On Wednesday June 25th members of Yorkley Court Community Farm were granted an injunction order against those involved in the illegal action against them. The group successfully resisted an eviction attempt from the land they have been dwelling and cultivating for over two years.
After considering all the evidence the judge at Gloucester and Cheltenham County Court ruled that the Defendants Richard Tolson, Brian Bennett his newly formed company ‘Yorkley Court Farm Ltd’ are forbidden from entering land at Yorkley Court Farm without the consent of one of the members of the farm. Also forbidding the defendants from interfering with any property belonging to persons residing on the farm, causing damage to the gate or for intimidation or harassment towards the residents.
This result comes after a 58 hour stand-off between the private security firms hired to carry out the illegal eviction and the residents of Yorkley Court Community Farm, mediated by a strong police presence.
Members of Yorkley Court Community Farm are exhausted from the efforts of the last 4 days, which included a physical presence on the land resisting multiple attempts at forced entry and a lengthy legal process to have the injunction heard in court. They are very happy with the results but understand that this forms only a small part of a larger case which is pending litigation in the Property Chamber (First Tier Tribunal).
The group have received extensive support from the surrounding community over the course of the stand-off. A neighbour expressed concerns saying “… fears are mounting that Brian Bennett has intentions to acquire the land at Yorkley Court for development purposes.” A spokesperson for the group said “We want to thank people from the local community for all their support. We couldn’t have achieved the result we did without their help.”
The group of ecological farmers have been improving the land at Yorkley Court Farm for over two years. The project has become a hub for those wanting to learn environmentally friendly approaches to land management, land-based skills and low impact living. One member said “We hope to inspire people to work directly with the land and learn new and traditional skills around agriculture and forestry. The Forest of Dean is lacking opportunities for sustainable locally based employment which enhance our forest rather than destroy it”. The group have constituted themselves as the ‘Yorkley Court Community Farm Land Trust’ and intend to place the land in Trust, so it may always be available for use by the people of Yorkley and the wider Forest of Dean.
The group have called for letters of support for their up and coming planning application for erection the of 15 temporary low impact eco-dwellings which will be presented to the Forest of Dean planning authority in July.