Heathrow campaigners earn right to transform villages and ensure No 3rd runway
Transition Heathrow and Sipson residents celebrated on Saturday morning as new court papers seeking to evict community garden Grow Heathrow revealed that the project won't have to appear in court until November this year.
The good news came after a turbulent two weeks for the environmental movement after revelations came out about the workings of undercover police in campaigns groups.
The extra ten months gives the team at Grow Heathrow more time to turn the land into a flourishing market garden. The project has provided local residents with a space to start building more sustainable Heathrow communities after the 3rd runway was dropped in March 2010.
Leading up to a court case seeking to evict them a few months ago they received many statements of support from a wide range of people including MPs, airport workers, local police and many local residents. The petition to "Keep Grow Heathrow Alive" also received over 700 signatures. Since March 1st 2010 the Transition Heathrow activists and local residents have been working together to turn the site into a hub for all the community. The project has hosted various events from food growing workshops, direct action trainings and a banquet.
Before the activists arrived the derelict greenhouses were used by the owners to illegally dump cars and other waste. Grow Heathrow gardeners and local residents have since cleared the refuse with the help of the local council and carefully restored the glass in the greenhouses - turning the land back into a market garden and a meeting space for local people. Residents who had been fighting Heathrow's expansion welcomed the initiative, which is located on the the site of the now-cancelled 3rd runway. Activists initially occupied the land in solidarity with the villagers who BAA has been trying to force from their homes to make way for expansion.
Transition Heathrow member Jo Rake, 21, said:
"Due to the threat of eviction it has meant the past few months has been filled with working out how we could resist being evicted. The decision to delay our court case until November recognises the need of a transition phase for the Heathrow villages. BAA are still trying to buy up all the homes they can get for the 3rd runway so now that we have a secure site for the next 10 months, we can continue to work with the local residents to show BAA where to go".
Local resident Tracy Howard, 35, said:
"The local residents have been thrilled by the news that Grow Heathrow will remain in Sipson for a lot longer than first thought. The site has provided a space for us all to come together again to rebuild after the blight caused by the 3rd runway issue. Not only is the site used for events, workshops and skillshares - it has become a hang out for residents and activists who have become very close friends since they took the site. I am looking forward to growing more vegetables over the summer to provide locally sourced organic veg, rather than food shipped in from across the world to our shelves at big supermarkets"
Daughter of Tracy, Olivia Howard, 11, said:
"It's nice to hang out somewhere where the is no agenda and you just get to be yourself. A place where there is nice people and local people and you have the opportunity to make a difference".