, through owning agricultural land, 261 rich families escaped £208m in inheritance tax in 2015-16. Because farmland is used as a tax shelter, farmers are being priced out. In 2011, farmers bought 60% of the land that was on the market; within six years this had fallen to 40%.

Homes are so expensive not because of the price of bricks and mortar, but because land now accounts for 70% of the price

Worse still, when planning permission is granted on agricultural land, its value can rise 250-fold. Though this jackpot was created by society, the owner gets to keep most of it. We pay for this vast inflation in land values through outrageous rents and mortgages. Capital gains tax is lower than income tax, and council tax is proportionately more expensive for the poor than for the rich. As a result of such giveaways, and the amazing opacity of the system, land in the UK has become a magnet for international criminals seeking to launder their money.

We pay for these distortions every day. Homes have become so expensive not because the price of bricks and mortar has risen, but because the land that underlies them now accounts for 70% of their price. Twenty years ago, the average working family needed to save for three years to afford a deposit. Today, it must save for 19 years. Life is even worse for renters. While housing costs swallow 12% of average household incomes for those with mortgages, renters pay 36%.

Because we hear so little about the underlying issues, we blame the wrong causes for the cost and scarcity of housing: immigration, population growth, the green belt, red tape. In reality, the power of landowners and building companies, their tax and financial advantages and the vast shift in bank lending towards the housing sector have inflated prices so much that even a massive house building programme could not counteract them.

The same forces are responsible for the loss of public space in cities, a right to roam that covers only 10% of the land, the lack of provision for allotments and of opportunities for new farmers, and the wholesale destruction of the living world. Our report aims to confront these structural forces and take back control of the fabric of the nation.

A Labour government should replace council tax with a progressive property tax, payable by owners, not tenants. Empty homes should automatically be taxed at a higher rate. Inheritance tax should be replaced with a lifetime gifts tax levied on the recipient. Capital gains tax on second homes and investment properties should match or exceed the rates of income tax. Business rates should be replaced with a land value tax, based on rental value. A 15% offshore tax should be levied on properties owned through tax havens.

To democratise development and planning, we want to create new public development corporations. Alongside local authorities, they would assemble the land needed for affordable homes and new communities. Builders would have to compete on quality, rather than by amassing land banks. These public corporations would use compulsory purchase to buy land at agricultural prices, rather than having to pay through the nose for the uplift created by planning permission. This could reduce the price of affordable homes in the south-east by nearly 50%.

We propose a community participation agency, to help people, rather than big companies, become the driving force in creating local plans and influencing major infrastructure. To ensure a wide range of voices is heard, we suggest a form of jury service for plan-making. To represent children and the unborn, we would like every local authority to appoint a future generations champion.

Councils should have new duties to create parks, urban green spaces, wildlife refuges and public amenities. We propose a new definition of public space, granting citizens a legal right to use it and overturning the power of private landowners in cities to stifle leisure, cultural events and protest.

We propose much tighter rent and eviction controls, and an ambitious social housebuilding programme. We also want to create new opportunities for people to design and build their own homes, supported by a community right to buy of the kind that Scotland enjoys. Compulsory sale orders should be used to bring vacant and derelict land on to the market, and community groups should have first rights to buy it.

To help stabilise land prices and make homes more affordable, we propose a new body, called the Common Ground Trust. When people can’t afford to buy a home, they can ask the trust to purchase the land that underlies it, while they pay only for the bricks and mortar (about 30% of the cost). They then pay the trust a land rent. Their overall housing costs are reduced, while the trust gradually accumulates a pool of land that acts as a buffer against speculation, and creates common ownership on a large scale.

We call for a right to roam across all uncultivated land and waterways (except gardens and similar limitations). We want to change the Allotments Act, to ensure that no one needs wait for a plot for more than a year. We would like to use part of the Land Registry’s vast surplus to help community land trusts buy rural land for farming, forestry, conservation and rewilding. We would like a new English land commission to decide whether to make major farming and forestry decisions subject to planning permission, to help arrest the environmental crisis. And we want to transform the public’s right to know, by ensuring that all information about land ownership, subsidies and planning is published freely as open data.

These proposals, we hope, will make the UK a more equal, inclusive and generous-spirited nation, characterised not by private enclosure and public squalor, but by private sufficiency and public luxury. Our land should work for the many, not just the few.

Bob Hoskins exposes London property scams, Omnibus (1982) Missing Believed Wiped, with Barry Norman

Bob Hoskins offers his unvarnished opinion on the architectural dilemmas facing the South Bank

BBC Omnibus | 1982 | 50m – Bob Hoskins offers his unvarnished opinion on the architectural dilemmas facing the South Bank. BFI collections: Building the South Bank and Beautiful South

1982: Omnibus – Bob Hoskins took Barry Norman on a riverside walk along the South Bank to illustrate his concerns about property speculation and development along the riverfront in central London.

Throwback: Bob Hoskins talks about urban planning in London’s South Bank

By WILLIAM MENKING • Friday May 10, 2019

The actor Bob Hoskins was the star of the 1980 film, The Long Good Friday, a London gangster movie that reflected on major anxieties, opportunities, and economic changes taking place in the U.K. In 1982 Hoskins led Barry Norman and the BBC on a riverside walk along the South Bank, and while pointing to new concrete office blocks he calls “Mars Bars” he confronts change in the guise of urban development along the Thames.

