|This is a representation of the TLIO Newsletter No 9. To simulate the layout of the Newsletter I’ve made heavy use of tables and assumed a resolution of 800×600 which may cause problems for text-only and some older browsers. For a minimal format, .txt version click news9.txt.||
THE LAND IS OURS a landrights campaign in Britain
|The Land Is Ours a landrights campaign in Britain|
|issue 9 june/july 1997 Free
|In just 6 days a new world was created, and on the seventh day there was a party. I passed out at 9.30pm – oh, the shame! Work began on what was to be known as ‘Easter Gardens’ on er… Easter – Saturday the 29th March to be precise. This was to be the first action for TLIO Bristol and so after weeks of work, planning every detail of the project we were overwhelmed to see that our 400 flyers had brought in about 12 people who had brought drums instead of the simple hand tools we had suggested. Oh well, it was a sunny day and at least we had a rhythm section. The only press to show was Cable TV. “Things” as New Labour would say “Can only get better.” Well, they did: over the 6 days more than 150 people came to help with clearing and construction, and we made headline regional news on the TV for 3 days! Radio and the press also covered the story and everyone backed what we were doing. It seems this was another case of a developer attempting to gain legal title to a piece of land through “adverse possession” – where unowned land becomes yours if you can lay claim to it for twelve ‘undisputed’ years. The local residents had been disputing the claim of the alleged owner and his plans for eleven and a half years and had wished to see a community garden built. Due to the inherent difficulties in resolving such matters through the existing legal and planning frameworks and quite a bit of ..um.. harassment, the local community almost gave up on their dream. This is where TLIO came in and occupied the land. The police came and left once they were informed that it was a “complicated civil dispute”. The alleged owner came on site to threaten legal action and was dispatched with the card of our solicitor – the work went on. To date the garden blooms, no deeds of ownership have been produced and no legal action taken against us. We draw our own conc lusions. This kind of dispute will be happening in your area – find out about it and make a dream come true instead of a nightmare. Thanks to all those who took part in making the garden, those who took time to come over and congratulate and support us, Clifton residents for all those vol-au-vents, John Dunkley our solicitor from Earthrights UK, to Kebelee cafe, to Ilsa for fighting for those 11.5 years, to Moon and his magical chainsaw and to those wonderful people with the drums. Easter Gardens, Clifton High St, Top of Blackboys Hill, Bristol|
|Queen Voted Worst Landowner|
|An independent panel of judges unanimously voted The Queen ?Britain?s Worst Landowner 1997? for her poor management of Balmoral Estate and other Crown lands. The Crown continues to claim immunity from the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the Queen?s lawyers successfully arguing that her estates at Lochnagar and Ballochbuie should not be given status as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. In 1992 the estate closed an existing 2570 ha nature reserve and evicted its operators (the Scottish Wildlife Trust). Setting a better example was Richard Mabey (best known for his classic Food for Free) who won Best Landowner for his management of woodland which involves the community and gives public access. Runners up for worst landowner included Newcastle City Council (for inviting Newcastle United FC to apply for planning permission to build a stadium on greenspace in the heart of the city centre), Blackford Farms and Wolverhampton Council. Nominations are now open for 1998.|
|Towpath Cycle Charge Scheme|
|The canal system in Britain is the benign elder sister of the roads network. Linking many of our population centres, it has become an important resource for sustainable transport. Canals provide a pleasant and rapid route into towns for walkers and cyclists, and open up the countryside for car-free access. The British Waterways Board clearly do not see it that way. In response to government pressure to become self-financing, they have announced a pilot project to charge cyclists using the Kennet and Avon canal towpath. The scheme involves an annual charge similar to boat licence charges, and will be backed up by special rangers. Anti-cyclist pressure has in the past come from anglers and conservative rambling groups who have effectively been valuing the canal towpath based solely on amenity value. It appears that this scheme is part of the “more active marketing strategy” recommended by the 1993 government report on the BWB fronted by the then Corporate Affairs minister, Neil Hamilton. Could it be that the canals, too, are being fattened up for privatisation – “Linear Parcs”, perhaps. David Fletcher, Chief Executive, BWB, Willow Grange, Church Rd, Watford WD1 3QA. John Prescott, Secretary of State for Environment and Transport, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Stop the Cycle Charge Campaign 0181 960 3785|
