Community group in legal battle to avoid eviction in Heathrow runway fight
‘Grow Heathrow’ a squatted community hub, community garden and activity centre, protesting against the third runway at Heathrow, will appear at Uxbridge County Court today (17 September 2015) in their latest legal fight against eviction by the landowners, Guernsey based Lewdown Holdings Ltd.
Grow Heathrow, which featured in the Channel 4 Documentary ‘John Richardson grows up’ was formed when a community of environmental activists took over disused land in Sipson village in 2010.
For the past five years they have been continually threatened with eviction despite being keen to buy or rent the land from Lewdown Holdings Ltd.
They built shelters and workshops and started farming on the land in the path of the originally proposed third runway at Heathrow.
They are now a vital community resource, running regular free workshops and working groups in areas such outreach, horticulture, renewable energy, community building, outreach for the homeless and mentally ill and group development through art and music.
Grow Heathrow was described by the new Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell MP as having: "lifted the morale of the whole local community in the campaign against the third runway"
Ugo Hayter, from law firm Leigh Day who is representing a member of Grow Heathrow in this legal fight, said:
“Grow Heathrow is a unique and valued place, not only to the Grow Heathrow group, but also to the local residents and all those who are anti-airport expansion and who are committed to alternative collective low-impact living.
“We hope that the Judge acknowledges our client’s and the other Defendant’s right to a home and their right to freedom of expression and protest, when is considers the owner company’s claim for possession of this previously derelict land.”
Resident Agatha Morris said: “This is an unnecessary over-development of Greenbelt land. Heathrow already hugely contributes to illegal levels of air, and noise pollution, which have massive impacts on health for people living near the airport. Heathrow are already exceeding EU air pollution limits, with the destruction of greenbelt land, or a new runway, this is likely to increase.”
Peter Madison, a resident of Grow Heathrow with his partner and two children aged 6 and 8, added “Being forced off our home would cause a huge disruption to our lives. Particularly my two sons’, who are hoping to start the new school term this September in the Sipson area.”