On Sunday the 28th of February 2011, community members celebrated the first year anniversary of Grow Heathrow and the occupation of the site. The year has brought many challenges for the community who have recently been notified of legal proceeding for possible eviction. However, new court papers seeking to evict the community garden Grow Heathrow revealed that the project won’t have to appear in court until November 2011. This good news came after a turbulent two weeks for the environmental movement after revelations came out about the workings of undercover police in campaign 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. 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 over 30 tonnes of 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 plans welcomed the initiative, which is located on the site of the now-cancelled 3rd runway. Activists initially occupied the land in solidarity with the villagers BAA had been trying to force from their homes to make way for the expansion.
The film below shows how the Grow Heathrow has transformed a site of urban decay into a flourishing community initiative:
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