|Land Songs: We’re still putting together a Land Songs tape please send demos to the office|
|Land Initiatives Roundup: Uk and International|
|ENGLAND North Manchester Airport: Jimi Hendrix, Wild Garlic and Zion Tree have been evicted, Cliff Richard OBE (a vegan revolutionary camp) remains to protest against the building of a second runway. 18 arrested, 60 removed. You still stand some chance of getting in if you go up there. 0161 834 8221 or 0958 451525. Cheshire: Lawton Woods, OS825555, currently full of bluebells, and attracting visitors from all over, is still under threat. Although Robincorp?s plans to develop the area have been refused, the company are going to appeal on the 4th June, and trees are already being felled. Protest to Congelton Borough Council, Westfields, (Sandbach), Cheshire Contact the Friends of Lawton Woods 01270 873040. Grimsby: Construction has started on phase three of the Peakes parkway which will put a trunk road straight through a rural community. Locals are attempting to take out an injunction to halt work during the nesting season. Help is urgently needed: 01472 278845 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Newcastle United?s plans to build a 55,000 seat stadium on Town Moor land and on a registered historic park, right in the city centre, have been given a set back by the refusal of the Freemen of Newcastle (who control the moor) to allow match day parking for 2,000 cars. No Business On The Moor have now presented their formal objection letter and 37,000 signature petition against the plans. Contact Mike Hockets on 0191 232 1883 York, Naburn Woods: Developers wanting to build a factory shopping village on the outskirts of York are running into a few troubles. After the very positive treehouse village over the summer, the council have told developers that they will do their best to avoid giving them any new planning permissions. However, work is going ahead on an access road using existing planning permission: Contact YorkLEAF c/o Peace Centre, 15a Clifford St, York. 01904 642493 (10am-4pm)|
|South Chippenham: Hedgerows, trees, badger setts, and an area of archaeological interest are set to be bulldozed this month to make way for a new bypass near Bath. To get involved in organising/attending route walks and occupations, phone Bath Earth First! on 01249 713742 or 650078. London: Local people are campaigning against development that demolished their city farm- Elm Farm in Wandsworth. After a site occupation and eviction, they inflitrated the land auction and managed to push the cost of land up by £200,000. The 1/2 acre plot was eventually sold to a school who had defaulted on their lease of the land last year. The campaign continues and vegetables are still being planted. For futher info: Tel Sally on 0171 223 8916. London: Gargoyle Wharf Community Action Group carrrying on from Pure Genius/Wandsworth land occupation are organising Planning For Real sessions in Wandsworth to enable local residents to contribute/develop ideas about how they think the area once occupied should be developed. Sunday 1st June 10- 5, 5th 6:30- 9:00pm, 7th 7:30 -10.00pm , at Joseph Tritton Primary School, Wynter Street, off York Road. Contact: Ernest 0181 672 9698. Sussex, Brighton: Community group in Brighton, opposing an application by Sainsburys to build a superstore and car park in the heart of town are desperately seeking lawyers/traffic/pollution/ consultants/ expert witnesses and anyone with any time to spare. Their application has gone in; time is running out. Contact: Brighton Urban Design and Development 01273 622727. Guildford: Surrey County Council?s Urgency Committee agreed on May 12 to abandon the A320 widening and realignment scheme, at Stringers Common, near Guildford “because of lack of funding”. It woz the crusties wot won it .|
