News that Hillingdon Council had refused permission for airport lobby group, Back Heathrow, to hold a fun day in a council-owned school had you furiously corresponding this week. Here is a selection from our mail bag
I AM pleased to report that Back Heathrow’s ‘Family Fun Day’, due to be held on September 6, has been cancelled.
Trust them to come up with an event to ‘celebrate’ the misery a third runway would bring to thousands of families who might end up under its flightpath.
How many children would have their education spoiled by planes constantly flying over their schools, their health affected by the air pollution caused by the vast increase in traffic and the impact of early morning flights?
I’m also sure Heathrow villagers would not have appreciated an event celebrating the destruction of their communities.
Hillingdon Council is to be congratulated in stopping this nasty event and in once again standing up for its residents against the threat of Heathrow expansion.
DAVE ROBINS Wimpole Road, West Drayton
WHAT the blazes is going on? Our elected councillors have decided that a family day for supporters of Heathrow should be denied the use of council premises.
What has happened to local democracy?
We didn’t vote in this council to follow their own agenda. They are there to represent all residents of the borough, a great many of whom rely for their livelihood on the airport or its satellite enterprises.
Councillors should remember that opponents of the borough’s policies also pay rates.
Instead of throttling opposition, they should allow the time-honoured freedom of all individuals to express their views.
I AM writing on behalf of a number of local residents, friends and families to express distaste at the recent action of Hillingdon Council.
There will be a number of disappointed children as a result.
It seems a little malicious and unfair as apparently opposition groups seem to be allowed funding and venues.
Back Heathrow is a locally based grassroots organisation with a wide membership from various areas, businesses and residents who support the evolution of Heathrow in the 21st century.
It seems grossly unfair that a fun day for families should be treated in such a dictatorial manner.
Many residents owe their employment directly or indirectly to Heathrow as many of the previous large employers have closed or resited. The majority of residents would have known of the airport’s presence when moving to this area and for many it was the main reason to locate here.
The airport not only provides job security but it is a national asset which, if neglected, will damage future investment in the UK.
I refrain from commenting on the Boris-Hillingdon co-operative, as the disadvantages would cover several columns.
BACK HEATHROW MEMBER Name and address supplied
I HAVE just been made aware of a family fun day that was being organised by Back Heathrow at Minet School, in Hayes.
The event was not advertised in Harmondsworth, the village that will be demolished for the runway if it is approved. In July, the villages, including our local schools, Heathrow and Harmondsworth, came together to remember the men who left the area to fight in WWI, including many from Heathrow.
I can only commend Hillingdon Council for stepping in and stopping the event.
I appreciate school budgets are stretched but I question the judgment of the governors of Minet School in considering this organisation appropriate to use their premises for the Back Heathrow campaign, only to swell their school fund.
I would have thought that schools should be in the business of setting standards and money is not the be all and end all. This sets a dangerous precedent, where any school could be used for propaganda purposes.
Would the governors of Minet School have considered a family fun day to support fracking on Minet Country Park?
VERONICA RUMSEY Candover Close, Harmondsworth
I FEEL I must write to inform you of my frustration at the underhand actions of Hillingdon Council.
A great deal of effort and planning has gone in to this event to show appreciation to the supporters of this campaign.
The council sent a letter to the primary school where the event was to take place, ordering them to cancel it. The reason?
“The council considers that it is inappropriate for school premises in its ownership to be used to promote events by third parties that are linked to the future of Heathrow Airport.”
How can this be right when the silent majority of thousands rely on Heathrow for their jobs, and the many freight companies would not survive if Heathrow were to close.
This is the message that needs to get out there. It is not just a case of the third runway but the repercussions if Heathrow has to close.
Hillingdon Council has effectively put a gagging order on a campaign in the borough by ordering the cancellation of this event and I sincerely hope it is not able to put the same pressure on your paper to prevent you from publishing the facts.
We cannot sit back and do nothing if we want Heathrow to continue to be a world-leading airport.
If Boris gets his way and closes Heathrow, it will affect everybody and completely devastate the surrounding area.
VAL CLARK Ferndale Road, Ashford
BACK Heathrow are either oblivious or totally indifferent to the suffering of those most affected by the proposal for a third and fourth runway at Heathrow.
Their insensitive plans for a ‘fun day’, when those facing eviction or endless misery can find little to smile about, is beyond belief.
Amazingly, now it is Back Heathrow that are disgruntled since their diabolical promotional event has been cancelled.
Do they think at all about people like Mrs A? She is in her eighties, she’s worked hard all of her life and she deserves a rest. She doesn’t want compensation for eviction, she just wants to live her retirement years in peace, in her own home with her own memories and the support of her friends around her.
Mrs A is not alone; there are many others who will need forcibly ejecting. I have faith that the British public and any serving government will not stomach such cruelty; not all of them put profit before people.
The fun day kids will be oblivious to the plight of worried residents because their parents won’t have told them the consequences of a third runway. Mrs A deserves her wishes, they should be her right.
One thing is certain; the Back Heathrow fun day held no promise of fun for Mrs A or those in a similar position.
NEIL KEVEREN High Street, Harmondsworth
BACK Heathrow are unhappy that Hillingdon Council stopped a school being used for a family fun day.
I would ask why Back Heathrow thought a school could be an appropriate location to site their event in the first place. In recent years, research has shown that schools exposed to aircraft noise are not healthy environments because experiencing elevated levels of aircraft and road traffic noise increase stress in children, reducing their quality of life and is linked to impairment of reading and memory skills.
So if Back Heathrow achieve their campaign objectives, children under flightpaths will have their education ruined by noise pollution. This would mean our children will be unemployable in later life when they cannot attain the standards required in exams
Two months ago, Sir Howard Davies, Airports Commission chairman, visited Beavers Community Primary School in Hounslow when the headteacher drew his attention to the plight of her pupils, some of whom not only have to endure aircraft noise but the hardship of living in a garage or shed owing to the high demand for housing in the area.
Should a third runway be built, around 1,000 families will be made homeless by destruction of properties in Longford, Harmondsworth and Sipson. Where will these people live? Will they be destined to ‘beds in sheds’ if required to remain close to their jobs and friends?
We live in a community which wants a good education for their children so the next generation can aspire to a career of their choice and live in a sustainable home, not the vision Back Heathrow has for the future.
JANE TAYLOR Chairman, Harmondsworth and Sipson
Residents’ Association Russell Gardens, Sipson
I WAS horrified to learn that Hillingdon Council has taken the political decision to order a school to disallow a summer fete, which would have brought funds into the school as well as providing some summer entertainment for local people.
Those who support the massive income that is generated by the largest airline hub in Europe – which incidentally must also provide welcome funds to the council via rates and rents – cannot understand the thinking behind what seems to be an arbitrary, knee-jerk decision by someone.
By alienating many who might not have cared one way or the other, as well as all those immediately affected who earn their living directly or indirectly through Heathrow, they seem to have shot themselves in the foot.
Someone needs a rethink.
MARY CHENNELL Perimeade Road, Perivale