A message to the people of Hayes

Hayes, Heathrow Villages and West Drayton can be wonderful places.

I remember when Hayes FC played at Church Road, when we had EMI, Nestles and Fairey Aviation supplying good jobs, when we had a community spirit and hope.

It is time for a change and to throw off twenty years of a Labour MP who cares more about political ideology than a unified and successful local community.

This General Election has been called because the Prime Minster says she needs a solid mandate to make sure that our exit from the EU (BREXIT) is carried out correctly.

The reality is very different – we only got the EU Referendum because of the electoral threat of UKIP and the majority of Conservative MP’s (The PM included) backed the remain side in the campaign.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Desperate Labour playing the ‘English’ card in Stoke

Last weekend saw a massive mobilization of UKIP supporters for the Stoke Central by-election, with over 200 members turning up on Saturday and another 70 on Sunday to support our party leader and candidate, Paul Nuttall.

I spent two days on the doorsteps with Freddy, Jim and Patricia as a four man canvassing team, talking with local residents and receiving a tremendous reception – I was even greeted with a big sloppy kiss on one occasion, albeit from a very friendly fox terrier!

The Labour campaign team had been around one street before us and what I found left me absolutely incredulous.

Playing the ‘English Card’

Left in the road was a Labour leaflet carrying the image of their candidate, Gareth Snell.

To my immense surprise, the Cross of St George was prominent at the top of the leaflet – did anybody run this past Lady Nugee, Emily Thornberry MP, who openly sneered at the sight of an English flag during a previous election campaign in Essex?

Indeed, I find the whole idea of Labour putting the flag of our country on their leaflets quite ridiculous in view of their disdain for our national identity as shown in their policy.

Let me explain……

Continue reading

Why the Labour lies show UKIP can win in Stoke

Following the resignation of Labour MP Tristram Hunt in Stoke-on-Trent, UKIP announced yesterday (21st January) that new party leader, Paul Nuttall MEP, will be our candidate in the subsequent byelection.

paul-nuttall-stoke

The seat is historically a Labour stronghold but their majority was down to 5000 at the 2015 General Election and, significantly, it registered one of the highest Leave votes at last year’s referendum.

The poor turnout at the General Election (Just 49%) shows how disillusioned local voters are with the party that has represented them in the past.

If Labour lose this seat (Plus the other byelection in Copeland, another former stronghold with an even slimmer majority) then Labour could be consigned to a spot in a museum similar to the one that Mr Hunt has left his constituency to take up a post with.

With this in mind, it was no surprise to see Labour Shadow Chancellor and my old sparring partner, John McDonnell, go on the offensive during this morning’s Marr Show on the BBC. However, both his body language and his line of attack show why the Labour High Command are terrified of the UKIP challenge in the seat and must be contemplating the possibility of an embarrassing defeat.

Spin, smear and downright lies

Once again, McDonnell trotted out the standard lie about UKIP wanting to privatise the NHS – this has never been a part of any UKIP manifesto.

Paul Nuttall spoke a number of years ago about making the procurement arm of the NHS more competitive – common sense when we see some trusts paying £25 for a lightbulb and issuing costly prescriptions for painkillers that you can buy for as little as 30p at the pharmacy. Yet in Labour’s eyes, this is ‘privatisation’.

So, let us look at the reality.

Continue reading

Labour MP slams his own party as opposition to 3rd Runway grows

Last week saw the culmination of the Airports Commission Consultation in to expansion at Heathrow Airport and with it increased activity from those who oppose construction of the Third Runway.

Airbus A380 on ground Farnborough 2014

The Commission is currently looking at three options to increase aviation capacity in the south of England – A new Northern Runway at Heathrow, an extension to one of the existing runways at Heathrow to enable it to operate as two, or a second runway at Gatwick.

With the deadline for submissions to the Commission being 3rd February, Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell called a public meeting in Sipson on the evening of 29th January to lay out what the proposals on the table were and how to respond to the consultation.

Continue reading

Time for a sensible debate on immigration

With the end of transitional controls on Romania and Bulgaria on 1st January and the subsequent unrestricted opening of our borders to their citizens under EU regulations, the subject of mass, uncontrolled immigration has emerged as one of the main topics that people in this country are concerned about.