|Central Northamptonshire: The No Opencast campaign has now formally submitted its planning application for an opencast mine on Michael Heseltine?s country retreat, and have sent a statement to the Secretary of State for the Environment requiring an Environmental Assessment Study for the development. For more information contact the Miners Support Group at 190 Shepherds Bush Rd, London, W6 7NL 0171 603 1831. Stoke-on-Trent: The Packmoor Action Group are organising against the activities of “English Partnerships”, a body of various corporations including Tarmac, AMEC, RJB mining and Anglo UK (opencast). They are providing Stoke on Trent Council with £7.1million to build the Tunstall bypass. This will open up 101 hectares of fine meadowland for development of an ?urban village? (read: housing estate). Planning permission has now been granted, although there was no public consultation. Phone Jan Bridges on 01782 851842, and watch this space… Oxfordshire: Stonesfield, nr, Witney. Villagers have started up a community trust giving the village control of some of its own land and the rent-flow from it. They are creating real power at community level, with grants to build affordable village housing designed to Scandinavian standards of insulation. contact: Tony Crofts 01993 891686. Oxfordshire: Wroxton and Balscote Ongoing campaign against mining proposals which may well end up being used as landfill sites. Contact Wroxton and Balscote Action Group: 01295 738 100/0378 454 134.|
|East Kent, Folkestone: Local residents lost their appeal against the 850-building “Holiday Village” which is planned to be built on Lyminge Forest, and protest camps have now been set up. To lend a hand (people, tarpaulins, food, blankets etc always needed). Call 01227 261057 or 01303 862722.|
|West Somerset: Wyndham Hill Local council planning a road/ supermarket development – ASDA looking most likely to be involved with the supermarket, though no formal application has been made yet. The land was occupied on equinox 20th March, by 5 people. There are now 8 tree houses and 3 tunnels on site. A possession order been made so they could be evicted at any time. Contact: O1935 825074. Somerset: nr. Yeovil Tinkers Bubble The site continues to be an inspirational example of low impact living. For the latest on their appeal, see page 2, column 1. Contact Simon on: 0135 881975. Somerset nr. Shepton Mallett: Kingshill – 12 adults and 5 children living on a 4 acre meadow in ‘state of the art’ benders. The Government has dropped its appeal to High Court which overturned a public enquiry (which came out against the residents), so a bit in limbo but no enforcement notice at present. Now enjoying increasingly good relations with local community. Contact: Avril on 01749 860660. Bristol Ashton Court: Campaign over plans to extend a quarry 20 acres over unimproved wildflower meadow. Contact: 0117 942 0129. Glastonbury, Someset: A group of people associated with Kingshill are getting together to form the germ of a community which would buy land and establish a sustainable/eco village. Contact Ali 01458 851149. Plants for a Future are working on a similar eco-village project near Lostwithiel, Cornwall . Check out their excellent website with an amazing useful plants database (http://axis-net.com/pfaf/plants.html) Contact: 01208 873554/623.|
|SCOTLAND Eigg. After years of harrassment from appalling owners the residents of Eigg have finally succeeded in buying their own island! They take control on the 12th June. A huge wave of optimism and cooperation has been sweeping the island. Directors and representatives are being elected as part of the structure being set up to control the island and frantic preparation is being made for the takeover. Contact: 01687 482486. East Lothian, Pressmennan Woods: Direct action campaign against felling of remnant of Caledonian Forest. After an eviction of a camp on negelected land, eight people have been charged under the 1865 Trespass (Scotland) Act, a law passed as part of the Highland Clearances. The camp was on land locally believed to be common land, but police used the law on behalf of a trustee of the Biel estate who lives in Kent. Felling is being challenged as being contrary to both European law and Agenda 21: trees are probably safe until end of nesting season. Write to the Procurator Fiscal, Lodge St, Haddington, East Lothian asking for all charges to be dropped. Contact 0131 5588762 or 01368 850630. SCIAF– An occupation of meadows in Edinburgh to highlight land issues in developing world involved over 200 local kids and included 2 M.P.s and got good publicity. Now evaluating the action and planning a follow up camp. Contact: Dermot Lamb 0800 435510. Buildings in the Forest: Innovative project being coordinated by Reforesting Scotland. It aims at both restoring the land to the people and the people to the land through creating entire living systems based in forests/ woodland which can be ecologically, socially and economic sustainable using locally sourced sustainable timber. Contact: Reforesting Scotland 0131 2262496, 21a Coates Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 7AF.|
