[diggers350] DETR - enemy of the people - Exodus eviction SOS

Tony Gosling tony at gaia.org
Sun Oct 31 18:46:25 GMT 1999

Exodus collective have spent the last seven years bringing back 'The Farm'
from a state of dereliction after it was abandoned by the then Department
of Transport.  The collective recently put in a successful sealed bid to
buy the farm and have paid a 10% deposit to the conveyencing solicitor - as
required by law.  The DETR are now REFUSING TO SELL to the collective.
Eviction date has been set for Friday 5th November.  Exodus will be
resisting this by all non-violent means possible.

-----Original Message-----
From: exoduscollective at csi.com


Lord Larry Whitty, Under Secretary of State at the DETR (Department of the
Environment, Transport and The Regions) has authorised a large-scale
eviction of the Exodus Collective from our home and workplace at Long Meadow
Community Free Farm, in Chalton, Bedfordshire. It is a politically motivated
decision that makes a laughing stock of this government's claim to be
tackling social exclusion, and is a blatant act of profiteering at our

The Exodus Collective are widely acknowledged to be one of the UK's leading 
examples of 'DIY' community self regeneration, at the forefront of providing 
viable and challenging 'bottom up' solutions to social exclusion - a 'Social
Inclusion Unit.'  Our free community dance events, social housing projects
and city farm have attracted recognition and high praise internationally,
even receiving an official visit by the government's own Social Exclusion
Unit in 1998.

We were originally granted a tenancy at Long Meadow Farm by the DETR in
1992, and have been living and working there ever since. Our housing
co-operative, The Housing Action Zone (HAZ) obtained the necessary mortgage
after being forced to take part in a sealed bid sale which took no account
of our long occupation and complete regeneration of the farm.  Under severe
duress and the threat of eviction, we eventually had to bid an over-inflated
price and paid an agreed deposit of £15,000 to enable the community purchase
of the farm.

For the balance to be released we had to obtain a planning certificate from
the local authority - ours by right and in law because of our continuous
occupation of the farm.  This certificate legitimises our 7 year use of a
second house on the farm, enabling us to re- build it to high
eco-sustainable standards, providing further homes for the homeless and work
and education for the. As a result of unwarranted delays by South Beds
District Planning officers in issuing the certificate, and despite our
having paid the deposit, the DETR under Lord Larry Whitty now seem
determined to renege on the agreement to sell and to evict us. They then
intend to sell the farm at a massive profit - made on the back of our
collective efforts - sharing the spoils with a private property developer.
This is Robin Hood in reverse - robbing from the poor to give to the rich,
and should not be allowed to happen.

The battle to secure the farm has been a long and well-documented struggle.
During the passage of this sale we have totally regenerated the property
twice, once from dereliction, and again after an arson attack which the
police never properly investigated. Exodus solicitors have consistently
asserted that our legal right to buy the farm has been denied, but we were
refused a full hearing of this claim in very dubious circumstances at the
High Court. Throughout this time we have also made countless requests to
speak with successive ministers, all to no avail.  Most recently we have
repeatedly asked Larry Whitty for a meeting, as has our local MP, Kelvin
Hopkins, but Lord Whitty has consistently refused to afford us the
opportunity to present the details of our case.

To evict us now would be a complete betrayal of this government's stated
commitment to tackling social exclusion, a massive social injustice and an
act of robbery from the poor in order to benefit the rich.  Lord Whitty
should choose justice over robbery, honour the agreement to sign contracts
immediately and meet with us and our MP as soon as is practically possible.

The eviction notice orders us to leave the farm at 11am on Friday 5th
November 1999.  We would not oppose this eviction order if we did not know
that right is completely on our side. To leave voluntarily would be to
abandon justice and years of collective hard work and endurance. We are
determined to resist this injustice by all non-violent means at our
disposal, and we call on good people everywhere to assist us in any peaceful
way that they are able.

EXODUS EMERGENCY HELPLINE - LUTON 01525 876721 OR 0973 146564

"Capitalism is Institutionalised Bribery. Homelessness the prerequisite for
Economic Slavery"

Tony Gosling  tony at gaia.org
Tel +44 (0)117 955 6769
14 Lancaster Road
St Werburgh's


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