3 Pinocchios

UKIP has been raising the subject for some time now, with our stance being purely about control of numbers to stop the massive strains being put on inadequate infrastructure in this country. This has led to numerous ‘smears’ from the old establishment political parties, from Cameron’s ‘closet racists’ to Clegg’s ‘unpatriotic isolationists’.

More recently, we have been subject to a casual smear in the Guardian by local Labour MP, John McDonnell.

Why John McDonnell is missing the point

On 20th January in The Guardian’s ‘comment is free’ section, Mr McDonnell accused UKIP of ‘bigotry against migrants’ (See link below)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/20/2015-election-debate-peoples-parliament

For an MP in a working class area to use this kind of terminology is worrying, as it is predominantly the working class who are affected by the huge numbers currently arriving in England.

Social Housing

Homes in HayesWe have over 9000 people on the affordable housing waiting list in Hillingdon, some of whom no doubt he will be trying to assist to gain a place to live. With this in mind, how can loading yet more people in to the area when we are short of housing already be a sensible move? This is not bigotry, it is pure common sense – If your bath was full, you would not leave the taps running!

It also fuels the ‘housing bubble’ , with lack of supply pushing house prices up and having a huge knock on effect in private rental prices. This is further distorted where the council have to get involved to house a certain number of ‘Category A on need’ clients to hit targets and no longer have the stock to do so – Private landlords then charge premium rates knowing they have the upper hand in negotiations, with the council having to use your tax money in the shape of housing benefits to enable those category A clients to pay their rent.

With net migration running at nearly 200,000 per year, (With over 500,000 actually coming to the UK in 2013 according to the Office for National Statistics), we simply don’t have the housing available to be sustainable.

Labour recently put a leaflet through my door stating that they would get at least 200,000 houses built per year – In government between 1997 and 2010, they built an average of 24,299 per year (Source – Department for Communities and Local Government). Even if they do manage to build 200,00 a year, it won’t dent the lists (Presuming the prices are reasonable) – It also begs the question as to where the money will come from?

This situation has also seen the rise of the ‘beds in sheds’ phenomenon, with many immigrants having no alternative but to live in substandard and sometimes dangerous conditions. Most would have been better off in their own countries, but open door migration policies have allowed gangmasters to exploit them with promises of a better life in England. A friend of mine and local resident presented you with a dossier on this in your constituency 18 months ago as reported by The Gazette, yet the situation shows no sign of resolution.

The only sensible step is to stem the flood of people coming in whilst the current shortages are addressed.

Jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled workers

David Cameron 2We have over 20% of our 18-25 year olds out of work, yet we have more unskilled workers coming in to this country to compete with them in the jobs that often give youngsters their first foot up the ladder.

David Cameron’s answer has been to defend this by stating that our youngsters are ‘lacking in aspiration’ and ‘not up to the job’  – That is real bigotry, Mr McDonnell, not a principled objection to more oversupply in the unskilled jobs market.

Indeed, you are the Parliamentary representative for the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMT) who recently ran a series of protests about what they refer to as ‘social dumping’ – The undercutting of British workers by cheap overseas labour (Link below)

http://union-news.co.uk/2012/08/rmt-in-dockside-protests-against-social-dumping-exploitation-of-foreign-workers/

It would appear that Comrade Crow agrees with us about the exploitation of foreign workers and the effects on his members – Does that make him a bigot?

Schools

Our branch recently assisted you with the protest about the building of a school on green belt land at Lake Farm Country Park. (Below, with my colleague Ilyas – Did you ask him about bigotry on the day, John?)

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 CD and Ilyas with banner

Whitehall school 1Whilst I am in full agreement that the school should be built on a brownfield site, the underlying reason why there are new schools needed at all is because of the massive surge in immigration and the subsequent rise in birth rate that drives the demand. In 2010, council leader Ray Puddifoot admitted this in the Gazette and said ‘it falls to us’ to provide the new schools.

