Posted: March 20th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Events | Tags: access to land, activism, birthday, climate change, community, direct action, resistance, sipson, Squatting, sustainability, transition | No Comments »
Credits to Community Food Growers Network for this report and photos
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
Posted: January 11th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Events | Tags: access to land, activism, art, community, direct action, Festival, Residents, resistance, Squatting, sustainability, transition | No Comments »
* 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:
Posted: January 10th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: legal | Tags: access to land, activism, court, justice, occupy, sipson, Squatting | No Comments »
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…
Posted: November 3rd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Residents | Tags: activism, community, Residents, Squatting, 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: September 3rd, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Events | Tags: activism, direct action, justice | No Comments »
Reblogged from ukuncut.org.uk:
The government is about to launch its biggest attack yet on our rights, freedoms, and equality. They want to completely block access to justice for all but the rich, and they want to do it by the end of the year. Such an historic attack on people’s rights cannot, should not and will not go unchallenged. On 5th October, join UK Uncut as we take mass civil disobedience to show that we won’t take this assault on our equality before the law.
The government have forced through devastating cuts in every area from education to housing, welfare to healthcare, and now they want to stop us challenging their unfair and unnecessary decisions, and to stop us from resisting injustice.
If these proposals go through they will stop people from disputing unfair evictions from their homes. They will stop babies from having their interests represented in family disputes. And they will stop the families of people killed in custody or detention from fighting for the truth.
This isn’t a cut that we’re talking about. The changes to legal aid won’t save even one penny, in fact they will cost money by causing havoc to the legal system. They are not motivated by a need to save money – these are ideological changes aimed at ruining justice for poor people and handing more contract cash to G4S and Serco.
So join the UK uncut collective in blocking roads outside of courts around the country. In an act of direct action, we will stand against these dangerous changes that will destroy democracy and ordinary people’s lives. We know that this will be disruptive. We know that it will stop the traffic. But we know that this kind of direct action works, and that we need to use it to save justice.
We already have the support of DPAC, Defend the Right to protest, Women Against Rape, Plane Stupid, Kent Refugee Help and BARAC UK. But we need your help to make this huge. Get a group together, meet and come up with some ideas for your own act of creative civil disobedience. Start planning, find your nearest court, list your action on the action section of our website and get in touch if we can help.
Blocking roads has an important and effective history in direct action in the UK, and given the government has ignored petitions and protests, civil disobedience is needed to defend our rights against this attack. By blocking roads outside of courts, we will be symbolically highlighting the devastating effect the changes will have on access to justice. If you’re angry that the government is blocking justice for the poorest and most vulnerable, join us on the 5th. Tell all your friends, family and colleagues. Shout about it, tweet it, facebook it.
See you on the streets
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 1st, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Energy | Tags: activism, balcome, climate change, direct action, fracking, protest | No Comments »
28 Days Later: Please spread far and wide
A Rolling Blockade of the Balcombe fracking site, 1st September – 28th September
Fracking company Cuadrilla’s governmental licence to drill in Balcombe ends on September 28th. The government may be allowing them to drill but they have no social licence from the people of Balcombe to frack their land and threaten their water supply. Neither do they have any mandate to begin an entire wave of fracking across the country. The vast majority of people in the UK want cleaner, greener energy.
After the upsurge of climate activism at Reclaim the Power in August, let’s make these last 28 days count. Let’s halt their work at Balcombe, and also send a strong message to those wanting to frack elsewhere.
A blockade has been on-going at the drilling site, but trucks have still been getting through. Now it’s time to up the ante.
We invite groups from around the country to come and play a part in a 28 day rolling blockade.
Think creatively and act responsibly. Pick a weekday before September 28, gather friends and useful kit get yourselves to Balcombe.
Fracking is stoppable, another world is possible.
Posted: August 12th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Events | Tags: activism, climate change, cuadrilla, frack off, fracking, no dash for gas | No Comments »
Hundreds of climate and anti-cuts activists are planning to ‘swoop’ on
a secret site in the Balcombe area where shale oil and gas company
Cuadrilla is engaged in exploratory drilling.
Swoop participants will meet at Balcombe Train Station at 1pm on
Friday August 16th before moving en-masse to take the site. The five
day action camp taking place there – named Reclaim the Power – will
run from August 16-21 and involve ‘mass, audacious and creative acts
of civil disobedience’. 
Cuadrilla has a six week concession in the Sussex village to drill for
shale oil, but 85% of Balcombe residents oppose the drilling. Over 45
local groups opposing fracking have sprung up around the country in
response to requests by Cuadrilla and other companies to drill in
their area.  Balcombe is widely regarded as the frontline in the
government’s dash to frack the UK for fossil fuels.
The group spearheading the swoop – No Dash for Gas – shut down EDF’s
West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire last October. 21
activists occupied the site and lived up two chimneys for a week, in
protest over what they describe as climate chaos and escalated fuel
poverty if the government’s ‘dash for gas’ goes ahead.  The protest
prevented over 23,000 tons of carbon emissions and resulted in EDF
suing the group for £5million – a suit dropped after just three weeks
due to massive public outcry including a petition signed by 64,000
Now the group is mounting an ambitious action camp with a coalition of
organisations including UKUncut, Disabled People Against the Cuts, the
Greater London Pensioners Association, Campaign Against Climate
Change, and Fuel Poverty Action. The Reclaim the Power camp at
Balcombe will see participants engage in workshops covering extreme
energy, Just Transition and work, resisting government cuts and
solidarity with communities on the front-lines of climate change.
The camp will also include a full day’s ‘direct action training’ where
participants will plan a number of ‘missions’ together before engaging
in 48 hours of action against Cuadrilla.
Sharon James of No Dash for Gas said: ‘Our event is called Reclaim the
Power and that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to reclaim our
energy system out of the hands of corporations that will frack our
countryside, crash our climate targets and send fuel bills through the
roof. We want democratically controlled, renewable energy. Our action
will echo the local community in showing Cuadrilla that fracking is
unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary.’
She went on to say:
‘Fossil fuels are not the answer to our energy gap. Social, economic
and climate justice movements can and will unite to stand with
affected communities to resist this undemocratic activity. We urge
Cuadrilla to stop drilling, get out of Balcombe and drop fracking,
Ken Savage, aged 91, of The Greater London Pensioners Association
said: ‘We lend our full support to and stand solidly with Reclaim the
Power. Many pensioners dread the winter where many of us cannot afford
the heating and are seeing our friends pass away un-necessarily. 7000
people died last year – many of them pensioners – because they
couldn’t afford to keep warm. Many of us see climate change as a real
threat to our grandchildren. We want to see a change in this country’s
energy policy which takes climate change seriously, makes the change
to safe and sustainable power and which serves human need and not
corporate greed. We will be present at the camp and look forward to
taking part in this important event and protest’.
 http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/  http://frack-off.org.uk/local-group-specific-pages/  http://www.nodashforgas.org.uk/uncategorized/press-release-campaigners-from-no-dash-for-gas-abseil-90m-down-power-station-chimney-to-end-7-day-occupation/
No Dash for Gas Media Team 07447 027112
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 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 27th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events | Tags: activism | No Comments »