Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

ANTI-HEATHROW cam­paign­ers who had made their home in a dis­used mar­ket gar­den in the heart of Sip­son have been given 14 days to leave their homes.

Grow Heathrow set­tled in the green belt fields in 2010, with around 25 peo­ple liv­ing on the five acre site, owned by Guernsey-based com­pany Lew­down Hold­ings.

In a High Court hear­ing on Thurs­day June 29, Judge Marc Dight CBE granted Lew­down Hold­ings pos­ses­sion of the land and or­dered the ac­tivists to leave in 14 days.

Among the peo­ple fac­ing evic­tion are three chil­dren be­low the age of five and a teenager study­ing for GCSEs.

Over the past seven years Grow Heathrow has cre­ated a largely self-suf­fi­cient com­mu­nity on the site, grow­ing much of their own food and us­ing en­ergy from re­new­able sources.

The group has cleared ‘a hun­dred tonnes’ of rub­bish that had been fly-tipped on the site be­fore they had ar­rived.

Hayes and Har­ling­ton MP John McDon­nell said: “This in­spi­ra­tional project has not only dra­mat­i­cally im­proved this derelict site but it has lifted the mo­rale of the whole lo­cal com­mu­nity in the cam­paign against the third run­way and in plan­ning a sus­tain­able fu­ture for our area.

“We need law­ful spa­ces of protest with the val­ues of ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­nity em­bed­ded in them; Grow Heathrow would be a great loss for my con­stituency in this cru­cial cam­paign year against Heathrow Air­port’s ex­pan­sion.”

Ruth Raynor, one of the de­fen­dants, said: “We are com­pletely com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing sup­port for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Air­port ex­pan­sion will make their homes un­in­hab­it­able.

“As care­tak­ers of this land we’ve cleared 100 tonnes of rub­bish, re­turn- ing the land to an eco­log­i­cal habi­tat and com­mu­nity gar­den. We would like to con­tinue a con­ver­sa­tion with Lew­down Hold­ings out­lin­ing a com­mu­nity-based ed­u­ca­tional project.”

Lew­down Hold­ings has ap­plied for per­mis­sion to build on the land on three oc­ca­sions but has had ap­pli­ca­tions re­jected on each oc­ca­sion.

Grow Heathrow took over the derelict mar­ket gar­den, trans­form­ing it into an eco-friendly com­mune for an­tiHeathrow campign­ers; (be­low left) John McDon­nell with cam­paign­ers in 2015

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