The Office for National Statistics has released figures in the last week that show 26% of births in the UK are now to foreign born mothers. Moreover, birth rates amongst certain migrant groups are significantly higher than those of British born women from all backgrounds.

In 2011, the average for British born mothers was 1.84 children – The average for those from Afghanistan was 4.25 whilst to Somali born mothers it was 4.19. The Somali figure is particularly relevant in Hillingdon because we have a significant Somali community here, especially in your constituency.

Polish mothers had the highest overall numbers of children born to any ethnic group, with 20,495 being born in 2011 – Again, very relevant in Hillingdon because of the large numbers of Poles living here.

Because of this, it is no surprise that new schools are having to be built at great expense to the taxpayer, when we were closing schools such as Townmead in the nineties because of lack of demand

It is also a concern that many will not have English as a first language, thus disadvantaging them in the classroom and requiring additional support in terms of specialist teachers. This has a knock on effect with all children’s education in these schools and will potentially hold them back when they enter the world of work – Perhaps to be confronted by another wave of unskilled migrant workers, perpetuating the cycle?

 

Time to debate the issues

Uxbridge street stall Oct 2013 with MS MG and Ilyas

There are many other reasons why uncontrolled immigration is harming both our communities and the economy – Destruction of green belt for housing, increased crime through lack of border checks and strain on the NHS to name just a few.

 

Properly controlled, immigration can be beneficial to our country as has been seen in the past, but the last 10-15 years is completely unsustainable based on numbers as I have pointed out in this piece.

 

I would be happy to debate with John McDonnell on this if he so chooses – Indeed, his Guardian piece claims that he would welcome more debate outside of the ‘sterile’ atmosphere of the House of Commons.

 

UKIP will be running a series of free public meetings across Hillingdon in the near future featuring a number of issues affecting our borough – Immigration will be one of the issues discussed no doubt, along with the EU, economy, law and order, HS2 and The Third Runway at Heathrow amongst others.

Rather than asking people to travel to Westminster for a ‘People’s Parliament’, UKIP are made up of ordinary people from all sections of our community who wish to discuss and debate the real issues with real local residents where they live.

Nigel Farage in Beaconsfield Jan 2014

A recent meeting in neighbouring South Bucks saw over 400 people turn out to see party leader Nigel Farage MEP in Beaconsfield (Above), where a show of hands saw less than a quarter of the audience as UKIP members and a lively Q&A was had.

We hope to see you soon for a grown up debate in similar fashion.

Heathrow – Putting politics before the public good?

Heathrow terminal 5Heathrow Airport has been firmly back in the spotlight after Sir Howard Davies recently announced his interim report in to airport expansion in the south of England.

Three options have been put on the table –  A new runway to the North West of the existing airport, an extension of the Northern runway to the west (Allowing it to operate as two separate runways) or a second runway at Gatwick. Sir Howard has also committed to reviewing his decision to rule out an airport in the Thames Estuary, the so-called ‘Boris Island’, later this year – This seems unlikely to make the shortlist.

A Political hot potato

The threat of a third runway at Heathrow is not new – The Blair government were committed to the project, but local residents won out through dedicated and active campaign groups such as NOTRAG and HACAN, with support and assistance from local Labour MP John McDonnell. The people of Hillingdon spoke loudly and were heard – Yet the spectre has come back once again.

So, where do the politicians nationally stand on the issue of expansion?

Conservatives

David Cameron 3David Cameron promised that there would be no new runways during the duration of this parliament, which comes to an end in May next year. Interestingly enough, Sir Howard Davies was reported  as saying this week that he could have delivered a full report on a shorter timetable but had been asked to delay his findings by the coalition government.(Source – Daily Telegraph)

With Chancellor George Osborne known to be a supporter of Heathrow expansion, could this be a ‘fudge’ so that a policy that could harm Tory re-election prospects is kicked in to the long grass? It would also be massively unpopular with at least two Tory MP’s whose constituencies would suffer in Zac Goldsmith and Adam Afriyie, both of whom have been consistent in their opposition to the third runway.

