Diggers 2012 win partial victory

IssueOctober 2012
News by David Polden

On 13 September, a group calling itself the Diggers 2012 community won a partial victory in its struggle with the National Trust, which has been trying to evict the group from its ‘Runnymede Eco-Village’, set up in June on land near the Runnymede memorial in Surrey. The memorial commemorates the signing of the Magna Carta there in 1215, by king John.

Rather than regarding the Diggers camp as something of historical interest worth preserving, the National Trust had sought a possession order and an anti-trespass injunction on 200 acres surrounding the memorial, against three named members of the camp and ‘persons unknown’. Slough county court allowed the possession order and the injunction order against the three named people, but not against ‘persons unknown’.

The Diggers’ camp is, in any case, not on National Trust land, but continues on disused land at the closed Runnymede campus of Brunel University.

The occupation, inspired by the original Diggers who occupied common land in Surrey during the English Civil War, has continued with the building of a wattle-and-daub hut and attempts at cultivating the land, while moving between differently-owned areas to avoid evictions.

Topics: Activism