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Another legal challenge

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: legal | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Backlands

In the four and a half years since Grow Heathrow project started it has significantly grown in size and scope. The original abandoned plant nursery site where the project began is right next to another piece of derelict Green Belt land, that contains the ruins of several more glasshouse frames.

In the spirit of the original occupation, these have been gradually occupied and incorporated into Grow Heathrow, providing additional venues for activities, including the straw bale house that was built with the help of many willing volunteers and has been a prominent feature of the project since it was finished.

The occupiers of the Grow Heathrow site have been fighting a legal battle to retain the use of the land that the project is situated on, but that has so far been limited to the boundaries of the original site. The land bordering this, known in our community as the “Backlands”, is owned seperately by Lewdown Holdings Limited, a faceless company registered in Guernsey. After years of peaceful occupation, they have now decided to begin legal proceedings to remove anyone associated with Grow Heathrow from their land.

The land that includes the Backlands is a large area at the northern entrance to Sipson village that was formerly used for commercial agriculture. The derelict ruins of a large complex of pre-war glasshouses are evidence of what used to be a thriving fruit-growing business. It’s boundary includes the Sipson Garden Centre, that closed down in 2011 after a 75 per cent decline in trade over ten years, due to local residents’ unwillingness to invest in home improvements as the future of their properties remained uncertain. After three years of abandonment, the Sipson Garden Centre building is now in a very shabby state. Unopposed fly tipping at the rear of the site is further evidence of neglect.

Photo by Jonathan Goldberg

Photo by Jonathan Goldberg

The landowners have shown absolutely no interest in maintaining the land for agricultural use, and have had a planning application to develop the site (with housing, an industrial centre and a hotel) turned down. Undoubtedly, they have aspirations to overturn the Green Belt status of the land in order to achieve their development ambitions.

Four and a half years after Grow Heathrow was started, Lewdown Holdings Limited have decided to remove us from their land, despite it having no conceivable commercial use in the forseeable future. Should they submit a planning application for the land that is approved, we may be willing to leave peacefully if required, but while the land remains abandoned we feel there is justification for it being put to productive use.

Our court hearing is arranged for 11am on Tuesday 23rd September, at Uxbridge County Court. Please come along to court to show your support outside the courthouse. This is a brand new case, that is completely seperate to our ongoing defense of the main Grow Heathrow site.

Alternatively, come along to the Grow Heathrow site at any time during the day to catch up with what we’ve been up to lately, or to get involved in cooking some delicious food.

As always, we will try to pursue every available avenue to prolong our stay on site. Keep up to date with any upcoming news by checking our website, subscribing to our mailing list, following us on twitter, or joining our facebook group.



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