Thursday, 18 June 2015

'Travesty of justice' as Runnymede eco-villagers told to leave site on Magna Carta anniversary - Get Surrey #onn #olsx #occupydemocracy #commons #radicalassembly

'Travesty of justice' as Runnymede eco-villagers told to leave site on Magna Carta anniversary - Get Surrey

Villagers living in woodland close to the Magna Carta memorial have been told to leave the site, following a court hearing.
The Diggers 2012 group set up the Runnymede Eco-Village three years ago in Englefield Green to promote "life outside the system".
Formerly the Brunel University Runnymede Campus, the site was bought by Orchid Runnymede, which has planning permission to demolish the former university campus and build a collection of care homes, student accommodation units, private homes and affordable housing near the Eco-Village.
The Diggers 2012 group had been previously issued with an eviction notice, but had maintained they had a verbal agreement to stay on the land.

In April, a district judge granted an adjournment after representatives for the landowners asked for an order for possession of the land, on the grounds of trespassing.
At a hearing in Guildford County Court on Monday - the day of the Magna Carta 800th anniversary - Recorder Andrew Lydiard said the group had no "arguable defence" to proceed to a trial and ordered them to leave the land.
He denied them an appeal at the county court, but they said afterwards that they planned a High Court appeal.
'Exceptional circumstances'
Villager Peter Phoenix, one of the defendants in the case, said it was "one of the most iconic, historic sites" in the country, and cited articles from the Human Rights Act as a defence, including Article 8 (the right to a private and family life), 10 (freedom of expression) and 11 (the right to protest).
He added: “If a protest can’t be made by the Magna Carta land, where can it be made? We are 200ft from the Magna Carta memorial. These are exceptional circumstances.
“We are on very historic land. The removal of the defendants and others would breach human rights, it’s not lawful.”
He added: “Forty people walked out of London with the aim of creating off-grid dwellings or homes. There’s log cabins, tree houses, they are all low impact, off-grid homes, all built from recycled materials.”
James Hampson, another defendant, said there had been an implied licence from security guard Valentino Tufon, who lives at the site, stating they could stay as long as they remained in the woods and did not move onto the development site.
“I’m not a traveller or squatter moving from place to place,” Mr Hampson said. “We are trying to build a project that takes years. We are caring for the land and increasing its value.”
The court heard that the group had submitted a £300,000 offer to buy the site, which was rejected by Orchid Runnymede.

Private owners
But Myriam Stacey, acting for the claimant, said: “They say they are occupying unused land. At the moment it’s an unused area of land, albeit we have plans to develop it.
“We know that there are a lot of human rights issues being raised. In this case the land is owned by private owners. The land is owned by the claimant.”
She added a festival had been advertised at the site over the weekend to mark the Magna Carta anniversary, but due to police intervention there was "no intensive activity".
But, she claimed, some damage had been caused on the site, an issue heavily disputed by the Diggers.
She added: “This site is significant because it’s so close to the site of the Magna Carta. It doesn’t need to be this piece of land [where they live].”
Summing up the day-long hearing, Recorder Lydiard said the group staying on the land would require "extremely exceptional circumstances".
“The defence has to have a strongly arguable case that there are the most exceptional circumstances to justify denying the landowner the right to recover their land," he said.
Recorder Lydiard said it was "unjustifiable" to think that a security guard would have the authority to grant a licence for the land.
He dismissed the Diggers’ others defences, and said an offer of more information about the links with the Great Charter would be "extremely interesting" but unnecessary.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Phoenix said: “It’s the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the most historic day and the judge didn’t even address it.
“We will appeal. This is a travesty of justice.”

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