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Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell calls for collective ownership of land

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell calls for collective ownership of land – a policy straight out of Marx’s Communist Manifesto

Shadow Chancellor was speaking at a rally in St Pancreas Church in London
Vowed to replace House of Lords with elected senate and nationalise utilities
He also said collective land ownership could shake up power dynamic
By CHARLIE MOORE FOR MAILONLINE 13 November 2018
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6385701/Labour-shadow-chancellor-John-McDonnell-calls-collective-ownership-land.html
John McDonnell last night promoted the collective ownership of land and said if he gets in power he will transform the state from within.
Speaking at a rally in St Pancreas Church in London, Labour’s shadow chancellor vowed to replace the House of Lords with an elected senate and nationalise utilities.
He implied that Labour MPs who don’t support the party leadership would be held ‘accountable’ and said collective land ownership could shake up society.
‘One of the big issues we’re now talking about is land, how do we go about looking at collective ownership of land, Community Land Trusts, the development of those by local communities that’s a huge challenge to the existing power relationships within our society at the moment, it’s one I think that could be fundamentally important.’
Community Land Trusts are set up by local people to collectively build, own and manage houses in their community.
There are now almost 290 CLTs in England and Wales, and the sector has grown six-fold in the last six years.
Mr McDonnell said CLTs contribute towards his broader aim to dramatically change the power structure in the UK.
He said: ‘It’s the development of the ideas of “in and against the state” at the local level.’
Mr McDonnell said the state forces working class people ‘to conform to the existing distribution of wealth and power within our society’ and needs to be fundamentally re-thought.
He said his mission was ‘to gain power to empower,’ reported the New Statesman.
The 67-year-old celebrated Labour reaching 50,000 members but added: ‘We’ve got to convert ordinary members and supporters into real cadres who understand and analyse society and who are continually building the ideas’.
The policy of collective ownership was advocated by German philosopher Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto.
It comes after an ally of Jeremy Corbyn has said last week all private homes should be ‘nationalised’ by giving town halls the right to buy them.
Hard-left Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle told a rally that council bosses should be given the power of first refusal on houses up for sale.
The plans would see swathes of privately-owned property being taken into public control.
In response, Tory chairman Brandon Lewis tweeted: ‘Even your home is not safe from Labour now.’
Mr Russell-Moyle, 32, also said he wants to tear up planning laws to allow local authorities to build high-rise flats in suburbs and leafy villages.
He claimed Labour would order mass compulsory purchases of former council homes sold off under Margaret Thatcher’s Right To Buy scheme.
The MP for Brighton Kemptown made his controversial comments at an anti-austerity conference in London.
He declared: ‘Let’s not just talk about council houses – let’s get those bloody private houses back into our hands.’
Speaking under a banner reading ‘Stand With Corbyn’, Mr Russell-Moyle said a future Labour government would abolish the right to buy and ‘compulsory purchase en masse’ housing stock which had been sold.
‘We need to develop a system that slowly over time takes property out of private hands and puts it into public hands,’ he said.
Former housing minister Grant Shapps branded the plans ‘pure madness’.
The Tory MP said: ‘The truth’s out – cuddly Corbyn wants to nationalise your home.’
The party’s deputy chairman James Cleverly tweeted: ‘Your home isn’t safe under Labour. That ‘right to buy’ will be at a price of Labour’s choosing and it won’t be at its full market value.’
In response to the speech, a Labour Party spokesman said: ‘This is not Labour policy.
‘Labour will end the housing crisis by building 100,000 genuinely affordable homes a year, introducing controls on rents, longer tenancies and improved renters’ rights and taking action to end rough sleeping.’

Tombland by C. J. Sansom: new historical novel set in Norfolk during Kett’s rebellion

Shardlake finds his loyalties tested as Barak throws in his lot with the exploding peasant rebellion and Overton finds himself prisoner in Norwich castle. Shardlake returns in Tombland, the seventh novel in C.J. Sansom’s acclaimed series.

Spring, 1549.
Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos.

