Heathrow Villages – History on your doorstep

With the sun shining brightly this morning, I decided to show my wife around some of the landmarks in Heathrow Villages

With the ongoing fight against the new runway and the rubbish and pothole issues that are frequently highlighted by our representatives in The Villages, it is good to highlight some of the positive aspects of life in the area and to take some time to look around the sites of historic interest that Heathrow Expansion would blight

The Great Barn, Harmondsworth

Great Barn internal shotReferred to as ‘The Cathedral of Middlesex’, the Barn was constructed in the 16th century and was still a working building up until the late 1970’s.

Restored by English Heritage in conjunction with The Friends of the Great Barn, it was re-opened to the public in April and can now be viewed on the second and fourth Sunday of each month between April and October.

Situated behind the historic St Mary’s Church, my wife and I were treated to a tour by local expert Justine Bayley, who pointed out a number of facts about both the building and it’s reconstruction that highlighted the level of craftsmanship that has enabled the structure to survive for centuries with hopefully many more to come.

For more details on The Barn please visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/harmondsworth-barn/

The next days available to view are 14th and 28th June

 

 

The Barnes Wallis memorial

Barnes Wallis memorial

Just around the corner from The Great Barn is the relatively recent memorial to the famous inventor Barnes Wallis, who developed the revolutionary ‘bouncing bomb’ that RAF Lancasters of 617 squadron used to destroy the Ruhr dams in 1943. The leader of the raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC, was one of my boyhood heroes so it was good to see the architect of the raid remembered in this way. Barnes Wallis had previously designed the Wellington bomber, the mainstay of RAF Bomber Command in the early years of World War 2 and went on to play a key role in the development of the Tallboy and Grand Slam weapons that were used to sink the battleship Tirpitz and wreck well fortified underground weapons factories in Germany respectively.

The immaculate state of the memorial is a tribute to local resident Armelle Thomas, who was instrumental in its construction and spends time making sure it is always well kept.

Cranford Park

Cranford Country park sign

Cranford Park is a haven for wildlife and one of the prettiest walks in Hillingdon. Amongst the numerous plant and insect life, the park is also home to such birds as the Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Nuthatch along with birds of prey such as the Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.

We kept to the pathways whilst visiting in order to not disturb the nests of the Skylarks, which they build on the ground and are very busy at this time of year.

A number of them were noticeable in the air with their distinctive calls, drowned out only by the noise of the Greater Airbus and Boeing that were in evidence on the flightpath in to Heathrow on a regular basis!

Heathrow Villages have been local communities for centuries, with settlements at the ground where the park now sits dating back to The Bronze Age. Seeing the beauty and the history today makes me more convinced than ever that a Third Runway at Heathrow must be stopped to preserve the area for many generations yet to come.

 

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Communities unite to fight the Third Runway

hacanrallyLast night saw a coming together of politicians of all parties, Trade unionists and environmental campaigners at Church House Conference Centre in Westminster for the Rally against the Runway, organised by independent campaign group HACAN Clearskies. (As previously reported on our site by Heathrow Villages ward representative, Bryan Tomlinson)

Chaired by HACAN’s John Stewart, this was a community reply to the significant financial muscle of Heathrow Airport Ltd and their ‘astroturfing’* propaganda arm, Back Heathrow, who have spent millions plastering adverts over newspapers, the internet and just about any billboard in London they can find. Go on any tube train currently and you will see those ad’s, usually with a modified Union flag, telling you how the country needs this expansion – Ironic when none of the investors in the airport are actually British!

 

It was a rare showing of political unity but totally justified when out of 27 surrounding boroughs, only 2 actually support expansion (Hang your heads in shame Spelthorne and Slough!)

Many valid points were raised by the speakers – Destruction of housing, pollution, noise, the lack of infrastructure to support additional traffic around the airport, the flawed business case and the madness of allowing an increase in numbers of aircraft flying across the densely populated urban sprawl of London to name just a few.

