20/04/2008

Falling property and other news

Labyrinth and MinotaurThis week’s award for literalism goes to William Lyttle. Mr Lyttle, apparently not realising that ‘fall’ and ‘collapse’ are usually metaphors when applied to property, spent 40 years excavating a labyrinth of tunnels under his Hackney property. Mr Lyttle, the Daedalus of east London, was this week ordered to pay Hackney Council £300,000 for the cost of making the property safe, after they evicted him in 2006. Mr Lyttle’s excavations had previously caused a 15 foot abyss to appear in the pavement outside the house. Mr Lyttle remains subject to an injunction to keep him from his subterranean labours.

The Shelter strike is back on, sadly. Shelter staff are due to strike on Thursday 24 April and Friday 25 April. Details here (hat-tip to Housed for the link). A Shelter staffer has left a comment on this blog about developments.

In linked news, concerning as it does LSC funding for not-for-profits, the Mary Ward pro-bono unit is facing closure. The pro-bono unit was supported by the main LSC-funded law centre, but the effect of the fixed fee scheme has been to slash the funding of the Law Centre, so there is no spare cash. Tellingly,

the director told volunteers that because the legal aid caseworkers are working with reduced funds, the centre is having to prioritise simple, short matters and turn away people with complex legal problems.

This is exactly what everyone warned would happen with the funding changes. Sadly, this won’t be the last story of this kind.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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