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.
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.
On Friday 15th August at 8am, bailiffs will make their first attempt to evict Grow Heathrow. Four and a half years after the abandoned greenhouses in the middle of Heathrow Airport’s proposed third runway were occupied by local residents together with activists, Heathrow villagers are organising again to resist airport expansion that’s ruled out by climate science.
Residents of the 700+ homes a third runway would destroy have asked to be trained to protect their own homes. On Thursday 14th, the day before the bailiffs visit, there will be talks and workshops on how to peacefully resist the eviction and on how ordinary people successfully shelved plans for a noisy third runway. At 8am on Friday 15th, hopefully you can help protect our home from the County Court bailiffs, ready to do the same for other homes threatened by airport expansion. Grow Heathrow has been described as the ‘heart of the village’ by BBC News and ‘inspirational’ by the local MP. We are still trying to buy the land instead of having bailiffs at our home.
We need your support in the days before, on the 15th and in the months after the bailiffs come. Join us for dinner on the 14th and be on site for when they arrive. Bring a sleeping bag, tent and rollmat if you’re coming to stay, cameras or smartphones for filming/livestreaming the bailiffs and we can always use more tea, coffee, milk, sugar and mugs! We currently also have some space for new members, so if growing food and campaigning on airport expansion are your cup of tea come and find out more about how you can volunteer here long-term. Summer in the glasshouses is green and glorious with a lake down the road.
If you have any special requirements, just drop us an email and we’ll do our best to make you comfortable. If and when the bailiffs go home, there’ll be a coach heading to to the Reclaim the Power action helping protect Blackpool from fracking. (donations welcome).
Yep, it’s that time of year again. The field by the old garden centre is full of red clover, and the rotting greenhouse frames are burping up sprays of elderflowers.
We’re gonna make some elderflower cordial. Be there. If you remember, grab a couple of clean empty jars or small glass bottles.
Parsley, Sage and Chives, fresh from the Grow Heathrow meadow, given in away in the local post office on a donations basis.
Move to Heathrow?
Grow Heathrow, the squatted community garden by Heathrow airport, celebrated it’s 4th Birthday on Saturday the 1st of March.
People came from Bristol, Cambridge and France to kick off the celebrations with ‘Three Acres and a Cow’ on the Friday evening- a people’s history of Britain through folk songs, stories and poems connecting The Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with the 80′s road protests and Occupy via the enclosures and Highland Clearances.
Over 50 folk sat down for a hot skipped meal to watch the show which included performances from ‘Crazy Dvine’, Mark Brown, storyteller Nick Hunt, and Keely Mills who is Poet Laurette for Peterborough.
Saturday morning arrived and saw 150 people pass through the gates for site tours, cob-oven pizzas, seed sowing and sunshine.
The highlight of the day was definitely the Cake competition which saw the site turn into a kind of amphitheater arena with the audience finding viewing points on piles of logs, the cabin and whatever else they could find!
Cakes were followed by some top speeches from local campaigner Tracey, John McDonnell MP, Grow Heathrower Sam and supporters of the project.
As the blight of the Heathrow Third Runway still threatens the village of Sipson, and the Con-Dem government continues its mania of austerity cuts, it was once again inspiring to see Grow Heathrow thriving- putting politics into practice and building community power in the face of economic, ecological and democratic crises.
To find out more about Grow Heathrow visit www.transitionheathrow.com
And to learnt about storyteller Nick Hunt’s new book ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’ see http://nickhuntscrutiny.com/
Music from 3 Acres and a Cow at https://soundcloud.com/crazydivine
Credits to Community Food Growers Network for blog and photos
Come and learn how to grow abundant and healthy fruit and vegetables in an organic way at the Community Market Garden GrowHeathrow this spring!
- 16th March
- 20th April
- 18th May
- 15th June
- 20th July
Course Content that will be covered over the 5 sessions:
- 1. Planning a Growing Space; Organic vegetable garden design techniques including site and location, crop rotation and companion planting.
- 2. Soil Care; study of different soils, and soil cultivation techniques; a look at composting, mulching and green manures for soil care.
