Runnymede Eco-Village is situated in the disused woodland of the ex-Brunel university Runnymede Campus owned by the private property developer: Orchid Runnymede.
We: a group of 15 people, have been living on the Runnymede Campus since June 15th. The 65 acre campus lies in the Green Belt (although it is designated as a major development site) but since 2007 has lain largely unused.
Orchid Runnymede has been granted planning permission to build ‘luxury homes’, elderly care units and student accommodation on the site. This plan has attracted concern and criticism from local residents (see this local news article from last year)
The area of woodland where we are living has no management plan and is heavily populated by Sycamore and Ash trees. In places it has been fly-tipped with fridges and other items. Since our arrival we have established the Runnymede Eco-Village community here. We’ve built a long house and other low impact structures made from the renewable timber provided by the Sycamore trees.
We’ve also dug a well (where we draw water from), setup solar panels for producing electricity and started to plant crops, and fruit trees.
We have been evicted from the Runnymede Campus (by bailiffs paid for by Orchid Runnymede) three times . The last eviction took place on July 12th (watch a video of the eviction here). Each time we have been evicted we have been forcibly displaced along with our belongings onto National Trust land at Cooper’s Hill Woods (next to the Runnymede Campus).
After each eviction, we have returned back onto the Runnymede Campus.
The development of the Runnymede Campus appears to have stalled (something reported by local residents). Whilst the site remains in a state of disuse, we intend to carry on living here as a community in a way that can be sustained indefinitely within the ecologic.al capacity of this beautiful woodland environment.
Here is our Declaration from the dispossessed.
We: peaceful people, declare our intention to go and cultivate the disused land of this island; to build dwellings and live together in common by the sweat of our brows.
We have one call: every person in this country and the world should have the right to live on the disused land, to grow food and to build a shelter and live together in community. This right should apply whether you have money or not. We say that no country can be considered free, until this right is available to all.
With our current system in crisis we need a radically different way of growing our communities. We call on the government and all landowners to let those who are willing, make good use of the disused land. Land that is currently held from us by force. By our actions, we seek to show how we can live without destroying the planet or ourselves. Free from the yoke of debt and rent, our labors can be directed to the benefit of all.
Though we may be oppressed for our actions, we will strive to remain peaceful. But we are committed to our cause and will not cease from our efforts until we have achieved our goal.
- Runnymede Eco Villagers emulate Diggers of 1649 (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)
- Freedom Under Law at Runnymede? | People’s Assemblies Network (allthingsreform.org)
- Save Can Piella.. (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)
- Bankia occupied after Debt Suicides (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)