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So the landowner came, saw the numbers of protecters, the lock-ons, the bike-powered smoothie makers and the music, and returned home after refusing to talk to either the protesters or the press. But it isn't over – bailiffs could return at any time. Email GH your phone number if you want to be part of the phone tree or join the mailing list on the website:…

It's definitely happening... After four and a half years, the squatted Grow Heathrow community garden is getting a visit from the bailiffs later this month. Support is needed to fight what could be the first step in Heathrow's horrendous third runway project.

Grow Heathrow (GH) have been fighting a legal battle for years to protect the space they created from a rubbish dump, and made into a lively community resource and living, growing and campaigning space. It’s part of the Transition Heathrow sustainability and community resilience network, which opposes the proposed third runway.

This time, they were defeated at the Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice. The only higher power to which they could make further appeals would’ve been the Supreme Court, but after being denied legal aid that avenue was cut off. The bailiffs are due at 8am, August 15th.

The site is currently home to between 10-15 people, but a much wider network supports the resistance. It’s not just GH’s polytunnels that are threatened, but up to 700 homes in the area of the runway.

“It’s a far bigger than just this project or the village of Sipson,” says Eddy, an inhabitant of GH. “A lot of the local community will see this as a practical exercise for defending their own homes against eviction for the third runway, should it be granted. It’s potentially a precursor to many battles ahead.”

At the moment the third runway is under debate by an independent panel on airport expansion, the Davies Commission. Two proposals have been put forward by Heathrow, one slightly bigger than the other, but both of which would be environmentally devastating. Each requires the flattening of villages, the eviction of up to 700 homes, and their replacement by the new Heathrow airport runway itself and the surrounding infrastructure, such as roads, buildings and major works on nearby motorways.

With green space and villages being demolished, the runway would also throw any commitment for reducing CO2 emissions out of the window. The airport claims an extra runway would increase the number of flights per year from 480,000 to 740,000. The additional greenhouse gas emissions would equal the annual output of Kenya, according to the World Development Movement.

Along with the environmental factors, GH has made community engagement a central part of its mission: “This is about the economic and social blight that has hindered this part of west London for years.”

Previous to the Grow Heathrow community garden it was just an eyesore - the collective cleared 30 tonnes of rubbish from the site when they moved in. After the clean-up job the question was asked, “What kind of resource can we provide the area?” After discussion with locals, the gardens flourished into a food growing space, an open community resource with open days and workshops.

We have a much deeper connection to the land,” says Eddy, in contrast to the “abusive landlords who have no regard for the local community.” The court case bore out that assumption. Although the group have been trying to buy the land as a Community Land Trust, “the landlord is opting for bailiffs over dialogue”.  The intentions of the landlord are not known – he doesn’t currently have planning permission for the plot.

Grow Heathrow are calling out for support on the 15th. They’re inviting supporters down for food, workshops and music on the 14th in preparation. In the face of the eviction attempt, the atmosphere at the gardens is “tenacious”. Get yourselves down there!

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Added By: BRIGHTON ANARCHIST - 18th August 2014 @ 10:09 AM
The truth will prevail
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