|WALES Cardiff Bay: The Cardiff Bay Barrage scheme, which threatens the destruction of an internationally important habitat for wading birds to make way for a high profile/cost development in a predominantly working class area, is threatened by further controversy as Cardiff Bay Development Corporation appears not to be carrying out the statutory consultation of 22,000 homes in the area with the required thoroughness. The new Welsh Secretary, Ron Davies, has been anti barrage in the past, so campaigners are hoping for a review. Contact Cardiff Residents Against the Barrage 01222 492 374. Gwent Levels: A public inquiry is being held about plans to create a wetland habitat on the Gwent Levels to compensate for habitat loss caused by the Cardiff Ba y development, which floods land eight farmers have been farming for generations, and is expected to last for three weeks from 7th May. Contact: Friends of the Earth Cymru 01222 229577. Cardiff 20:20: In the face of concern over present and future development of South East Wales countryside, Cardiff 20:20 aims to unite local groups to generate public debate and positive visions on the future shape of Cardiff and South East Wales. Contact Phil Ward 01222 491072. e-mail: Card2020@ foe.co.uk Clydach Gorge: After protest and a change of government it now looks likely that instead of a dualling of the A465 Abergavenny to Hirwaun there will be a cycle path on disused railway through the gorge between Abergavenny and Brynmawr! Contact Linette Green (01873) 830251. Carmarthenshire, nr Llandeilo: Tipi Village 75 adults and about 50 kids living low impact on 160 acres. At present residents are pressing the new Welsh Secretary about outstanding planning appeals hoping for a more sympathetic response than they have had in the past. Contact 01558 685066/685038.|
|INTERNATIONAL France: Provence, Longo Mai. A community which took over 300 hectares of abandoned land in Provence in the years after 1968 and is still active. They? ve just issued a pamphlet to coincide with the French election began which calls for the taking over of abandoned and speculative land. Contact: 00 33 92 73 05 98 Le Pigeonnier, B.P. 42, 04300 Limans (France). Botswana: Kalahari Game Reserve The Botswanan Government are threatening the Kalahari tribe with eviction from the Kalahari Game Reserve. Contact: Survival International 0171 242 1441 Peru: Mobil have finished exploring for oil in land which is home to three uncontacted Indian peoples in the Peruvian Amazon and have until March 1998 to decide on whether to drill for oil in these areas. Mobil continues to explore for oil on land known as ?Block 78?, which is home to numerous Indian peoples, and pressurising them to agree access for Mobil crews in exchange for derisory compensation. Survival supporters hold regular demonstrations outside Mobil?s offices in London and Madrid. Kaiowá Indians of Sucuriy, in Southern Brazil, face an uncertain future. Having reoccupied their land on December 23, 1996, they now face eviction. The police were expected to enforce an eviction order against them on May 15, but have yet to do so. Over 200 hundred Kaiowá from other communities have arrived in Sucuriy to show their solidarity: supporters around the world continue to lobby the Brazilian government to uphold the Kaiowá?s land rights. Survival, 11-15 Emerald Street, London WC1N 3QL. 0171 242 1441|
|Competition: design a new t-shirt we’ve sold loads of the other ones already and need something a bit less old-school to flog at festies prize: free t-shirt (obviously) plus a mystery prize to all entrants. deadline: 22 June 1997|
|Local Group News The idea of TLIO local groups has really taken off -we?re starting to get together a network of land-based groups, based either in one area or around one aspect of land rights. Simon Chadwick is now acting as coordinator for local groups , based in the Oxford networking office (mainly available Mondays ). If there?s no local group in your area why not set one up? We can supply the backup you need to make the meetings a success. Contact the office, choose a venue and get on the phone.LOW IMPACT WORKING GROUP Contact 01935 881975 RURAL SETTLEMENT FORUM Living on the land, planning permission, setting up co-ops, growing organically, and much more at the Big Green Gathering, 24-27 July. Meet others to share your rural settlement visions and help to form a Rural Settlement Group. Contact 01265 771477 ARCHAEOLOGY