Our Common Ground statement

Download this as a document to print here – Our Common Ground – short version

Our Common Ground

Land is an essential resource that our society, culture and economy depend upon. Land is the main uniting factor underpinning most of our struggles for social and environmental justice, whether for genuinely affordable housing or food growing, for preserving nature or community space.

Land can be an emotional subject and many can feel excluded from debates about how to reform an unjust system. We must ensure that this is an inclusive movement that seeks to ensure that all voices are valued.

The purpose of building Our Common Ground is to establish a shared set of aspirations for our diverse and inclusive modern land reform movement. The routes that we take towards our shared goals should be many and varied allowing us to explore the huge variety of ways we can achieve positive change.

Our aspirations:

1 – Distributed Ownership and Control

Poverty and many of society’s other problems come from our land not being shared fairly. We want our country to belong to all the people who live here and for them to have real control over the land.

2– Long Term Stewardship, Not Short Term Profit

Land should be managed for the benefit all humans and nature, not be used just to make a profit.

3 –Increases in Land Value should be Given to Society

Land has greater importance than just money, but the value of land should be shared by everyone.

4 – Proactive Community-centred Planning

We want to work together and have the power to make things better.

5 – Transparency

We want to know the facts about land so we can see how to make things better.


Download this as a document to print here – Our Common Ground – long

Our Common Ground

Land is a fundamental and essential resource that our society, culture and economy depend upon. Like water, it is the fundamental material of our planet and without it we would not exist. Land is the main uniting factor underpinning most of our struggles for social and environmental justice, whether for genuinely affordable housing or food growing, for preserving nature or community and public space.

From enabling the development of vital infrastructure, to housing and agriculture, to providing public space for parks and burial grounds – we all rely on the use of land in some way to fulfil our basic needs and live good lives. Land is a common asset and its joint management should be in the long term interests of all.

Land can be an emotional subject and many can feel excluded from debates about how to reform an unjust system. We must ensure that this is an inclusive movement that seeks to ensure that all voices are valued. Embracing our diversity will make us stronger and more resilient.

At the local and national level we want to draw attention to a prevailing system of land use and ownership that allows the exploitation of land for financial speculation or production that damages the ecosystem.

At an international level, the land rights of people and communities are still being threatened and stolen on a large scale, and vital ecosystems destroyed. We must acknowledge the UK’s part in exporting a land system that leads to the displacement of people from the land and the destruction of nature.

The purpose of building Our Common Ground is to establish a shared set of aspirations for our modern land reform movement. The routes that we take towards our shared goals should be many and varied allowing us to explore the huge variety of ways we can achieve positive change.

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Our aspirations:

1 – Distributed Ownership and Control

Although a majority of us have a small stake in the 5% of UK land upon which our housing is built, the majority of land (70%) in the UK is owned by just 0.6% of the population. Policies and practices should encourage a more equitable distribution of land rights and ownership. People should have more control over how land is used around them – ensuring that ALL affected voices get heard when decisions about land are made.

2– Long Term Stewardship, Not Short Term Profit

The price of land has increased dramatically over time, leading to farmland being a better investment than gold and residential land being increasingly seen as a pension pot, rainy day fund, or investment vehicle. Land should not be a speculative financial commodity – it is a common good that should be managed in the best interests of society.

3 –Increases in Land Value should be Given to Society

It is the decisions and hard work of society, such as building transport infrastructure, regenerating communities or changing the permitted land use, that lead to changes in land values. The UK’s current model allows the increase in the value of land to be retained as profits by its owner rather than returning to society. This is further exacerbated by the land tax and subsidy system that favours ownership. More of the increase in the value of land should be captured by society whilst striving for a system with lower and more stable land values.

4 – Proactive Community-centred Planning

A good planning system should be based on the participation of everyone in the decisions that affect their lives. Decisions about how land is distributed and made accessible should be based on the key principles of social equity, inclusion and sustainability.

5 – Transparency

Access to information is crucial to the achievement of land reform. Information on ownership, land purchase options, subsidies, tax breaks, common land, public space etc. should be openly and easily accessible to everyone.