The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector, presiding over a collapsing economy, a draining, prolonged war with Scotland and growing discontent amongst the populace as the old religion is systematically wiped out by radical Protestants.
Matthew Shardlake, meanwhile, is a lawyer in the employ of Lady Elizabeth, the old King’s younger daughter. The gruesome murder of Elizabeth’s distant relative Edith Boleyn soon takes him and his assistant Nicholas Overton to Norwich where he is reunited with Overton’s predecessor Jack Barak. As another murder drags the trio into ever-more dangerous waters, Shardlake finds his loyalties tested as Barak throws in his lot with the exploding peasant rebellion and Overton finds himself prisoner in Norwich castle.
Simultaneously, Shardlake discovers that the murder of Boleyn may have connections reaching into both the heart of the rebel camp and of the Norfolk gentry…
Publisher: Pan Macmillan   ISBN: 9781447284482  Number of pages: 880  https://www.bookdepository.com/Tombland-C-J-Sansom/9781447284482

Why would anybody farm? Stone Age Economics, by Marshall Sahlins (1974)

Stone Age Economics – hunter gatherers had much more leisure time

by  Marshall Sahlins (Editor)
Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Stone Age Economics includes six studies that reflect the author’s ideas on revising traditional views of hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original affluent society. When it was originally published in 1974, E. Evans-Pritchard of the Times Literary Supplement noted that this classic study of anthropological economics “is rich in factual evidence and in ideas, so rich that a brief review cannot do it justice; only another book could do that.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28254.Stone_Age_Economics

Not only an interesting read about the economy and trade of different tribes all over the world, but also a great insight into the mind of ancient people. It is often easy to think that an average stone-age man or woman had to do a lot of hard work in order to obtain all the necessities but Sahlins’ essays really show the ingenuity, logic and rationalism of these stone age people. Of all the many fine examples the author has described, my favourite has to be the trading system of the New Guinea coastal villages where every village had its fixed position in the trading network which worked like clockwork. Extremely enjoyable although at times I found the more concrete examples of different tribes and their lifestyle more interesting than the more theoretical parts.

Since its first publication over forty years ago Marshall Sahlins’s Stone Age Economics has established itself as a classic of modern anthropology and arguably one of the founding works of anthropological economics. Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Sahlins radically revises traditional views of the hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original “affluent society.”

Sahlins examines notions of production, distribution and exchange in early communities and examines the link between economics and cultural and social factors. A radical study of tribal economies, domestic production for livelihood, and of the submission of domestic production to the material and political demands of society at large, Stone Age Economics regards the economy as a category of culture rather than behaviour, in a class with politics and religion rather than rationality or prudence. Sahlins concludes, controversially, that the experiences of those living in subsistence economies may actually have been better, healthier and more fulfilled than the millions enjoying the affluence and luxury afforded by the economics of modern industrialisation and agriculture.

This Routledge Classics edition includes a new foreword by David Graeber, London School of Economics.

The Invisible Land: The hidden force driving the UK’s unequal economy and broken housing market

The reform of the dysfunctional land market is essential if the UK is to be a more equal, more productive and stable economy. It is also vital to creating a better-functioning housing market that delivers the affordable and quality homes the country needs.

https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/the-invisible-land

Land is an essential factor in all economic activity but, if it is not properly managed and regulated, it can play a destabilising role in the housing market and the wider economy. The UK’s dysfunctional land market and soaring land values have helped drive growing wealth inequality, create the conditions for a broken housing market, and are a root cause of an unproductive and unstable economy. Reform of the land market must therefore be focused on reducing the financial speculation that occurs in land and sharing the benefits of increases in land values for the benefit of the public good.

This conclusion is based on five key propositions.

  • The broken land market has a key role in driving wealth inequality in the UK.
  • The broken land market is the driving force behind our broken housing market.
  • The broken land market has played a key role in the financialisation of the UK economy and is a cause of the UK’s poor productivity.
  • The broken land market and high house prices are feeding macroeconomic instability.
  • The UK’s systems for regulating and taxing land do not seek to target or fail to adequately capture the ‘economic rents’ that arise from land.
  • LINK TO PDF OF REPORT https://www.ippr.org/files/2018-08/cej-land-tax-august18.pdf

Cambodia frees leading land rights activist Tep Vanny after royal pardon

by Rina Chandran | @rinachandran | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
This story is part of  Our new website shining a light on land and property rights around the world

Tep Vanny led a campaign fighting the forced removal of thousands of residents to make way for a luxury real estate projectBy Rina Chandran

BANGKOK, Aug 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A Cambodian land rights activist has been released from prison after receiving a royal pardon, having spent more than two years in detention in a case that came to symbolise the struggle by local communities against evictions.

