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St John’s Wood girl ‘sells’ Hampstead Heath

11:00 04 January 2013

Hampstead Heath was one of many famous landmarks across the country

Hampstead Heath was one of many famous landmarks across the country 'sold' as part of Oxfams land grabs campaign. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton

For centuries the idyllic open space on offer at Hampstead Heath has been enjoyed by thousands but all that looked set to change last month with shocking news of the Heath’s sale.

Walkers and runners on the Heath were aghast to discover news of the sale from 17-year-old Holly Carter on December 9 who quickly reassured them it was, in fact, just a prank.

The teenager, of Circus Road, St John’s Wood, was one of many volunteers around the UK taking part in stunts to raise awareness of Oxfam’s land grabs campaign.

Spoof sales of famous landmarks across the country took place during a weekend of action organised by Oxfam to support its campaign to stop unfair land deals that force families off their land and push them further into poverty.

Holly said: “Grabbing Hampstead Heath not only educated me about landgrabbing, but it also made me realize how attached people are to the land they love and how cruel it is to take it away.

“It was great to be part of a wider movement all driving for change.”

Although Hampstead Heath was soon returned to its rightful owners, the issue of land grabs is a reality in many places around the world, with an area the size of London bought in developing countries every six days.

The World Bank funds many big land deals and influences how land is bought and sold.

Oxfam is calling on the World Bank to freeze its investment in land while it sets a fair standard for others to follow.

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