Posted: November 4th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: access to land, community, Harlington, harmondsworth, sipson | No Comments »
A group of residents from Harmondsworth, Sipson and Harlington have successfully bid for a £7000 grant to give villagers a greater say in future development and planning issues.
The money has come from the Community Development Foundation, one of the organisations administering a £9.5 million government fund to support communities creating a Neighbourhood Plan for their area.
The plans can deal with a wide range of subjects, such as housing, employment, heritage and transport, or may focus on one or two issues that are of particular importance to local people.
Holly Crofter, a resident at Grow Heathrow in Sipson and now a member of the Heathrow Villages Planning Committee (HVPC) that will be using the grant, is enthusiastic about the project: “The Neighbourhood Plan will give our villages a say in development decisions that have, in the past, been difficult to influence in a meaningful way. It’s particularly important for this area, which has suffered the blight caused by airport-related development for decades.”
Having secured the grant with the help of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association and arranged for the charity Groundwork to accept the funds on their behalf, HVPC are eager to move forward with the process to draw up an approved Neighbourhood Plan. This includes finding seven residents from each village to join a Neighbourhood Forum.
A public meeting about the project is being held at St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Thursday 14 November at 7pm.
Harlington resident and HVPC member Christine Taylor is hoping for a good turnout: “To complete this project it’s vital that people from all three villages get involved. This is our chance to tell the planners and developers what we want in our area and, just as important, what we don’t want.”
Posted: November 3rd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: transition | No Comments »
I’m currently staying/participating at a squatted site called Grow Heathrow. It is proving to be quite an important time for me. Politically affirming. I came here to learn skills, connect with others who have similar ideas about how we provide for ourselves, and give my support to a cause/project I’m passionate about. The squat originated from a need to confront the proposed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. The government in the UK has been looking at airport expansion for a while now – there’s still talk as to where this expansion will take place. If they opt for Heathrow, they’ll have to remove the squatters from this land and tarmac over the village of Sipson; one of the principle aims of the project is to instil community resistance in Sipson against Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly British Airports Authority), if they come knocking.
The attitude here is great. People are focused. It’s a working squat. People arrive for many reasons. I’m here to work. That’s where my head is at the moment – I want to be productive, to be useful. Other visitors are here to enjoy themselves, relax and talk with others. This is a haven for free thought – a space to breathe for those disillusioned with materialism.
Here there’s no room for the workings of capital – no pressure to work the 9 to 5. It is a kind of political expression that directly challenges labour, the 9 to 5 grind. It is this kind of political expression that interests me at the moment, as opposed to attending the monthly anti-war protest/demonstration. Protest is important, but we must also set the agenda. ‘If all we do is oppose what they are trying to do, then we simply follow in their footsteps’. We need to carry on with our activity that isn’t determined by money. We must dedicate ourselves to what we consider necessary or desirable. We must live the world we want to create. Besides, protesting wipes me out (as I recently experienced at the protest against Fracking at Balcome). Not sure I want to devote my time and energy to protests, where we shout, confront police etc. It’s not in my nature to use physical force against other humans. Probably too middle class. It’s not in my nature to shout about things, sing chants etc. Perhaps if it’s a cause that really riles me up, then I might reconsider.
At the squat there is a non-hierarchical, anarchistic set up. No one is instructed to work. People work when they feel ready to. There are always tasks to be done. People wake up, a group gets together, starts talking – momentum starts to build and we work on a project. And we work hard. But it doesn’t feel like work. Because we’re there at our own will, because it’s a cause we believe in, there’s such comradery in our collective work. It’s fun and social. What great conversations emerge during work. Working together on something, where there’s a common goal, an objective, sometimes sparks more interesting conversations than assembling with the intention to socialise. During the summer there seems to be a huge flux of international travellers who have heard about the project. The squat reminds me of travelling in hostels – spaces to socialise, unwind and talk idealistically.
A working mind is a healthy mind. People are happy when they’re productive, when they’re being useful. Their self-esteem grows, their self-confidence and sense of value to the group benefits. During this first month, I have easily forgiven those who have not managed to work and contribute fully. There will be a long history of reasons as to why some are able to contribute more than others. Those that don’t, we should have sympathy for and try to understand why, rather than resent them. I guess I am just grateful I have this working mind, this motivation. I’ve only been here for a month, and my feelings on this may change. Without special resolve and grit, I imagine it is easy to lose patience over time.
