Resist the Eviction of Yorkley Court Farm – from 1pm, 12 March onwards

Yorkley Court is a land-based occupation on the edge of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire that has been running as a community farm for almost three years now. It is one of a network of land squats across the country, such as Grow Heathrow (London), Runnymede (Windsor) and Rising Up (Bristol) which are protecting land from unnecessary development and at the same time, engaging in sustainable farming and off-grid living. Yorkley Court, after two years of active campaigning, legal challenges and land defence, is now facing imminent eviction from 1pm, Thursday 12 March 2015 onwards; they will not be leaving quietly, but they also need serious support if they are going to stay put.

The story of Yorkley Court is one of corruption and land-grabbing, remnant of feudalism and the 18th century enclosures. The farm was supposed to have been held in trust by Cooke Painter and Co. for the beneficiaries; instead trustees, Michael Barnard and Richard Tolson (Cooke Painter and Co.) sold the land to local billionaire Brian Bennett in a private sale, for a sum below its market value. Bennett then tried to illegally evict the occupiers using private security, which was successfully repelled. Now Bennett has won a possession order in court, the judge paying scant attention to the fact that Bennett was not yet the legal owner since the case is still awaiting a hearing with the Land Registry. Bennett plans to turn this arable land into a solar farm and housing estate, as part of his grand scheme to turn the surrounding area into a prime-real-estate-suburbia against the wishes of the local community.

How You Can Help:

Check Yorkley Court’s Call-out on: Indymedia UK and Reclaim the Fields UK

1) Get Down There: Nothing beats being there, on the ground, in-person to help against the eviction. Helping with building, keeping guard, kitchen duties, etc is invaluable as the current occupiers can be stretched at times. The presence of people on- and off-site makes the police & bailiffs wary, sending a strong message that this is not ok.

How to get there: (from London – £30 return) – cheapest way is to get Mega-bus to Gloucester (£7-8 one way), then train to Lydney (£7.60 one way). 20 minute walk up the hill to Yorkley (on Yorkley Lane). Address: Yorkley Court Community Farm, Yorkley, GL15 4TZ. [Open Street Map link]

2) Push the Story into the Media: the story of Yorkley Court has only had limited media attention so far (local papers and our media), but this land-grab by Brian Bennett needs national focus. The current residents are tied to the farm, and have little time to push this out online. The eviction, which can happen anytime after 1pm, 12 March, needs to be covered widely, so network the story. Twitter: @yorkleycourt

3) Hit Bennett & trustee Richard Tolson (Cooke Painter and Co.) Where It Hurts: Billionaire Bennett and bent trustee Tolson are responsible for the attempt to evict Yorkley Court. They have a long history of corrupt dealings behind them, and this is their latest scam. Bennett is the director of 28 companies, including Vantage Point Business Village, and Tolson is implicated in a number of breaches of justice, including perverting the course of justice in the Bristol Family Court. Hit them where it hurts, namely profit and image.

4) Donate: Defending projects like this is a black hole, swallowing up money and resources. Most of the occupiers are skint and securing the farm against bailiff intrusion. Donating money or stuff (see “wish list”) is a useful something you can do if you can’t be there.

Donate at Go Fund Me: http://www.gofundme.com/mr9arc

“Wish List” on Yorkley Court blog: https://yorkleycourt.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/community-before-profit/

yc

Contact Details:

Website: yorkleycourt.wordpress.com

Facebook: YorkleyCourtCF

Email: yorkleycourt@gmail.com

Phone Number: 07522025889

Twitter: @yorkleycourt