The coming redevelopment Hoskins claims (and was he ever right) will make the 1960s “redevelopment epidemic look like a rash.” Next to a Coin Street vacant lot, once the site of row houses, but torn down for the 1951 Festival of Britain, he points to another Mars Bar. You see that (the BBC overlays outlines the proposed structures) is what happens if you “don’t consult with local people.” In 1970 “a big property group said they would build flats, shops, and a hotel if they could build a great tower for their staff. Once they got that tower the company brass pushed off down to Surrey and their building was sold off and the new owners are new doing up a bit to let and now they say they are moving out of the tower as well.” Now thanks to these planning decisions what we have is an area that “looks and feels completely dead.” Hoskins was not just a great actor but with deep understanding of culture implicitly understood bottom-up planning. We need planners with his insight and passion.

@BBCArchive – #OTD 1982: Bob Hoskins took Barry Norman on a riverside walk along the South Bank to illustrate his concerns about development in London

‘My dad was such a good actor he convinced The Krays he was a gangster’ – Bob Hoskins’ daughter on his gentle side

HOSKINS, who died in 2014, was often cast as a cockney hardman, but in a new book his daughter reveals that was as far removed as possible from his real personality.
By Rod McPhee 30 MAY 2016

WHEN Bob Hoskins lost his battle with Parkinson’s , a nation mourned the loss of the lovable movie hardman.

In reality, his family say he was a gentle soul who loved cookery and archaeology, not the underworld criminal like his characters in The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa…

Council stopped from bulldozing Huddersfield allotments – thanks to their own records from 85 years ago

Council plan to bulldoze allotments stopped – thanks to their own records from 85 years ago

Kirklees wanted to make way for a school but campaigners fought the plan – and have won a High Court battle

Tenants of Cemetery Road Allotments, in Huddersfield, with supporters from the National Allotment Society, at the High Court in Leeds for a judicial review into Kirklees Councils plan to take their plots as part of plans for a new primary school.

A battling allotment holder has scored a High Court triumph in his fight to stop Kirklees Council taking over his prized plots for construction of a new primary school.

Jonathan Adamson, who cultivates four plots at the Cemetery Road allotments in Birkby , was served with notice to quit by the metropolitan borough council in September last year.

He was told his plots were needed to provide playing fields and car parking space for the primary school, on which work is due to start imminently.

Mr Adamson supports the new school, but wants the plans reconfigured so as to spare his allotments, London’s High Court heard.

Although he and other allotment holders have been offered alternative plots, they are “not satisfied” with them, said top judge, Mr Justice Kerr.

Mr Adamson argued in person that he could not be deprived of his plots without permission from Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire.

Debby Fulgoni and Isaac Romain , plot holders on the Cemetery Road Allotments, which are under threat from building proposals
Debby Fulgoni and Isaac Romain , plot holders on the Cemetery Road Allotments 

The council fought his judicial review challenge tooth and nail – but now Mr Adamson has been handed a stunning victory by the judge.

The council’s September 2018 decision to “appropriate” the allotments for education purposes was overturned.

And Mr Adamson, together with 13 other allotment holders who supported him, had their notices to quit quashed.

An aerial view of Birkby from 1949 showing allotment space. The pink areas have since been lost to housing. The yellow area indicates the size of the current allotment site at Cemetery Road.

The judge’s ruling involved an in-depth survey of the history of allotments in Huddersfield going back to 1920, long before the council came into existence.

It was in that year that an Act of Parliament authorised the council’s predecessor, the Huddersfield Corporation, to purchase the Ramsden Estate – of which the allotments now form part – for £1.36 million, payable over 80 years.

The council denied that the Corporation had ever formally appropriated the land for use as allotments and that the Secretary of State’s consent was therefore not required.

But, after analysing Corporation minutes going back decades, Mr Justice Kerr found that it had done just that when the land was “zoned for allotments” at a meeting in 1935.

The allotments had been described as “permanent” at the time and the Corporation had directed that local maps be amended to show them.

Cemetery Road Allotments, Birkby.
Cemetery Road Allotments, Birkby. (Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

The allotment holders therefore had “security of tenure” and, under the Allotments Act 1925, they could not be stripped of their plots without the Secretary of State’s say so.

The judge rejected council arguments that Mr Adamson had delayed too long in bringing his case to court.

And Kirklees’s plea that Mr Brokenshire was “highly likely” to approve the appropriation of the allotments for the new school also fell on fallow ground.

The judge paid tribute to the “skill and courtesy” with which Mr Adamson presented his case and ordered the council to pay his legal costs – which came to £12,199.

Kirklees Council said it was “disappointed” with the decision.

They added: “A new primary school is needed in this area to meet the demands for places.

“As a council we’re committed to ensuring all children in Kirklees have access to the same high standard of education. This school is an important part of this.

“This decision will delay us in providing the new school local children deserve.

“We will be presenting additional information to the judge and hope this decision will be reviewed. We will also be seeking permission from the Secretary of State to proceed with the development following this decision.

“Allotments are part of our local communities and it’s important that we have enough spaces for those that want them.

“The amount of unused space on this site means that it is possible to have both a fantastic new school and a vibrant allotment site.

“Affected allotment plot holders were offered new plots in the same allotment where work has been done to bring them up to a very high standard with new paths, edging, and access to water, so tenants can get straight into the art of growing.”

a Landrights campaign for Britain

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