AND CULTURAL HERITAGE new group being set up, concentrating on the place of Archaeology and Heritage in land rights and in the Land Rights movement. Contact Simon at the Oxford Office, 01865 722016. BRISTOL TLIO Bristol is now looking forward to a summer campaign and is meeting regularly to welcome supporters and ideas for the future. Our priority is to build on the success of the Easter Garden action which has established our presence here. Presently meeting regularly on Wednesdays at 7.30pm. Check with Gordon for venue on 0117 9656261 ext 3189 CORNWALL The group is inactive, if anyone feels motivated to take over contact 01736 711378. A new Tamar group is starting. Contact TLIO Office for details. DEVON Contact 01647 433684 EAST ANGLIA The Sudbury local group holds weekly meetings (at the last one on 22 May, a local councillor came to speak on Agenda 21 and access to land). There are other proto-local groups in the East Anglia area. Contact Judy Say on 01787 371886. HULL On 17th April “Hull on Earth” held an occupation of derelict urban land. The success of the day and support of local residents means Hull TLIO are now working towards a long-term use for the site. Legal Defense and Monitoring and Permaculture groups have been set up. Contact 01482 218377 HAMPSHIRE The first meeting is on Saturday, 31st May, at 2pm at Northdown Orchard, South Litchfield. Please bring food for a meal and a tent if you wish to stay overnight. Lifts available from Micheldever Station. Contact 01265 771477 LONDON The next meeting is on Thursday 19 th June, 7.30 pm, at Jan Rebane Centre, 12-14 Thornton St, SW9 OBL, opposite the Old White Horse pub. Contact Jo on 0956 651580 NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE Next meeting is Weds. 21 May, 1 pm, at NHCP (2nd floor), 16, Great North Road, Newcastle. We welcome new members, and have a Low Impact Development site on the go. Contact 01434 600782 OXFORD A local action-based group is being set up, distinct from the TLIO coordinating group. Contact 01865 722986 SOMERSET contact 01460 64500 SCARBOROUGH Scarborough group had its second meeting on May 7th with 10 committed people. Plans are underway for an outdoor publicity /awareness raising day this summer. The group have also done actions at McDonalds and other supermarkets. There are plans to co-ordinate with Hull local group to do joint actions. Contact 01723 882289|
Thousands of Brazilian Landless march on capital The massively inspirational movement of the Brazilian landless, Movimento Sem Terra, has achieved one of its most outstanding achievements yet, a mobilisation of thousands of Brazl?s landless marching the 1,000 km from Sao Paulo to Brasilia demanding urgent land redistribution. The march arrived in Brasilia on 17 April, the anniversary of the massacre of 19 MST activists by Military Police in the State of Para last year. The Brazilian Government issued a response document when the peasants had reached Brasilia, but the landless are still waiting for the President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to honour promises he made about land redistribution during his election campaign. It is now estimatedthat 94% of Brazil?s population support MST?s aims, truly endorsing their slogan that ?Agrarian Reform is Everyone?s Struggle?. The publicity and support generated by the march has forced the government to reverse an earlier overtly hostile approach to them. Contact: Brazil Network 1A Waterlow Road London N19 5NJ 0171 2812226 If you have any information on MST or could translate from Portuguese, contact Steve Jones: 0181 723 4603 or email@example.com.
New Stock We have a total of 50 books and other publications for sale: a full list will be published with the next newsletter. Here’s our latest new stuff: TLIO Teeshirts Unbleached cotton with TLIO logo in tan on the front and quote from Winstanley on the back. XL, L, M & S. £7.50. Battle For the Trees. Merrick Godhaven. The first three months of protest at the Newbury Bypass – an activists experience. £3.60 Low-impact News issue 8, the land, news and practical information. £2.00. Progress and Poverty Condensed (12pg). Digestible version of Henry George?s classic 1879 book – how the industrialists and landowners increasing ?wealth? leads us into poverty. 50p Roadraging: Top Tips for Wrecking Roads All you could ever want to know about direct action against roads and more! £3. Schnewsround Issue 2 of the inside story from the direct action frontline. £5.80 So much land, so much hope The Landless People?s Movement. The struggle for agarian reform in Brazil. £3.30 Squall Issue 15 News from street level that pulls no punches. £2.50.