Tep Vanny had for years led a campaign fighting the forced removal of thousands of residents to make way for a luxury real estate project in the Boeung Kak lake area of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.

The mother of two was found guilty of inciting violence and assaulting security guards while trying to deliver a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen outside his residence in 2013, and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Vanny’s return home on Monday night was broadcast live on a colleague’s Facebook page, and showed a crowd of people cheering her. She thanked them and hugged her children.

Rights groups welcomed the release of Vanny and three other women activists who were also pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni at Hun Sen’s request.

“Tep Vanny symbolises human rights in Cambodia. She was imprisoned for simply trying to exercise her rights and protect those of others,” said Sopheap Chak, executive director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

“Her release is very welcome, and will send a signal of hope amidst an increasingly repressive context for human rights defenders,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The impoverished Southeast Asian country has been riven with conflict over land since the Khmer Rouge destroyed the nation’s property records to establish a form of communism in the 1970s.

Between 2000 and 2014, about 770,000 Cambodians – more than 6 percent of the population – were affected by land conflicts, according to human rights lawyers who filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court in 2014.

They were forced from farmland for mining and agriculture, and neighbourhoods in urban areas for real estate projects, according to rights groups.

Communities that protest come up against authorities and corporations who respond with intimidation, violence and judicial persecution, said a report by non-profit Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO).

Vanny is the most prominent activist from the Boeung Kak area, where local neighbourhoods and backpacker hostels were strung around the scenic lake before it was filled in with sand for construction.

“Tep Vanny should never have been imprisoned in the first place,” Minar Pimple, a senior director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

“As well as allowing her to resume her activism without fear of further reprisals, authorities must quash all convictions against her and halt any investigations into any other pending charges,” he said.

The royal pardon came just days after a sweeping election victory by Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party, in a poll that rights groups say was neither free nor fair.

(Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran. Editing by Jared Ferrie. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

Planning Problems Faced by Small Farmers by Simon Fairlie

A Presentation to the Conservative  Rural Affairs Group,
6 February 2018

SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS

Part I: Difficulties Faced by New Entrants

Current Trends

Although there is consolidation in the farming industry as larger  arms expand, there is also a degree of fragmentation of ownership when medium sized farms are broken up. A proportion of these smaller plots are bought by new entrants aiming to make a living from farming and/or woodland management.

Most of these people make a living by adding value through on-farm processing and direct sales. This enables them to employ more people per hectare than larger farms, while productivity per hectare is broadly similar.

Problems Faced by New Entrants

A number of factors including the high price of land and agricultural buildings, and insecurity of tenure on rented properties, means that new entrants often buy plots of land with few or no agricultural buildings and so have to embark on a process of building their farm infrastructure. It will normally be more practical and efficient to live on site, and the cost of rural residential accommodation is much higher than can often be afforded by an otherwise viable farming enterprise. However the planning system is resistant to development in the open countryside, especially residential development; trying to break through that resistance engages the farmer in a process that is mystifying, stressful and timeconsuming.

Current Policy

There is a dearth of national policy relating to agricultural buildings and dwellings. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states only that rural worker’s dwellings are allowable if there is an “essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work”. The National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) has nothing to say about agricultural development. Most local development plans contain policies on agricultural dwellings which echo advice previously given in PPS7, requiring that applicants should demonstrate an essential need to live on site and that the enterprise should be viable. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these criteria but they are poorly defined and there is variation in interpretation, particularly as regards essential need. The recommended occupancy condition is weak, since it does not tie the dwelling to the land that justified it, leading to abuse.

Examples of New Entrants Experiencing Planning Difficulties.

Over the years Chapter 7 has documented many cases where planning officers’ resistance to agricultural development is unhelpful, and sometimes unreasonable. These include cases where officers refuse to acknowledge permitted development rights, turn down proposals for modest yet necessary agricultural buildings, or reject applications for dwellings on weak grounds. The high proportion of permissions that are granted at appeal, often after more than one application, suggests that many local authority planning officers are unduly biased against agricultural development on new holdings.

Why New Entrants Meet Resistance.