- 3. Propagation; Indoor seed sowing techniques, and how to prepare ground for sowing and planting. seedling aftercare
- 4. Seasonal garden maintenance; specific techniques for vegetable and fruit production. organic weed management, home made organic fertilisers, appropriate tool -use and ongoing care.
- 5. Inviting Wildlife; enhance biodiversity in the garden to help with pest and disease management. Basic plant identification
Suggested donation for the full 5 sessions £30 for food and printing costs (open to sliding scale donations according to what people can afford, contact for more information)
Each session will build on the previous ones so commitment and attendance for the full course is required. Drop-in gardeners are welcome at our Growing Sundays, the ‘Introduction to Gardening’ course is for people who can attend all sessions.
Spaces are limited, please send confirmation by the 9th March. We’d especially like to hear from people living in the local area and who’ve been involved with GH in the past, but all are welcome. Get in touch with any questions or come to Grow Heathrow’s 4th Birthday on Saturday 1st March, you can speak to someone in the Growing Space and have a look around the site.
We’re really excited to be able to offer this course, we look forward to hearing from you!
* SAVE THE DATE: 4TH BIRTHDAY PARTY, Saturday 1st March *
The past year has been filled with more growing, renewable energy, sustainable building, and much more. 2014 will see us in to our 4th Birthday celebration at Grow Heathrow… (Yes, get ready)
Saturday 1st March from 1pm at Grow Heathrow. Plus Pre-Birthday performance, ‘Three Acres and a Cow’ Land Rights Performance, Friday 28th February from 5pm at Grow Heathrow
We’re breaking last year’s record of over 100 pizzas in our wood-fired clay oven, with a bigger feast, more face painting, seed sowing, arts, more live music and of course the famous bike-powered sound system. Bring your friends and family, and come on down…
Plus, check out our legal update here and come down to site to check out some of our 2013 additions such as the finished straw bale house, artistic totem pole, the new gasifying wood burner and help us kick off our 5th year with a bang.
See you there!
More info and address/directions here:
After all these years Grow Heathrow have finally come to the end of our legal battle!!
We were not able to take the appeal to the supreme court, as the case was not awarded legal aid, by a body that is being cut heavily by this government. Read more about cuts to legal aid here: http://www.savelegalaid.co.uk/
However, the case has set a positive precedent in housing law that will be able to be used in future cases on evictions for both squatters and exploited tenants. The last appeal heard at the High Court was the first case of it’s type where article 8, the Human Rights Act, was ever deemed to be relevant. Big news in a time where squatting is being criminalized in the middle of a housing crises.
Where does that leave us?
Basically in a similar place to where we were before. Grow Heathrow is still under possible threat, much like the last 4 years, but business as usual continues. The Wind Turbine is still soaring, the Chard is still growing and the compost loo’s are still being stirred!
Mainly we are still trying to create negotiations with the land owners to ultimately and ideally secure the site. With the 3rd runway back on the cards, we are not going anywhere. Watch this space…
Come and help build a 17 foot (5.1816m)! Geodome at Grow Heathrow. The workshop will run for a week from Friday 6th Dec.
We’ll be using a unique design that innovates the geodome structure for ease of assembly. This design incorporates a new star connection method that enables just one person to construct. Laying out the cover over the stars means that the cover will be already in place as the geodome is erected. Possibly included in the course will be waterproof seam sewing techniques and dome canvas sewing if we have time. The course will be limited in numbers to 4 persons each day so please email in advance to let us know your availability and interest so we can maximise participants.
Geodomes are based on triangular geometry and were popularised by Buckmeister Fuller. They are predominantly used for earthquake relief due to their intrinsic strength at intersecting joints, this makes it an ideal solution for earthships, which this model is intended.
We will be using recycled metal poles from the dilapidated greenhouses we have on site. Geodomes are one of the most versatile structures available; they are scalable and can be made into any size you wish, you can use all sorts of materials available, and can be used for all sorts of applications, and they can also be joined together.
We will be using a 3V design, which means it has 3 different size pole lengths. It also has the option of a 4/9 or 5/9 variant, which alows the dome to have 2 different heights, either less than or bigger than half a sphere.
Hope to see you budding eco builders on the week of the 6th.