Events and Meetings Early June Bristol TLIO Presents Genius Loci (spirit of place) ,a community festival. Location/ time ‘to be announced’! Phone 0117 9850587 June 10-17 Alternative European Summit, Amsterdam. Parallel forum whilst EU heads push unregulated free trade. Contact A SEED Europe, PO box 92066, 1090 AB Amsterdam, Netherland +31 20 6682236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org June 15 Oxford Land is Ours benefit/ social with fine acoustic and electric music, bands, stalls preview of Undercurrents 7 and fiery flying rolls 12pm – 12am Gayles club, St Michael Street. Contact TLIO 01865 722016 June 18 Wednesday Land, People and Freedom- A one day conference addressing issues faced by the Traveller Communities- both traditional and New. East of England Showground, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Contact: Shirley Sharpe at National Council for Voluntary Organisations (0171 713 6161) 20th, 21st and 22nd June Bristol Street Party and Solstice Celebration Contact: 0117 939 3093. July 9-15 Earth First! Summer Gathering- workshops, training, debates, music Info c/o 16 Sholebrook Avenue, Chapeltown Leeds LS7 3HB. 0113 2629365 July 23rd to 27th, 1997 Big Green Gathering, Wilts Downs nr. Warminster £40/5 days inc camping. tel 01747 870667 August 1-14 Ecotopia, Scotland. European summer environmental university?. TLIO will be doing the festivals this year – we are going to be at: Strawberry fair, Cambridge (7th June) INURA conference, Zurich (15 June)! Leamington Peace Festival (21/22 June) Glastonbury (27-29 June) Earth First! Summer Gathering (8-13 July) BuddhaField (16-20 July) Big Green Gathering (23-27 July) Womad (25-27 July) Greenbelt Festival, Corby (27 August)?! Any help to get displays together, get tat moved around, rant about landrights to the chemically disturbe d etc. deeply appreciated. Or just see you there.
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|Networking Needs The networking group needs new people so that we can support all the groups and individuals working on land issues in the UK. You could work from home, or come into the office – TLIO will pay any travel expenses. (It only takes 70 minutes from London on the coach). There are a few roles already existing whic h need to be filled, but the field is wide open for you to define your own. What we need is not so much general purpose drudges as people who are prepared to take on one project or function as their own (though you can always find something to do if you come in). Suggested roles include: Quartermaster To make sure resources are fairly allocated across the TLIO network Rural Settlement Group Co-Ordinator to take over from Mike Fisher (01256 771477) Lobbyists To implement long-term lobbying strategy. Dan Bloomfield 0181 785 3014 Local Contacts to promote TLIO in your area and feed back local news to the rest of the network. We are also looking for: Archive material – Tarpaulins – Transport (access to a mini-bus/ van) – Computer gear (< 10 yrs old; to provide email / website access for local groups.) Special request: we are trying to put together more publications along the lines of the Activists Guide and need people to take them on. Ideas so far include: ‘AG to the Planning system’ and ‘AG for Landowners’!||Who or What is TLIO? 10/11/12 APril: about 70 activistsfrom across the country met to talk about the future of TLIO, and to get things sorted so that the momentum of the last three years k eeps going. Meetings were run on actions, rural settlement, new campaigns on archeology, finance, media, lobbying and more issues from the procedural to the inspirational. It became clear that ‘The Land Is Ours’ is primarily an idea, one which is cabable of bringing together very motivated (and stubborn) people. Communication is the key. Here in Oxford, the netwotking group has been setting up new channels to share things around – the local groups newsletter, better use of email and the website, and resource decentralisation. We hold meetings on the first Monday of every month at 6pm to decide where funds and other resources should be channelled – please come A summary of the weekend’s minutes and action points is available from the networking office. Thanks and respect to everybody who contributed, especially Ben and his astounding food crew and Pandæmonium, a performance group who utterly blew everybody away on the Saturday night.|