London mayor Boris Johnson has been very vocal in demanding a completely new airport in the Thames Estuary, and attacked both the Davies Commission and the Commons Transport Committee in very strong terms for ruling it out recently, criticism that resulted in Davies using the term ‘vulgar abuse’. Expect more toys to be thrown out of the pram if Boris doesn’t get his own way with his unaffordable and impractical vanity project going forward.

Labour

The original proponents of the third runway, they have officially dropped the idea and are thought to favour new runways at Gatwick or Stansted according to HACAN. (This would make sense, as neither are traditional Labour areas and in theory it would not be too damaging to them nationally at the ballot box)

However, shadow chancellor Ed Balls is known to favour Heathrow expansion and two key union backers in the GMB and Unite have both publicly backed it. Leader Ed Miliband was vehemently against during the final term of the last Labour government, but his stance appears to have softened with a recent statement that he has ‘yet to be convinced’ of the case for Heathrow expansion. Maybe the threat of the withdrawal of Len McCluskey’s wallet may ‘convince’ him in the coming months, although again he will be painfully aware that an unpopular policy could bite at the General Election.

J McDonnell

Local Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell (Above) is a vociferous opponent of Heathrow expansion, which could put him once again on a collision course with party command should the union bosses get their way.

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg 2Opposed to all airport expansion in their 2010 general election manifesto, leader Nick Clegg recently indicated on his LBC radio phone in show that the position may have changed and he could be in favour of a second runway at Gatwick. Party heavyweight Vince Cable remains firmly opposed to Heathrow expansion, which would directly affect his South London constituency

Clegg backed up his statement by saying that Davies sees more growth in point to point flights rather than long distance ‘hub’ solutions, which puts him at odds with his own coalition partners who have stated on numerous occasions that the lack of a ‘superhub airport’  is damaging to our trade with emerging industrial powerhouses such as India, China and Brazil.

Greens

Totally against all airport expansion (Unsurprisingly) – No ‘plan B’ if it is shown that there is demand for additional flights.

Working together locally to stop the third runway

Shortly after the Interim announcement, local meetings were convened to rally support against the third runway.

UKIP Hillingdon postponed our event and attended a non-aligned meeting with cross organisational support in Harlington on 16th January organised by John McDonnell.

Nearly 100 people turned out on a wind and rain swept evening to hear speeches and swap ideas with John Randall MP, NOTRAG’s Christine Taylor and a very late arriving John McDonnell, who had been caught in traffic and initially relayed information to the meeting via phone through his assistant Helen Lowder (Below – I myself arrived over half an hour late due to a combination of work and a serious accident on the M4)

heathrowvillages-meeting-300x225

Noise, pollution and blight were all subjects that were high in the minds of the local residents at the meeting, with questions surrounding the ability of the existing road and rail infrastructure to cope with more people arriving on flights also aired. Our Heathrow Villages spokesman, Bryan, also pointed out to Mr McDonnell the Ed Balls support for Heathrow which elicited a response of “Leave Ed Balls to me” – I would pay good money to be a fly on the wall when that conversation takes place!

I myself made 2 points to the meeting – Firstly, that many residents in London who are not currently affected by noise from Heathrow will be should the expansion go ahead, and those communities and their MP’s need to be made very aware of it. (It would appear that some of the activists at the event are already working on this)

Secondly, in response to a gentleman talking about the roads disruption and the possible closure of the M25 during construction work causing massive delays and extra pollution – If the third runway goes ahead, then a spur will be run from the proposed HS2 high speed rail line to the airport, most likely running through West Drayton and Iver. This makes the two projects symbiotic – An HS2 link is already listed on the third runway plans, so this project going ahead gives extra weight to the campaign to build this monstrous and unnecessary rail project. Likewise, if HS2 goes ahead then part of the economic case for third runway will be that a high speed rail line exists close to the airport already that is relatively easy to hook up and therefore Heathrow has ‘superior transport links’ over it’s competitors in the airport expansion stakes.