3rd runway John RandallThere were veterans of the previous campaign – Outgoing Uxbridge Conservative MP John Randall (Left) was third up to the podium, with the final speaker being Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell – He repeated his call from the recent public meeting that ‘you can’t trust any of the politicians from any of the party’s on this ‘, no doubt mindful that despite his own stated aim to stop the Runway that neither his own Labour party or The Conservatives will say where they stand on expansion before the election, preferring to wait on the recommendations of The Davies Commission that has been postponed until after May 7th.

 

Former Conservative transport minister, Steven Norris (Below),  spoke of the calls in the seventies to make urban freeways on flyovers through London, and that at the time the prevailing wisdom that we needed to be ‘more like Detroit’ in order to get cars around London is similar to the flawed case being put forward that we need more aircraft capacity at Heathrow to deal with increased ‘hub’ traffic.

3rd runway Steven Norris

Headline speaker Vince Cable MP (below left), the current secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills, spoke of the flawed projections of ‘hub’ passenger numbers that are being put forward, arguing that the biggest hub of the future will be in Dubai and that Heathrow’s best option for growth is to embrace the switch to more short haul traffic and direct flights to long haul destinations.

3rd runway Vince Cable3rd runway Adam Afriyie

MP’s Zac Goldsmith and Adam Afriyie spoke of their determination to beat the runway, with Mr Afriyie (Right) speaking of his childhood in South London teaching him how to fight and if the airport wanted a fight he would give it to them.

Andy Atkins of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace’s John Sauven gave the environmental viewpoint, talking of pollution and the effects on climate, whilst Chris Baugh of the PCS Union  dispelled the notion that the Trade Union movement are solidly behind expansion despite what the airport would have you believe (Manuel Cortes of the TSSA was also scheduled to speak, but was called away on urgent business before he could do so)

Further speeches were also heard from Lib-Dem GLA leader Caroline Pidgeon, Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia and MP’s Mary Macleod and Andy Slaughter.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett also spoke after waiting patiently just before John McDonnell’s closing speech and seemed to be getting over the cold that had hampered her TV performances in the previous week (Below)

3rd Runway Natalie Bennett

UKIP transport spokesman Jill Seymour MEP was due to attend the event, but due to unforeseen circumstances was unable to show up on the night – With trepidation, I stepped in to represent UKIP and my speech can be viewed below –

 

Cliff Dixon speech to Rally against the Runway

I’m sorry that Jill Seymour MEP, UKIP’s National Transport spokesperson, is unable to be here tonight but as UKIP’s candidate in the constituency that includes the airport and a Hillingdon borough resident I hope I can speak from the heart and tell you why UKIP is firmly against another runway at Heathrow.

With a life long interest in aircraft, I can see the idea of a third runway for what it is – Not an essential requirement for the UK economy, but a cash cow for the investors in Heathrow Airport to swell the coffers of their bank accounts.

cliffdixonrostrumThey care not for our local communities affected by noise and pollution on the flightpaths in to the airport – Indeed, Akbar Al-Baker of Qatar Holdings, a major stakeholder in the airport, has been quoted in the national press as saying that locals enjoyed ‘excessive freedom’ and ‘made too much fuss’ about noise, which they would ‘soon get used to’.

It may be fun to visit an airshow for a day, but it’s not much fun for Heathrow Villagers who see aircraft flying over their houses every couple of minutes – Some of whom have been in those houses for generations before the expansion of Heathrow in to the airport that is has become today. People I have been fortunate to meet and class as friends who stand to lose those homes if expansion goes ahead and will see a community they have been a part of torn asunder.

This is to say nothing of the pollution that increased aircraft activity will bring. My mother was a Hillingdon resident who suffered with breathing problems which have now mysteriously disappeared since moving out of the area . How many of our children in Cranford, Sipson, Harlington and Harmondsworth are suffering similarly today?

We hear from Heathrow Airport Ltd that newer aircraft are less noisy and less polluting. That might be so, but if there are more of them then those benefits will be negated by sheer numbers.

I have stood close to an Airbus A380 at Farnborough Airshow and it is indeed an improvement noise wise on take off, but that same almost empty plane sounds somewhat different with a full load taking off from a runway at Heathrow – Those here from Harlington will know what I mean.

