Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Free walking tour to explore land rights and the housing crisis in Sheffield

Organised by Land Justice UK, this Saturday's event will look at the role developers, landlords and large corporations play in keeping the city's land in the hands of the super-rich.


A previous Land Justice UK tour in London.

Land Justice UK.

A free walking tour this Saturday will explore the land and housing crisis in Sheffield, as increasing numbers of city residents face eviction or struggle to pay their rent.

'The Landlord's Tricks: A tour of Sheffield's land & housing crisis' is organised by Land Justice UK, and will take in offshore tax havens, office blocks that have been cheaply converted into housing and the endless new blocks of high-rise student accommodation.

"Whether you're talking about the housing crisis, our obesity and general health crisis, our broken food system, biodiversity collapse or climate change – many of these big issues are fundamentally about land rights," organiser Robin Grey told Now Then.

"By starting in a place which we all know, the centre of our city, we can start to unpack what the key issues are and to understand how they affect us and manifest in our day-to-day surroundings."

The family-friendly tour will start at 1pm by the Chartist Memorial in the Peace Gardens, and last until 3pm.

A recent investigation by Now Then found that the ownership of huge areas of land in Sheffield city centre is completely unknown to the public.

Around 26% of the city belongs to the council (making it one of the biggest landowning councils in the country), while other plots are owned by companies registered in Luxembourg, Jersey and the British Virgin Islands – all well-known tax havens.

As well as landlords and property developers, the tour will also look at the role the public sector and the judiciary play in reinforcing unequal land ownership.

"We're going to swing by the courthouse to consider the criminalisation of trespass and squatting, and then find out what incentivises property speculators to keep building so many large blocks of student accommodation despite Sheffield already being a saturated market," said Grey.

Councillors have raised concerns about the standard of student accommodation in Sheffield, with one saying that small room sizes were "not acceptable" for residents' wellbeing.

The tour, which will follow an accessible route, will also feature music from Lucy Huzzard, Hazel Thompson and Grey himself, who is a member of land rights folk group Three Acres And A Cow.

"The walk around the town centre will be interspersed with folk songs both old and new," he said. "These will help bring to life some of the historic struggles against our oppression."

by Sam Gregory (he/him)
Filed under: 

More Democracy & Activism

More Democracy & Activism