The main reason is that planning consent for agricultural buildings is notoriously susceptible to abuse from people who pretend or aspire to be farmers but who eventually convert farm buildings to another use, or agricultural dwellings to market housing. This is a genuine concern, inadequately addressed by the current model occupancy condition. Another reason may be that many planning officers have scant understanding of or sympathy for agriculture and forestry.

Part II: Some Recommendations and Suggestions

Policy Clarifications.

To remedy the situation, policies concerning agricultural development on new and bareland holdings need to be clarified. In particular:
• Paragraph 28 of the NPPF should be explicit about the benefits of local food;
• The NPPG should advise LPAs that when assessing “essential need” they should give weight to all relevant factors including the need to deal with emergencies, to manage the enterprise efficiently, to work unsociable hours, to reduce car use, to secure affordable accommodation, and to protect the enterprise from theft
or vandalism.
• The NPPG should remind LPAs that the viability and labour requirements of small-scale enterprises cannot necessarily be assessed using formulae derived from farm management manuals;
• The role of temporary permission should be clarified, noting that: it serves as a trial period when there is some uncertainty about viability; that five years is often a better period than three on bareland holdings; and that an easily dismantled wooden dwelling may be more appropriate than a caravan.

Securing New Farming Enterprises and Preventing Abuse

Instead of the weak occupancy condition currently used, new agricultural dwellings should be secured with a condition or Section 106 agreement that ties the dwelling to the land and farming enterprise that justified it; or sometimes a personal condition is more appropriate There are also a number of schemes to provide small-scale farming opportunities under the umbrella management of a social organization, such as a co-operative or a charity, the most notable in the UK being the Ecological Land Co-op. These deserve more recognition and support from the planning system than they have so far received,

Local Food Provision in the Green Belt

With a massive market at hand, there is no more convenient place to produce local food than the green belt around London and other cities; and there would be benefits to urban schools and community groups from having farms producing local foods on their doorstep. A majority of urban residents say they would like to buy food grown nearby, while substantial areas of green belt land are “neglected.”

Yet it is doubly difficult for producers of local food to establish themselves in the green belt, owing to the hope value attached to the land and to stringent planning policies. The NPPF should be revised so as to encourage local food production and provision in the green belt, and allow that an agricultural worker’s dwelling may be appropriate.

Succession

Existing farms sometimes confront much the same problems as new entrants, when succession can only be satisfactorily resolved by introducing an extra dwelling. The DHCLG should consider whether a second dwelling policy similar to that in Welsh Technical Advice 6 could be introduced in England.

Simon Fairlie, Chapter 7

For a PDF of a fuller version click below:
Planning Problems Faced by Small Farmers A Presentation to the Conservative Rural Affairs Group,

Gove accused of letting wealthy grouse moor-owners off the hook

See also: Who Owns England publish today on the day of the beginning of the grouse-shooting season: The aristocrats and City bankers who own England’s grouse moors

 
Article published today on the Guardian website asserts that documents show that the UK environment secretary suggested owners voluntarily end the deleterious environmental practice of burning heather to head off threat of a compulsory ban.
Background: Pressure for the ban comes from the decision by the European Commission to begin legal action against the UK government who, having made a commitment to the commission to carry out a review of permissions to burn blanket bog in Special Areas of Conservation, delayed acting upon by a number of years the results of Natural England’s review in 2013which concluded that “ongoing burning of blanket bog habitat would prevent its maintenance and restoration”. (Source: RSPB)

Michael Gove accused of letting wealthy grouse moor owners off the hook
by Rob Evans, The Guardian
Date: 12th Aug 2018
Ref: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/12/michael-gove-accused-of-letting-wealthy-grouse-moor-owners-off-the-hook

Papers show UK environment secretary suggested owners voluntarily end controversial practice of burning heather to head off threat of compulsory ban

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has been accused of letting the owners of large grouse moors who are alleged to be damaging the environment off the hook.

The accusation from campaigners concerns the owners’ practice of repeatedly burning heather on their moorland estates to help boost the numbers of grouse for shooting.

The owners face the threat of a compulsory ban on the practice after the European commission launched an investigation.

However, Whitehall papers show that Gove suggested they should end the practice voluntarily to head off the threat of a ban. The papers record a private meeting between Gove and a small group of owners, two of whom have made donations to the Conservative party.

According to the minutes, Gove advised them to “sign up to a voluntary commitment to suspend the practice” as it would “help the government demonstrate its intent” to end it.

