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UK Family Faces Jail Or Eviction From Farm For Living ‘Off The Grid’

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posted on Aug, 28 2011 @ 11:49 PM

The Mason family purchased an abandoned orchard and moved out of public housing. Their self-sustaining lifestyle has baffled local authorities however, who have ordered them to give up their property or face jail time.

The Masons have transformed what they described as a derelict four-acre plot into a haven of self-sufficiency boasting a 400 sq m allotment, a polytunnel and greenhouses to grow fruit and vegetables, chickens for egg production and an orchard they have regenerated by planting around 14 new apple trees of various species. Dinah was bequeathed money from the sudden death of her aunt and £47,000 was spent on the land to create the smallholding where wood burners and solar panels provide their energy needs.

Lets start here. Shouldn't this kind of living be embraced and encouraged by govts.? Sounds like true green living to me. Don't we want people to start using solar panels, being self reliant and planting trees?

They say they currently receive no state hand-outs but by giving up their “off grid” way of life, they fear they will end up in a council house, claiming housing and council tax benefits, as well as seeking grants to help pay for high utility bills.

Isn't this also something that should be encouraged? Taking nothing from the government because you support yourself is admirable. Forcing people into government housing is not the way to save money.

And here is the reason they are being kicked out:

John Clarke, planning enforcement officer, said: “To get planning permission to move onto agricultural land, you have to prove first there is a need for someone to live there, for example, to tend livestock and look after crops, and second, that the enterprise can provide living income for at least one worker.

Well, it sounds like they DO HAVE crops and people will need to tend to them. It's a freaking orchard. Sounds like the enterprise is essentially producing enough income for 2 workers and their children. Is the govt. butthurt that these folks aren't paying taxes? Guarantee it. Is this appropriate? Hell no.


edit on 28-8-2011 by Domo1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 12:04 AM

Originally posted by Domo1
UK Family Faces Jail Or Eviction From Farm For Living ‘Off The Grid’

I know you didnt write it, but the thread title is completely misleading.
The family is being evicted because of dumb planning rules that declare an area of land non-residential, and has NOTHING to do with whether they are living "off the grid" or not.

Edit -
A more recent article from that same paper has the planning officer saying...

"Frankly, there are no exceptional circumstances in this case. "This is just one of at least 20 such cases we receive each year in this area of people buying or renting a small area of open countryside to try to establish a new residence on the land.


Maybe they just have that rule in place to stop pikeys.

edit on 29-8-2011 by alfa1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 12:13 AM
reply to post by alfa1

Damn Pikeys.

Thanks for the extra info. I suppose I was a bit reactionary over this whole thing. It really is too bad they can't do something about the zoning laws. Sure nice to see people trying to go it alone.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 04:50 AM
Personally I admire what they are doing and what they are trying to achieve. But I wouldn't want this sort of thing appearing in fields and open spaces around me.

Councils have made spaces available for travelling people, so perhaps more land could be set aside for this kind of thing. Trouble is a soon as the planning consent for land is changed the value shoots up, so these kind of folk wouldn't be able to buy it anyway.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 05:05 AM
Also if they are making a living off this land then it would be classed as a buisness and would have to be registered for tax et.. Sounds to me like they are simply growing what they need to live off and therefore they are not providing an income(in the goverments eyes).

It is a shame but they are being given the chance to do the minmum to keep the goverment of their back. I would find local shops and try and sell some of my produce to warrant that 1 income. Like someone else said it's a orchard, not like they don't have the space.

Good post OP. Thanks

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 05:08 AM
reply to post by fatpastyhead

I'm wondering how many more trees they could put in. I would think they could grow enough fruit to sell at the local market etc. Good idea, hope they can manage that.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 05:09 AM
This is just another example of total crap being showered on good people.

Council, forget your petty regulations.

Leave these people there to get on with their brilliant lifestyle.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 05:19 PM
reply to post by catwhoknowsplusone

This is just another example of total crap being showered on good people.

