The Thames in Southwark with City Hall, where campaigners gathered to protest against privatisation of public spaces in London and throughout the UK [Image: Robert Harding/Rex Shutterstock].

This is an issue close to the heart of at least one Vox Political commenter – who will no doubt have something to say about it.

Our commenter reckons we are being subjected to a new round of Enclosure Acts.

For clarity, these were a series of Parliamentary Acts which enclosed open fields and common land in the country, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common. Between 1604 and 1914, over 5,200 individual Enclosure Acts were put into place, enclosing 6.8 million acres (2,800,000 ha; 28,000 km2).

Enclosures were often created so landowners could charge higher rent to the people working the land. This was at least partially responsible for peasants leaving the countryside to work in the city in industrial factories.

If it is happening now, alongside the social cleansing of the Bedroom Tax and other Conservative Parasite measures, then we are looking at a large-scale attempt to herd people on low and lower-middle incomes out of those parts of the country deemed desirable by the Tories.

Perhaps it is past time we considered ways of putting a stop to it.

The spiritual wellbeing of our cities is being eroded by the creeping corporatisation and privatisation of its public spaces, the author Will Self has warned.

Addressing the first “public space intervention” to protest against the fact that sizeable chunks of London are falling into corporate hands, Self said the trend was having a deleterious impact on the capital’s residents.

The author was one of the speakers at a growing campaign to preserve UK cities for their residents. Protesters on Saturday cited London’s Canary Wharf, Olympic Park and the Broadgate development in the City as public places now governed by the rules of the corporations that own them.

Privatised public zones are appearing throughout Britain and include Birmingham’s Brindleyplace, a significant canalside development. In Exeter, there is Princesshay, described as a “shopping destination featuring over 60 shops set in a series of interconnecting open streets and squares”. The spaces there are owned and run by property group Land Securities along with the monarch’s property portfolio, the Crown Estate. In addition, Land Securities owns a large waterside complex of shops, bars and restaurants in Portsmouth.

Source: Will Self joins London ‘mass trespass’ over privatisation of public space | UK news | The Guardian

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