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Pathfinder hits the buffer

Keith Parkins | 17.10.2006 17:11 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles | Liverpool

Thanks to the courageous and determined efforts of a handful of local campaigners in Liverpool, the neo-Labour Pathfinder project appears to have been derailed.

'Pathfinder is essentially thuggery and theft as well as an architectural and environmental crime.' -- Private Eye, 13-26 October 2006

Pathfinder operates in the North of England. Tens of thousands of good quality homes are being destroyed in the name of regeneration. It would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly to renovate the existing homes, but that would not provide a development opportunity for developers.

We went though the same disastrous exercise in the 1960s, entire communities destroyed for the benefit of developers and their friends on the take in local government.

Local Member of Parliament Jane Kennedy described what is happening in Liverpool as 'social cleansing'. For her honesty she lost her government job as health minister.

If you are tenant within the affected areas, you are offered accommodation on a slum estate. If you refuse, you are deemed 'voluntarily homeless'.

If you are a homeowner, you are offered a derisory sum for your property. If you refuse to play ball, you are served with a Compulsory Purchase Order.

This was the situation until Liverpool Edge Lane resident Elizabeth Pascoe threw a spanner in the works. In the days leading up to the London Social Forum holding a session on housing and land rights, Elizabeth Pascoe went to the High Court in London and challenged the CPO that had been served on her on the grounds that her Human Rights had been breached, and she won.

No sooner had she won than the corrupt local council started a smear campaign that she had only won on a 'technicality' and that it would soon be overturned. That if homeowners did not accept what was on the table now, their generous offers would be withdrawn, they would not be rehoused, that their homes would eventually be flattened.

Since when has breach of human rights been a technicality!

To help soften up those who refuse to play ball, local residents claim criminal families are being moved into the area.

Elizabeth Pascoe has been attacked and threatened in her own home, had her car vandalised. Mike Lane, another Liverpool campaigner against Pathfinder has had his car fire-bombed, received death threats and been forced to move to a new home.

Ken Walker, former leader of Middlesborough Council has been kicked out of the Labour Party for daring to oppose Pathfinder. [see Private Eye 1162]

One of the objectives of Pathfinder is to push up land values which benefits landowners and developers, not those who cannot afford even a so-called 'affordable' home.

Work by the Joseph Rowntree Trust has shown that renewal schemes cause planning blight. This certainly has been the case with Farnborough town centre and Queen's Market at Upton Park in East London.

Eight years ago KPI (a Kuwaiti-funded St Modwen front company) bought Farnborough town centre. They then, with the collusion of the local council the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor (as it is known locally), trashed the town. The town was not in need of regeneration before KPI moved in, now it is a wasteland. The few remaining retailers have seen their business collapse.

Queen's Market is a thriving street market. St Modwen, with the help of the local mayor, wish to destroy the market and replace with a superstore. Stallholders now face an uncertain future. The store was to have been Asda, but having driven them out of town, local people and stallholders now wish to drive St Modwen out of town. A study by the New Economics Foundation has shown the market to be an asset to the local economy.

Note: DVD by Mike Lane will be available at this weekend's Anarchist Bookfair.


Fred Harrison, Boom Bust: House Prices, Banking and the Depression of 2010, Shepheard-Walwyn, 2005

Mike Lane, The Regeneration Game, 2006 {DVD}

Markets create twice as many jobs as supermarkets and food is half the price, New Economics Foundation, 22 May 2006

Nooks and Corners, Private Eye, 13-26 October 2006

Keith Parkins, pathfinder schemes, Indymedia UK, 14 February 2005

Keith Parkins, Pathfinder schemes – a path to corruption?, Indymedia UK, 14 March 2005

Keith Parkins, Queens Market, Indymedia UK, 11 April 2005

Keith Parkins, Tragedy of Firgrove Court, Indymedia UK, 30 January 2006

Keith Parkins, Public Inquiry into road closures in Farnborough town centre, Indymedia UK, 30 January 2006

Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Liverpool resident halts Pathfinder programme, Indymedia UK, 27 September 2006

Keith Parkins, London Social Forum – housing and land rights conference, Indymedia UK, 2 October 2006

People's Market or Supermarket, The Land, Summer 2006

St Modwen: By Appointment to the Town Cloning Department, The Land, Summer 2006

Keith Parkins


Display the following 2 comments

  1. Queen's Market demo — Keith
  2. Injunction to Halt Demolitions — Cllr Steve Radford