The experience thus far is fulfilling a personal need to experiment with new forms of social relations outside capitalism. Grow Heathrow is an open project with plenty space for people to join the site. Contrary to other squats, it is the project that brings the inhabitants of the site together, rather than a group of friends. This kind of experiment in communal living has its rewards and challenges. There are those that use this space as some kind of refuge from some torment in their lives outside the squat. Although they are often unable to contribute to the collective in a variety of ways, the space must try to accommodate their distress. The community must do its upmost to prevent looking inwards. One older lady, who was previously in a mental institution, has benefitted immensely from gardening, working outdoors and being with people. She tells me how lonely she gets in the evenings on her own in her flat. Living communally trumps any discomfort from sleeping without a mattress.
The squat relies on solar panels and a wind turbine for its electricity, has no running hot water from the tap (although an impressive warm shower wood burner has been built) and there’s a compost toilet on site, minimising water usage. Almost all the food consumed is either grown on site, taken from bins outside supermarkets, or from food wholesalers giving away waste food. I must say, I do get a sense of gladness as I walk about doing my daily activity without barely any ecological footprint.
After 5 months in Salzburg (or rather a lifetime) of talking about the problems of the world, and what needs to be done, I am finally in a living and working arrangement that satisfies my political need to get to grips with the ‘doing’. When I wake up in the morning I feel as though I’m in the right place. At least for now. We’ll see how it goes this autumn.
The land that the community is occupying is up for eviction. So there is that added insecurity that for some residents makes long term-commitment/planning difficult. Indeed, their innate instability and transitory nature is a key criticism of squatted social centres. I seem to forget that bailiffs could start breaking through the gate any minute. Part of me doesn’t believe it will happen: Who would break-up such a peaceful, well-meaning, environmental project? I come across as naïve to some of the old-time squatters, who tell me I’ll soon understand what we’re fighting against when I see the State use its might to destroy any dissenting activity. Property is king. I wonder where I’ll be, what I’ll do when we’re being evicted. I probably won’t know how I’ll react until it’s happening. Can physical force ever be successful against the State? History shows that violence and aggression is what it often does best. Why play them at their own game? But if someone is evicting you from your home – if I develop some emotional attachment to this place – there’s no knowing how one might react.
Holloway, J. 2010. Crack Capitalism
. London: Pluto Press, p.3.
Holloway, J. 2010. Crack Capitalism.
London: Pluto Press, pp.3-4.
Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events, Uncategorized | Tags: cranford park, friends of cranford park, Residents | No Comments »
Message from Cranford Park:
Book now for one of the highlights of our year, the HALLOWE’EN SPOOKY SPECTACULAR on Thursday 31 October at Cranford Countryside Park. As this is a popular (and free) event, booking is essential (see below or poster attached for details).Join a group of actors for a ghostly walk around the park. There are three ‘showings’, one for children and two for adults – please specify which when you book.
3.30pm: For accompanied children. Make Hallowe’en lanterns followed by a spooky talk and ghostly walk at 5pm.
7pm & 8pm: For adults. Ghostly walk and terrifying talk for adults.
How to book: Booking is essential, please do NOT reply to this email but reserve spaces with Countryside & Conservation Officer Alison Shipley. Email: email@example.com or tel. 01895 250647.
HEALTHY WALK. Thursday 17 October 11am. A brisk 2-3 mile walk around the park in good company. No need to book.
AUTUMN COLOURS WALK. Saturday 9 November, 11am. Guided walk around the park enjoying the beautiful autumn colours in good company. No need to book.
Advance notice: Cranford Park Friends AGM - Thursday 21 November, 7.30pm Crane Community Centre, Fuller Way off Cranford Drive, Harlington UB3 4LW. All welcome.
For all events except the AGM please meet at Information Centre, Cranford Park, The Parkway (A312) Harlington/Hounslow, TW5 9RZ
Thank you all VOLUNTEERS who have been busy around the park, especially the Woods, in the Secret Garden and clearing ivy from the Ha-Ha wall, an 18th century historic feature near the Information Centre. To see photos of this and the park’s amazing variety of wildlife – including kingfishers, owls and weasels – read member Wendy Marks’ fascinating October blog here:
Calling all CYCLISTS and JAZZ MUSICIANS. A group interested in doing easy, level and (mainly) traffic-free cycling around Cranford Park, Minet Park, Heathrow Villages and West Drayton areas is being started. It will go at the pace of the slowest rider. We are also looking for trad jazz musicians/ skiffle players who might like to help stage an event next year remembering Ken Colyer’s Crane River Jazz Band which began around Cranford Park in the 1950s. For either of these please reply to this email.
We hope to see you in the park again soon.