They also neglect to mention that their proposed steeper glide paths to offset noise in the outer boroughs will require faster deceleration on final approach, meaning more ‘reverse thrust’ and increased airframe sound – You can only do so much because of the sheer physics of aircraft design and those closest to the airport, our community in Hillingdon, are likely to see increased disruption from these measures.

3rd runway audience

So, what can be done?

Heathrow is a major employer in the area and has been here for many years. It has become a part of our daily lives.

However, it can be a better neighbour to us all by engaging with the local community over improved noise mitigation.

Heathrow can improve operations by looking at the flights that operate out of it – For a ‘hub’ airport, there are a disproportionate amount of short haul point to point flights versus long haul.

There also needs to be a radical rethink of the ‘grandfather rights’ that allow airlines that have traditionally had landing and take off slots to use under occupied or empty flights to block out new routes from coming to the airport and making better use of the existing runways. By doing this, it will preserve and create jobs that Back Heathrow have been scaremongering will be lost whilst improving relations with those of us who live daily in its shadow.

Whatever people’s view on whether we actually need to increase aviation capacity in the South East of England, there is no convincing argument for building a third, and possibly fourth, runway at  Heathrow particularly when weighed up against all the arguments against it.

lies

If we do indeed need to increase aviation capacity in the South East of England then we need to be smarter in our use of the existing airports in concert with Heathrow. In London, we have 7 runways spread around 6 airports. We also have an unused large runway at Manston in Kent that can be re-opened if necessary and would not require the decimation of housing nor bring the noise and pollution issues we would see at Heathrow.

Finally, improving our communications networks should be a priority and would do away with the need for some of the business flights.

I stand here tonight alongside our community and members of all political parties and none who oppose a Third Runway at Heathrow.

Whilst this is a non-politically aligned event, it will ultimately be politicians who make the final decision on whether the runway gets built.

I can relay a message from Jill Seymour MEP, that UKIP stand with you in opposing the Third Runway at both a national and local level.

Make sure that those who seek your mandate at the General Election can say the same with their national party’s support and hold them to account at the ballot box.

The future of our local communities depend on it.

Thank you very much

Last night’s event showed that local communities and those who represent them will not be bullied in to an expansion plan that benefits the corporate interest of the Airport at the expense of  our area. The Third Runway has been beaten before – Through unity, it will be beaten again.

* ‘Astroturfing’ is a term for a fake grass roots campaign propped up by vested interests

 

 

 

 

Heathrow Villages – Electoral promises turn to painful reality

Last Saturday (12th July) saw one of the first important Resident’s meetings in Heathrow Villages after the local elections on 22nd May, which returned sitting Councillor June Nelson in Heathrow Villages and saw Peter Money and Manjit Khatra join her as Labour took all three council seats.

UKIP ward representatives Bryan Tomlinson and Christine Taylor both regularly attend Resident’s meetings, and turned out on Saturday to see what ideas the new councillors would bring to the area. Below are their reports, which contrast the campaigning we saw before the elections with the reality we see now

stmaryschuch

Christine’s View

After being exposed as totally ignorant of important local issues, Heathrow Villages Councillor Manjit Khatra has offered to resign saying, “I’ll go away if you wish and you can get someone who knows.”

 

Cllr Khatra showed she was out of her depth at a public meeting on Satuday 12th July that she co-hosted with fellow newly-elected Labour Councillor, Peter Money.  The third Labour councillor, June Nelson, had booked St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth but did not turn up.

 

The congenial gathering turned into a Baptism of Fire when it became apparent that neither councillor could answer any of the residents’ questions.  The councillors’ responses left residents open-mouthed with disbelief.

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UKIP Earthquake hits UK, Tremors felt in Hillingdon

uglybryanLast year saw UKIP take the media by surprise and the country by storm in the local elections, with 147 councillors elected. Many in the media questioned if this could be repeated again this year, with the locals scheduled for the same day as the EU elections on 22nd May.

After an intensive campaign, the highlight of which saw Nigel Farage totally demolish Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg in two live TV debates on our EU membership, the answer was an emphatic YES!

