Owning land

Dave Wetzel of the Labour Land Campaign alerts me to an article by Peter Snow on the murky details around who owns UK land (in the print edition, this is directly below an interview with Nicholas van Hoogstraten ironically enough). This is also the subject of a BBC2 programme tomorrow (9pm).

Apparently all this draws heavily from Kevin Cahill’s book Who Owns Britain? (mental note to self: this has come down in price hugely – didn’t know they did a paperback. Purchase next time you have any money), but has been largely uncredited.

There is a real debate to be had in this country about how conservation policies have effectively kept land out of the hands of the masses, leading to a huge increase in property prices and what looks like a form of neo-feudalism emerging. Hopefully, this will help bring that debate into the public arena. On the other hand, Mark Thomas was shouting about all this in the 90s and didn’t get anywhere.


  1. By the way, I have yet to read a media story about Nicholas Van Hoogstraten which is 100% accurate.

    The “Times” profile is no exception.

    Van Hoogstraten was brought up in Rustington, not Shoreham. And he left school at 15, not 16 (his father took him away to sea to keep him out of trouble).

    I would dispute the description of the “Courtlands Hotel”, Hove, as “shabby”. In fact, it is so up-market that you have to book to eat in the restaurant, “Nick’s Place”. Also, Van Hoogstraten is not, and never has been, a “lavish” eater.

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