My feelings exactly. If anything give them a permit and let them show others how to use alternative energy sources etc... Hell they could probably make money giving tours.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 05:49 PM
As George Carlin stated : We do not own anything, for we are slaves:

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 06:02 PM

Originally posted by Domo1
reply to post by catwhoknowsplusone

This is just another example of total crap being showered on good people.

My feelings exactly. If anything give them a permit and let them show others how to use alternative energy sources etc... Hell they could probably make money giving tours.

And then what? It sets precedent so that all future cases like this will have a legal counter-argument, leaving the planning laws in dissarray. Before you know it, people will be buying up farmland and erecting whatever they please, ruining green betls, villages, area's of natural beauty etc. Planning laws are in place for a reason and apply to everybody.

I don't have a problem with what they're doing however, but everyone has to follow the law.

Had they gone down the proper planning routes, they could live their lifestyle and not have the Council on their back. it would appear they didn't folow planning regulations, built what they liked without permission or regards to the Law and are now paying the price.

Gary Neville (Pro footballer) also fell foul of this, I believe (either him or his brother). He bought some land, built some "eco-housing" yet failed to get the proper planning permission. He has to now rip the houses down or face significant sanctions.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 06:41 PM
Its a planning issue it sounds like they are living 'off' their land but are trying also to live 'on' it at the same time.

Obviously its not in the plan to let people do that sort of thing, bypassing tesco and the taxman and the grid and the water company and the rest, on the way.

Doing what they are doing is actually one of the most subversive things you can do - of couse they wont get away with it without a fight.

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 06:56 PM
"Produce is also sold to other residents in the community and Dinah's income from her job as a community care worker provides clothes and other necessities which they cannot grow themselves."
"Mr Mason also explained the land is surrounded by homes and added: "The other point which amazes me is how the council allows such a monstrosity as the industrial estate which is a stone's throw away from many properties, including my son's."


See!? I can do it too

Are you seriously hearing yourselves?
These people want to live clean and green, which most governments are pretending they want to too, but never put their money where their mouths are, unless you do first.
This is absolutely ludicrous!
These people, (if and when their family leaves the block) everything they've made to live in is not permanent, can be 'composted' down, I believe the article says, or removed, like you would a dilapidated house before reconstruction, if you want to.
Our country is one of the most heavily regulated on the planet imo and after working in the building industry and being exposed to local and state offices and their laws, it has become unimaginably complicated for the average person. Top that off with a "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude laced with a lack of respect for the land we walk on and here we are today.
And just because a lifestyle has been drilled into your heads doesn't mean that free thinkers or land loving tree huggers, shouldn't have a fair whack at it too, or that they are wrong. If they are off the grid, who do they affect really?
If more people took responsibility for their lives, even in the minutest way, our planet would be a different picture altogether.
rant over

I saw a doco on the fellow (who's link I'll post below) went to one of the countries which had been affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami, and places there hadn't even started to re-build yet. These people were hopelessly waiting for someone to tell them how to proceed. Food is a problem and water too, geez! survival is a problem.
This guy goes in and shows them how to build sustaining houses out of their own rubbish, conveniently left where it landed, check it out...

Where he's from originally, I believe New Mexico, he's been fighting (on and off for years) to build a self sufficient, off the grid,housing project in some of the most arid areas of America (and elsewhere too).
What really is the problem?
Ask the question? Dare them to admit that you really are their puppets and must pay for the privilege.

If there ever IS a crisis, would you want these woman's kids begging for food somewhere in a line with your kids too?

Obviously my rant was not over...sorry

posted on Aug, 29 2011 @ 07:09 PM
reply to post by AussieAmandaC

Everyones economy in the toilet all the countries are bankrupt and can not afford to pay for everything. This family is being self sufficient so they survive the Really Bad economic diaster. They are suppose to go into town so their food supply can be shut off, their utilities shut off and eat mud for food like they are doing in Haiti at the moment. Does anyone remember all the money given to that country and wonder where it went. Do any of you hear yourself backing the government in their crazy rules at a time when it will soon be everyone for themselves. Are you going to be so eager to obey their zoning laws when they come for your ability to survive? Live in your land of OZ your circumstances and empty bellies will wake you up to reality soon enough.

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