Posted: October 7th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Join Grow Heathrow on a foraging excursion in Hyde Park!
Meet at Hyde Park Corner tube // Sat 12 Oct // 4pm
Posted: September 9th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Cool Projects | Tags: access to land, direct action, Squatting | No Comments »
See http://www.madepossiblebysquatting.co.uk/ for more info, including an outline of all the upcoming events.
Posted: July 22nd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: activism, community, food, Residents | No Comments »
You are invited to a picnic and public meeting to discuss the future of Transition Heathrow.
Join us tomorrow, Tuesday 23 July at 6.30pm at Grow Heathrow.
Bring food and drink to share, plus your thoughts on the future of the project in light of our recent Court of Appeal verdict and the airport’s new proposals for expansion.
For how to find us, follow this link.
See you in the meadow!
Posted: July 22nd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Action | Tags: resistance, third runway | No Comments »
Last week, Heathrow submitted its proposals for expansion to the Airports Commission. It announced three separate sets of plans for the third runway to the North, North West and South West of the airport, in a case which, according to the Airport Environment Federation (AEF), “rests on a series of half-truths and promises not backed by evidence.”
Find out more on AEF’s website and Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) blog.
Posted: July 3rd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events, legal, Media | Tags: access to land, activism, community, court, sipson, Squatting | 1 Comment »
Update on the Court of Appeal verdict:
The judges failed to reach a unanimous decision on the case but by majority, our appeal was dismissed and permission was granted for the owners to seek a warrant for an eviction.
On the plus side, one of the judges found that squatters as well as tenants are entitled to respect for their home under article 8 of The European Convention on Human Rights and that the court should consider the individual circumstances of those affected when deciding how soon to make an eviction.
We are now working with our lawyers on a further appeal to the Supreme Court to define the arguments about whether article 8 is relavent to private land owners.
In the meantime, there is a low risk of imminent eviction and we’re asking for support on site over the next few weeks. Come along today for dinner and help us make plans for securing our future.
See here for directions to site. If you plan to stay the night, please bring a sleeping bag and tent if you can.
Grow Heathrow campaigner Joe Rake said:
“We think it’s important to challenge a law that protects the right of irresponsible landlords to trash the heart of a community. We are still following up options to appeal to the Supreme court and hope we can come to an agreement so that we can carry on working with the local resident’s association and our MP to make sure ‘Grow Heathrow’ exists as a community resource in the long-term.”
Sipson resident Tracey Howard commented:
“At a time when harsh austerity cuts are effecting people across the country, ‘Grow Heathrow’ is a great example of what can be done when a community takes back control of its land to meet its own needs.
Spread the word and thanks for your support!
Posted: June 28th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events, legal | Tags: access to land, court, resistance, Squatting | No Comments »
We’ll find out the long-awaited verdict from the Court of Appeal at 9.30am on Wednesday 3 July.
Please support us:
We’d love you to join us at the Royal Courts of Justice (courtroom 70) at 9.30 on Wed. Better yet, come show your solidarity where it’s most important – at Grow Heathrow!
Join us on site during the day and into the evening. The bike workshop will be running all afternoon, we’ll be cooking up a delicious dinner and there’ll probably be a campfire and music. You’re also welcome to stay over on Wednesday night, ready for our community workday on Thursday.
You can find directions to Grow Heathrow here. And the Royal Courts of Justice are on The Strand, WC2A 2LL.
Please spread the news far and wide, and for more info call us on 07890751568. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @transheathrow.
Love from the greenhouses xx
Posted: May 24th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Events | Tags: food, self-sufficiency | No Comments »
On 25 and 26 May we’re preparing a comfortable and safe space for the chickens to come and live. We’d love you to spend the weekend with us and get involved in clearing the space and making it beautiful, as well as being part of the Grow Heathrow family and getting to know us and the site.
Main tasks for the weekend are:
- Tatting materials to build a fence with
- Erecting a fence around the site
- Making a gate
- Beautifying the space
- Coppicing hazel and creating a polytunnel
We’ve got plenty of sleeping space in our guest cabin but if you want you own space you can bring a tent – there’s loads of camping space. Food, drinks and fun will be provided but it’s nice if you can chip in a couple of quid towards this and general running costs of the site. If you happen to have any battery powered drills or general tools you’d like to bring that would be great.
We’re off grid in terms of energy and rely on our 2 wind turbines and solar panels, so it’s an excuse to turn your phone off and spend some time outside. Hopefully we’ll have some summer sunshine to see us through.
Bring friends, family, all those you love and a smile and come help us prepare for Heathrow’s next feathered residents.