Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/669/11962
Coventry residents' victory over Academy land snatch
Charterhouse residents win first stage of their fight to defend public land, photo by Coventry Socialist Party
Campaigners and socialists in Coventry won a concession from the council in the battle to halt a private land-grab. On 27 April families protesting against public fields being handed over to a privatised Blue Coats academy school forced the cabinet to defer its decision on the land until after the local elections.
The Coventry Telegraph reported: "Angry residents ... brought a petition with 1,349 signatures - collected in just a fortnight. Campaigners insist the decision is just the beginning of the fight after [Socialist Party] councillor Dave Nellist submitted an application to have the land reclassified as Charterhouse Village Green on the morning of the meeting."
Dave Griffiths, chair of Charterhouse residents association, gave the following interview.
"The u-turn by the council represents a significant victory for our campaign. We have faced legalised robbery of our public fields through the device of the school becoming an academy.
We asked the council to secure our rights of access but the council failed to act leaving us facing the loss of the fields and public access to them. In a densely crowded terraced housing area you cannot begin to realise how valuable the fields are to us residents.
Despite the u-turn, that threat to the fields still exists. So we'll continue to build our campaign and seek support from across the city and beyond.
We now want to secure the public's right to access land that is already ours. We want the council to stop acting like powerless administrators in the face of more powerful interests.
I've heard people talking about 'people power'. If you organise, you can change things. We also will continue to work for a council that fights for its citizens.
We're cautious. Left only in the hands of lawyers there is still a major threat to our fields. But we will go on and seek to win full and ongoing access for Coventry citizens, and hopefully strike a blow for all the people."
In The Socialist 4 May 2011:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Already posted on the Socialist Party website