John McDonnell replied that he is for high speed rail (Hardly surprising as he is the RMT union’s parliamentary spokesman) but voted against HS2, and was not aware of any current plans as to where a proposed Heathrow HS2 spur would go. I offered to share with him the draft plans that had been seen by some of the Stop HS2 campaigners – These can be seen on the following link at the bottom of the page

http://www.hs2.org.uk/have-your-say/consultations/phase-two/exceptional-hardship-scheme

It was generally agreed that we all need to work together to stop Heathrow expansion irrespective of our political allegiances, which made the report that came in from the council meeting that night almost surreal

Hillingdon Council backs Heathrow Closure

The local Labour opposition group on the council proposed a motion for a ‘better, not bigger, Heathrow’ – Essentially, to oppose the Third runway whilst working to make sure that jobs are not lost by a gradual rundown of the existing airport.

Ray PuddifootRather than discussing the proposal, which on the face of it seems reasonable, the ruling Conservative Group unanimously voted to close the airport – Council leader Ray Puddifoot’s (Pictured left)’Third Way’ as reported by Jack Griffith in our local Gazette.

After hearing of the council meeting, my UKIP Hillingdon colleague Jack Duffin received the below tweet from Tory Cllr Dominic Gilham after he enquired as to what was going on

Heathrow have said without expansion it will close, so it’s a clear choice What do you support as do nothing is not an option?”

https://twitter.com/DominicGilham/status/423963391984926720

A strange tweet, but also quite revealing – Cllr Gilham is essentially saying that unless you expand Heathrow it has to close, a tactic that the airport has been using to try and bully the third runway through.

This also poses the question – Do the council really want expansion and the closure threat is their way of justifying a potential change of heart should a 3rd runway be Tory policy AFTER the general election and in line with the full report from The Davies Commission? If so, this is a very risky strategy – Heathrow Airport Ltd’s Colin Matthews has already stated live on LBC radio to claims that a third runway would be inadequate and a fourth would need to be built immediately after it’s completion that they will do that if required.

Alternatively, with Cllr Puddifoot already having stated in the press previously that he was comfortable with Heathrow closure, are they jockeying to assist Boris Johnson’s Estuary airport and the Mayor’s vision for a high tec based ‘London Borough of Heathrow’? With David Cameron unlikely to survive as Tory leader should they not win the next general election outright, is this an attempt to curry favour with one of his potential replacements?

Either way, the council and indeed their national party should state what their position is and stop playing politics with people’s lives.

We have already seen the council quite rightly opposing the HS2 rail project whilst their national party is recklessly pushing ahead with it – Our two local Tory MP’s, John Randall and Nick Hurd, voted FOR the paving bill that enables money to be allocated to pay for the railway, a clear case of a muddled message that leaves Hillingdon residents unsure of which way their public representatives will react at any given time to their concerns.

As was stated at the public meeting in Harlington, everyone needs to work together to confront and stop Heathrow expansion – We have offered to print leaflets and publicise the upcoming West Drayton third runway meeting that John McDonnell is organising along with our own event in February, which both he and John Randall have been invited to attend (Which they have declined, in John Randalls’ case due to a prior engagement)

It would also be helpful if the major political parties got off of the fence and stated what their intentions are towards airport expansion in the south east and stop hiding behind a delayed report – To start the ball rolling, below is the UKIP policy on aviation in the South of England

 

