Hope for Heathrow defeat
Open day highlights threat to ancient village
HARMONDSWORTH villagers staged an open day to show what would be destroyed if a third runway at Heathrow goes ahead.
Residents of the ancient village were joined by prospective parliamentary candidates for Hayes & Harlington on Sunday April 12 in an event organised by Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) and Friends of the Great Barn.
John McDonnell, Labour candidate for Hayes & Harlington, said: “I am confident that we can defeat the threat of a third runway once again and once and for all.
“The Harmondsworth open day demonstrated what a beautiful village would be lost if the third
The Uxbridge Gazette Series runway went ahead.”
Green candidate Alick Munro added: “As a GP with patients in Harlington I am daily made aware of the effects of air pollution. About one in three of my patients asks for help to cope with their cough, even although the prevalence of smoking in the area is low. Nitric oxide and small particle pollution from traffic fumes are well known to make runny noses and itchy eyes worse and aggravate the results of lung function tests.”
UKIP’s Cliff Dixon said the residents of Hillingdon “overwhelmingly rejected” the project in a referendum and said it was time for the government and Heathrow to listen to the people.
A focus of the event was the re-opening of the 15th Century Great Barn for the first time since the completion of major repairs by English Heritage.
Poet Sir John Betjeman, who spoke to visitors at the event, described the barn as “the cathedral of Middlesex”, which was saved from developers by the intervention of a group of determined villagers.
Neil Keveren, chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, (SHE) said: “This is a chance for us to show to the world that we are utterly determined to fight for our homes and our community. We will not be going anywhere else.”
The event included the unveiling of a giant mural on Cambridge Close, especially created for the open day, to illustrate the proposed airport boundary cutting through the village.
Mr Keveren added: “We are thankful for the backing we have received from Hillingdon Council and from Harts, the community arts project.”
As well as displaying the mural, SHE and HARTS set up a treeplanting project in the Heathrow Villages, with the first tree planted in Harmondsworth Recreation Ground on the day.
Second World War RAF veteran Tommy Thomas, 93, who is one of the oldest residents of the village, was chosen to plant the oak tree.
As well as the oak, nine new trees now form a triangular grove just south of Harmondsworth primary school.
Airports Commission has been examining potential sites for new runways in the South East and is expected to publish its final report in June.
SHE hopes to take the canvas on its folding frame to various locations before the Davies Commission announces its recommendation.
n DETERMINED: Harmondsworth villagers stage a Stop Heathrow Expansion event. Above, Tommy Thomas plants an oak tree Photos by Jonathan Goldberg