His department confirmed, according to the minutes, that the voluntary commitment would not be legally binding.

Guy Shrubsole, of the campaign group Who Owns England, which obtained the papers under freedom of information legislation, said: “The government faces legal action by the European commission for allowing this practice to continue, yet is letting wealthy grouse moor owners off the hook by pleading with them to take voluntary action.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it had made rapid progress in recent months as more than 150 landowners had committed themselves to ending the practice voluntarily. About two-thirds of them organise grouse shooting. The Moorland Association, which represents landowners, denied that they were being given an easy ride by the government.

As the “Glorious Twelfth” – the start of the annual grouse-shooting season – begins on Sunday, Who Owns England is publishing a map of the owners of about 100 grouse moor estates in England. It estimates that the estates together cover half a million acres – an area the size of Greater London.

A mixture of aristocrats, City financiers and businesses based in offshore tax havens own the estates, charging clients significant sums of money to bag grouse, according to its analysis.

Environmental campaigners argue that the management of the estates harms the environment and wildlife. They say it leads to the illegal killing of birds of prey such as hen harriers, which prey on grouse, and the legal killing of foxes, stoats and mountain hares.

One criticism concerns the practice of burning the bog to encourage new heather shoots – a food source for grouse. They say that burning heather leaves bare peat exposed to the air, harming wildlife that lives in the peatland.

Burning blanket bog to support the elite sport of grouse shooting wreaks ecological havoc – exacerbating wildfires and floods, and releasing huge amounts of soil carbon,” said Shrubsole.

However, the accusations are rejected by the owners, who say their management of the moors protects the environment. They say that about two-thirds of England’s upland sites of special scientific interest are managed grouse moors which helps to conserve the landscape, while other areas have been lost to afforestation, windfarms or overgrazing.

The documents record how Gove invited the landowners to a meeting in London in February.

According to the minutes, Gove told them that he was pursuing a new policy, with the agreement of the European commission, and was looking to the landowners “to sign up to a voluntary commitment to suspend the practice of rotational burning with immediate effect”.

He advised that protecting soils was high on the government’s agenda and introducing an immediate ban on rotational burning on blanket bog could have significant consequence on land management practices currently underway,” say the minutes.

Defra confirmed “the voluntary commitment is not a legally binding document and would show intent from both the government and land managers to achieve long-term outcomes for restoring blanket bog”.

It added that unless “a significant number” of voluntary commitments were in place by next year, it would “need to introduce legislation to cease rotational burning”.

Among those at the meeting was the Duke of Northumberland, who has donated £11,100 to the Conservative party.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Protecting blanket bogs is a priority. We have made rapid progress over the last six months – 157 landowners have committed to cease rotational burning, up from three a year ago, representing the vast majority of blanket bog in England.”

However the environment secretary has made clear that we will take steps to introduce legislation if our constructive, voluntary approach does not deliver.

It added that its advisory body, Natural England, was working closely with these landowners to put management plans in place as soon as possible.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: “The portrayal of the partnership agreement between Natural England and grouse moor managers as being ‘cosy and letting landowners off’ is completely inaccurate.

Law Commission proposal for leaseholders to buy a freehold at discount

https://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/creation-national-leasehold-campaign-nlc
Photo of leaseholder protest 2017 (Source: Leasehold Knowledge Partnership). Katie Kendrick, of the National Leasehold Campaign group, has brilliantly mobilised leaseholders across the country. The group has a Facebook membership of nearly 7,000 and has organised a series of demonstrations across the North West.

Radical plans to end huge costs of buying a freehold unveiled

Law Commission draws up options enabling leaseholders to extend or buy more cheaply

by Patrick Collinson
The Guardian, 19/07/2018
Ref: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/jul/19/radical-plans-to-end-huge-costs-of-buying-a-freehold-unveiled

Millions of homeowners caught in the so-called “leasehold trap” may be able to buy their freeholds at a fraction of the price currently demanded by ground rent companies, under radical proposals from  the Law Commission.

One proposal is for a simple formula where leaseholders will pay just  10 times their current ground rent to convert their property from leasehold to freehold.

There are 4.2m leasehold properties in England, and around half are on leases of under 80 years, leaving residents vulnerable to what critics say are rapacious demands from freeholders for lease extensions.