Local Elections

Iver & Richings park byelection Dec 2013Across the country, UKIP took 163 council seats and tipped a number of councils in to no overall control. This was an overall gain of 128 of the seats contested.

In Hillingdon, we fielded a total of 24 candidates across 22 wards (Single in each, with 2 in both Heathrow Villages and South Ruislip). This was a quantum leap forward from 2010, when we fielded a sole candidate in South Ruislip (Robin Kirby) who finished 10th with 611 votes (3.9%)

Our tactics with  limited finances and a small campaign team very nearly paid off, with some near misses in Harefield, Yiewsley, Charville & Uxbridge South. Out of 22 wards, we finished 4th in 8 and 3rd in the only two councillor ward (Harefield) where our candidate Gerard Barry beat incumbent councillor and former Boris Johnson deputy, Richard Barnes.

A strong UKIP showing in Yiewsley saw a Labour target revert to full Conservative control, whilst conversely our presence in Charville, Heathrow Villages, Uxbridge South and West Drayton saw the Conservatives lose seats, most notably former Mayor Mary O’Connor in Charville.

 

In the Labour heartlands of Townfield and Botwell, UKIP are now the main opposition whilst in the Tory North we outpolled Labour in Cavendish, Eastcote & E Ruislip, Ickenham, Uxbridge North, Northwood Hills, Northwood, Harefield, Manor and West Ruislip.

 

These results have seen us become comfortably the third party in Hillingdon with over 17000 votes cast, with the Lib-Dem’s defeated in every ward where they stood against us. If we take the best performing candidate from each party in the ward to get an average vote share, UKIP took 21.6%  – Better than one in five people who voted put a cross against a UKIP candidate, an encouraging portent of things to come.

EU Elections

voteukipHopes were high that we could improve on 2nd place nationally in 2009 and claim top spot in this contest – As the numbers came in from the count on the night of Sunday 25th , it became apparent that UKIP had become the first political party outside of Labour and The Conservatives to win a national election in over 100 years – The ‘Earthquake’ had well and truly hit!

24 UKIP MEP’s were elected, including our first in Scotland (David Coburn), with Gerard Batten holding his seat in London and Paul Oakley just missing out on joining him as our vote share increased.

In Hillingdon, we had taken 10033 votes in 2009, which we easily eclipsed this time out with 19746, just 1452 short of victory. The Conservatives finished second having lost an 8000 majority from their 2009 result in what had turned in to a tight, 3 way contest.

The night may even have had a triumphal ending if it had not been for 2 ‘spoiler’ parties at the top of the ballot paper, UK EPP and An Independence from Europe – UK Independence Now! (The latter being formed by former UKIP MEP, Mike Nattrass) They garnered over 2000 votes between them, and appeared responsible for at least 100 of the spoiled papers that were scrutinised by myself and officers from Labour, Conservative & Greens.

The Campaign

ruledBrittaniaCompared to the establishment parties, we had a smaller team fighting on much more limited resources but certainly punched above our weight! In my own Charville ward, the Conservatives put out 5 leaflets in a month and had a full canvassing team at their disposal yet still lost a seat and failed to put clear daylight between their candidates and UKIP

Here is the campaign in pictures –

leafleting 1-2-2014

Braving the cold to get an early leaflet run out in Harefield with candidate Gerard Barry back in February

ukip hillingdonteam harlington 15-2-14

A decent sized team out to distribute leaflets advertising a public meeting in Heathrow Villages in February

 

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We love Heathrow Villages public meeting – John Stewart from independent campaign group HACAN Clearskies addresses the audience on Heathrow expansion, whilst Gerard Batten MEP and myself look on.

Hillingdon posters council tax

Banners started popping up all around the borough in February extolling the virtues of Hillingdon Council whilst extra editions of the Council magazine ‘Hillingdon People’ were despatched to every house in the borough. Special ‘Ward’ versions also appeared (below). A freedom of information request showed that Hillingdon Council spent £97000 of public money last year (Excluding design costs) on the magazine.

