Vow to fight as green belt threat re­turns

Warn­ing comes as land at Home Farm and Hayes Park put up for sale

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

PRE­CIOUS green belt land in Hayes that was saved from de­vel­op­ers five years ago is un­der threat again, an MP warned last week.

Hayes & Har­ling­ton MP, John McDon­nell, con­vened a meet­ing at Charville Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Tues­day last week which was at­tended by 200 con­cerned res­i­dents.

At the meet­ing the Labour MP warned that Home Farm and land at Hayes Park, are on the mar­ket for £5.45mil­lion or could be sold in smaller lots. Hilling­don Coun­cil backed a pre­vi­ous cam­paign in 2011 to pre­vent the site be­ing de­vel­oped, but Mr McDon­nell ad­mit­ted “that’s not a given this time round”.

He added: “This is the sec­ond time in a decade we have been faced with a threat to our lo­cal park­lands and green belt. We are de­ter­mined to pro­tect our lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment and not al­low any more green belt land to be cov­ered in con­crete.”

Mr McDon­nell, who or­gan­ised the pre­vi­ous cam­paign, has brought to­gether a team of vol­un­teers to help fight this time around. He said: “We are call­ing upon the coun­cil to help us by pre­par­ing a de­tailed plan­ning brief for the site in con­sul­ta­tion with the lo­cal com­mu­nity so that we max­imise the pro­tec­tion of the site. Our lo­cal coun­cil­lor Beu­lah East was at the meet­ing and joined our cam­paign com­mit­tee to fight to pro­tect our lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment.”

The land stretches over 140 acres and is over­looked in part by res­i­dents of Hayes End Road.

Caro­line Don­nelly, who co-runs the Friends of Hayes End Face­book group, said: “The whole com­mu­nity is con­cerned about the con­se­quences of the site be­ing sold off, and fall­ing into the hands of de­vel­op­ers who are more con­cerned about mak­ing a profit than the lo­cal area and los­ing this lovely piece of green space. It was truly heart­en­ing to see so many peo­ple voice their sup­port for fight­ing any at­tempt to de­velop the site. We’ve fought off sim­i­lar at­tempts be­fore, and now it’s time to show them what we – as a com­mu­nity – are made of once again.”

The land, which is on the mar­ket with Bid­wells prop­erty con­sul­tants, is ad­ver­tised as “of­fer­ing residential, de­vel­op­ment, in­vest­ment, eques­trian and other leisure and amenity pos­si­bil­i­ties, sub­ject to the usual con­sents”.

Ray Pud­di­foot, leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil, gave some as­sur­ance to res­i­dents that there are no plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions “as far as he is aware”.

He said: “One of the rea­sons that I came into pol­i­tics was be­cause at the time parks and open spa­ces across Hilling­don were un­der threat of los­ing their green belt sta­tus for use as hous­ing which was the pol­icy of the ad­min­is­tra­tion in Hilling­don at the time.”

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