The Law Commission was asked by then communities secretary Savid Javid in December 2017 to find ways to make buying out a lease “much easier, faster and cheaper”. In its response, the Law Commission, an independent legal body, on Thursday sets out two options for reform. The first is a formula that “could be based on ten times the ground rent” or “10% of the value of the property”, saying that any new rules must reduce the current cost for leaseholders. It added that a simple formula had the benefit of being easily understood and would reduce legal costs.

With ground rents averaging around £370 a year, that suggests a cost of £3,700 – far less than the £10,000 to £40,000 typically sought from a leaseholder for a flat valued at £200,000 with fewer than 80 years left on the lease.

Its second option is to standardise the existing regime for leasehold valuations, removing a complicated element called “marriage value” that it said currently increases the cost paid by leaseholders.

The Law Commission also proposed new formulas for leaseholders who extend their lease rather than buying the freehold. It suggested that they could have a right to extend the lease for up to 250 years, and no longer have to pay ground rents.

The Law Commission said proposals were only at an outline stage, and that a full consultation document would not be published until the autumn, with new rules unlikely until summer 2019. Any changes to the calculation of leasehold extensions is likely to meet fierce resistance from freeholders, with the fortunes of Britain’s wealthiest aristocrats, such as the Duke of Westminster, rooted in lucrative leasehold property estates in central London.

A legal challenge to existing leasehold valuations – which estimated that leaseholders were overpaying by hundreds of millions of pounds every year – was rejected by the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

The Law Commission said it would have to ensure that “sufficient compensation” was paid to landlords. “Any changes to the law that government takes forward will have to comply with human rights legislation and take account of the impact of reform.

“And while some changes – in particular the options that we have been asked to present to reduce the premium payable by leaseholders – will inevitably benefit leaseholders at the expense of landlords, that is not the case across the board.”

Campaigners for leasehold reform, who demonstrated outside parliament on Wednesday, welcomed the proposals. Sebastian O’Kelly of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership said: “Lease extension and enfranchisement – the buying of the freehold – are two highly lucrative rackets.

“The mathematical formulae agreed by the courts were obligingly provided by estate agents for the richest freehold owners in the country. The only way to end this racket is a fixed formula of annual multiples of ground rent, as exists in Northern Ireland and Scotland, then your home is truly yours.”

Around one in five new-build houses in recent years – and almost every flat – have been sold as leasehold, some with spiralling ground rents that have made selling them near impossible.

[end]

Anglesey dispute with the RSPB car park charges

 Here in deepest Anglesey, we are having a dispute with the RSPB over one of their reserves South Stack, which is in fact 88% public land (leased to them by the council). The RSPB plan to charge for parking on three of the four car parks at the site and there is no access via public transport and it is a remote site.

Not only is the vast amount of the land in public ownership, it was also given to the people of Anglesey for their free use. The birds at South Stack are far from being the only attraction. There is a lighthouse that is over 200 years old and is an iconic part of the landscape in Anglesey and indeed the whole of Wales. This is run on a pay by admission basis by a ‘not for profit’ company who give all of their proceeds to local projects. The rocks at South Stack were formed some 500 million years ago. There is also a scheduled ancient monument looked after by Cadw.

Any payment taken by the RSPB will go to the RSPB alone. They have proposed that on a trial basis, they charge a reduced sum of £2 an hour (originally it was to be a flat fee of £5). They have stated that they cannot guarantee that they will not put this charge back up again as it is subject to review. This parking fee is a large amount for people living on this island that has some of the most deprived areas in Wales. This is at a time when we are supposed to be encouraging exercise and ‘getting outdoors’ for the wellbeing of a nation.

They also plan to upgrade their visitor centre/café to the tune of £840,000 (some of which will be publicly funded), when done they will be sitting on a huge piece of valuable real estate. They say that they need the parking fee to justify the investment from their Trustees for the building work. If pushed, they revert to mentioning that nature needs help.

They have been refused planning permission for 4 parking payment machines by the Council but have indicated that they will now appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. I attach a petition now signed by over 6,000 against the parking, hopefully my updates within will give you plenty of information but I am happy to answer any questions.

Do any TLIO members have experience of large charities acting in this way, against the public good? Interested in any thoughts and comments on either side of the debate. With many thanks for allowing me to post.

 

https://www.change.org/p/rspb-no-to-carpark-charges-at-south-stack-ynys-lawd