A new year, and a new threat to our area

 I recently attended a meeting at Charville Primary school set up by John McDonnell MP regarding the green belt land in Hayes at Home Farm.

Regular visitors to the site will know that I am not his biggest fan, but I am in the strange position of being behind him on a campaign that I feel is very important to people locally in North Hayes, and particularly my own ward of Charville.

The last remaining piece of green belt land in the area is the Home Park site south of Charville Lane, previously owned by Heinz. This land has been through a number of owners since then, and is now in the hands of an organisation called Highbridge No 2 Ltd, who recently wrote to a number of households in the vicinity of the green belt asking for their opinions regarding how the land should be utilised.

There have been a number of attempts before to redevelop the site, including one for a country park that was opposed as too much of the site would have had to have been redeveloped to finance the remaining green areas.

However, with the increasing burden on our infrastructure caused by the massive surge in population growth, the government has set out ‘The Local Development Framework’ legislation, which has set every borough in England targets to provide new housing and the supporting services to sustain them.

Hayes, West Drayton, Stockley Park and Southall are designated as ‘The North Heathrow Opportunity Area’, and are scheduled to have an additional 5800 homes built by 2016 according to the document – This makes any vacant land in the area a potential windfall to developers looking to make a profit.

Developing green belt land has traditionally been cheaper for developers than having to rebuild on brown field sites, and as such this makes our local green belt a very interesting proposition for any speculator in the property sector.

What the developers have failed to take in to account is both the strength of feeling locally about this (Over 300 people crammed in to the school for the meeting), and also that the site suffers from waterlogging according to a number of  local people who attended the meeting. Indeed, it is alleged that WE Black had permission for building in the top left corner of the site turned down due to the issues with drainage surrounding the development.

More importantly, the Hayes Farm green belt is a home to many species of traditional English wildlife that are seeing their numbers dwindling every year. Part of the site is home to newts, a species that were common when I was growing up in the 1970’s but are now almost wiped out across the country. Some who attended the meeting spoke of sightings of Roe Deer, whilst there is a preservation order on the Oak Trees in Salcombe Way, a part of the belt that the company are supposedly considering developing.

We have enough derelict parts of our town that are in need of redevelopment, without destroying the last vestiges of our countryside for the sake of a quick profit. If you, like me, feel that this land and the wildlife on it needs to be preserved for future generations, please write to the owners of the land at the following address and let them know how you feel –

Mr Damien M Ryan

Highbridge No2 Ltd

16 Denham Lodge

Oxford Road

Uxbridge

Middx  UB9 4AA

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