Hillingdon people mag Ickenham

Ickenham paper delivery Hillingdon People

During an action day in Ickenham in early March, we came across these fine fellows delivering Hillingdon People magazine. Only one spoke broken English and they enjoyed some refreshment on their rounds as can be seen in the picture.

Iliyas in Ickenham

Ilyas out campaigning in Ickenham in March sunshine. A committed campaigner, he spent every day with us in the 2 weeks before the election leafleting target wards for hours and was a prime factor in our West Drayton result.

notice board christine

Christine Taylor in Heathrow Villages putting out our literature in privately owned notice boards. Numerous complaints went in from the other parties about this to electoral services – When they drew a blank the boards were vandalised, triggering a round of tear it down, put it up. Much of the campaigning across the borough was good natured, but not in this ward.

interview bbc 26-3-14

The BBC paid us a visit on a street stall in Uxbridge. Here, myself and Jack Duffin are interviewed by Andrew Cryan for The Sunday Politics

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Early April saw a very busy public meeting featuring UKIP Culture spokesman Peter Whittle and London Chairman Roger Gravett in Charville ward (Hayes)

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The audience look on

Harefieldmeeting15-4-`4

The following week saw another meeting in Harefield, with Gerard Barry centre stage after the late withdrawal of guest speaker on HS2 councillor Chris Adams

pinglestoneclose

Bryan and Christine kept the public constantly updated via their Heathrow Villages Notice Board – Here, Bryan poses with yet more dumped rubbish in the ward that the council failed to deal with

DSC_0455[1]We ran a number of street stalls during the campaign – This one is in Ickenham

 

hayesbillboardBillboards for the EU elections started to appear across the borough  in early May

Labour smear leaflet internet friendlyWith Labour terrified of the UKIP surge, they put out leaflets misrepresenting our policies. When challenged, I pointed to their pledge on tough action on immigration which immediately invalidated the authenticity of the rest of the leaflet.

harlington frenchtvThe final weekend – Followed by France Channel 5, a final blitz in Heathrow Villages. A sitting Labour councillor objected to the camera crew when we bumped in to her and was extremely abusive

 

gerard and gerardGerard Barry out in the final leg of the campaign with London MEP Gerard Batten in Harefield

 

jackanndflagPolling day – Jack Duffin grabs the megaphone

A big thank you to all those in Hillingdon who voted for UKIP in these elections – We look forward to coming back even stronger next time and with your help, changing the tired two party system in effect in our borough that is stopping your voices being heard in the way our area is run.

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Heathrow expansion – A view from the Villages

A message from UKIP Heathrow Villages spokesman, Bryan Tomlinson………

Bryan Tomlinson at conference

Bryan Tomlinson   UKIP Representative for   Heathrow Villages

6-1-14

 

Dear Heathrow Villagers,

I hope you all had a happy and restful holiday and are all prepared for an exciting 2014.

To start with, I’ve got my fingers crossed that a couple of thousand of you are sick of being used and abused by the old fashioned and failing Westminster political parties and put your trust in your local UKIP neighbours.

Heathrow Villages get a rough deal from everyone and UKIP want to help put things right. The Conservatives and Labour don’t even put up council candidates that live among us so what do they know?

 

The No 3rd Runway campaign is a people first and politics second issue and even though Tory and Labour HQ are not to be trusted, we at UKIP Hillingdon stand side by side with John McDonnell MP in opposing Heathrow expansion.

 

We accept his invitation to a Public Meeting Regarding the Airport Commission Interim Report on Thursday 16th January at 7pm to take place at

William Byrd Primary School

Victoria Lane

Harlington.

 

This campaign is as important as it gets, as Heathrow Villages will be uninhabitable if we have another runway and take off/landing flight path built just south of the M4.

Our friends in Harmondsworth will lose their homes and community but the rest of us won’t be too far behind.

 

We must stick together so please support the No 3rd Runway Campaign by turning up on Thursday 16th.

 

UKIP Hillingdon have cancelled plans for a meeting prior to John McDonnell’s to show our support for his sterling efforts and we will be organising a follow up meeting in the near future.

 

Power to the People and see you soon,

Bryan, UKIP Heathrow Villages.