UKIP’s alternative to the Third Runway

Airbus A380 in flight
UKIP opposes a third runway at Heathrow – The infrastructure surrounding the airport will not support the additional traffic and the environmental concerns regarding air quality and noise need to be listened to.
The public in the surrounding borough’s have made their voices heard and are against – It is time for the politicians to listen to the people.
Likewise, we are not convinced of the need for a ‘super hub’ airport similar to those in Holland, France and Germany. A comparable city to London is New York, which operates with two hub airports (JFK and Newark), a large domestic flights airport (La Guardia) and smaller business airports such as Teterboro.
We are well placed to operate a similar system in the South of England already, with Heathrow operating as one of the two hub airports with it’s existing runways, whilst a combination of Gatwick, Luton and Stansted can cover short haul ‘point to point’ services in the way LaGuardia covers US domestic flights. The business jet community is also well served by London City, Biggin Hill and Farnborough.
Our solution is to develop the existing airport at Manston in Kent (Kent International) as a second, complimentary hub to assist Heathrow.
Manston has the second largest runway in the UK, and can already accommodate the largest airliners including the Airbus A380 (Pictured above). Indeed, it is a designated divert airfield for both Heathrow and Gatwick in the event of problems and has a high level of available safety equipment – BA already use it as a training facility for their pilots.
No demolition of houses would need to be undertaken as would be the case with Heathrow expansion, plus the pollution and noise aspects would be minimised by flightpaths that come in over the channel. The local council are in favour of the project as it would bring much needed jobs to the area (Whilst leaving Heathrow to operate in West London and preserve those jobs that already exist for the communities in Hillingdon and Hounslow)
Expansion of Manston would be far less expensive than the alternatives – With the runway already in place (Plus wide enough that side by side landings would be possible at a future date with minor modifications if demand increased drastically), the only major infrastructure upgrades required would be a revamp of the terminal buildings and links to existing road and rail infrastructure.
A spur line to the existing HS1 channel tunnel rail line, which operates currently at less than 50% capacity, would enable international travellers to be in the heart of London in 40 minutes and give a much needed boost to a loss making service. It would also open up the possibility of international travellers using Manston as a gateway to the channel ports, re-invigorating communities. Indeed, with the City of London being a main economic driver for our country, it could be argued that an additional airport to the east of London would be a better way to service the city than making people disembark at Heathrow and then have to fight their way through central London to go eastwards from Paddington.
Likewise, links to both the M2 and A2 road network can be achieved relatively quickly  and would enable comparatively easy access to London and the South East.
(It is also worth pointing out that a ‘hub’ airport exists to take passengers from long haul international flights and transfer them to short haul flights for the domestic or European final leg of their journey – To this end, it does not matter where the second hub is placed for this particular part of the airport function, as passengers will only be travelling within the terminals and will not need additional transport infrastructure outside of the confines of the airfield.)
We would also look at the issue of ‘grandfather rights’ at Heathrow – Currently, the runways are operating at 98% capacity but the terminals are operating way below that, in the main caused by airlines with historic slot allocations filling them with empty or almost empty aircraft to deny rivals the ability to land. Making Heathrow more efficient would also have a positive knock on effect for employment in the boroughs surrounding the airport.
Aberdeen Airport jet
You can help to stop the third runway
If you are concerned about the impact of Heathrow expansion, please help spread the word.
There are a number of groups organising against the proposals – I have attached links below if you would like to get in touch, or you can contact us at www.ukiphillingdon.com
HACAN Clearskies                                         http://www.hacan.org.uk/
Office of John McDonnell MP                     http://www.john-mcdonnell.net/
iPetitions                                                          http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-third-runway
Zac Goldsmith MP                                         http://www.zacgoldsmith.com/default.asp?contentID=26

Lake Farm – The fight goes on

Regular visitors to the site will be aware that the branch has been helping with the campaign to save green belt land at Lake Farm in Hayes.

Hillingdon council have steamrollered through development of a new primary school on the site in spite of numerous brown field sites being available.

Lake farm Protest Nov 13 assembling at the bandstand

Yesterday, a march was organised by local MP John McDonnell from the town centre to Lake Farm to highlight this issue once again with UKIP Hillingdon members meeting other protesters by the band stand at 12pm (Above)

There was a slight delay as members of the Heathrow Transition Group made their way by bike to join everyone else before departure – They brought some colourful banners with them as can be seen in the pictures below with local Labour group leader Peter Curling.

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 We Love Hayes with Peter Curling

A number of local councillors were in evidence, including Lynne Allen, Janet Gardiner, Phoday Jarjussey and June Nelson.

John McDonnell then led us off, with the three banners at the head of the parade – The smaller ‘We love Hayes’ one up front, with myself and Bryan Tomlinson carrying the third banner proclaiming ‘parks not profit’ .

This banner is a reference to the fact that the Council are selling off the land where the old swimming pool used to be to developers to build a Lidl supermarket – Interestingly enough, this land was ruled out at the council meeting back in the Spring as a site for the school as it is ‘contaminated’, a claim disputed by a former maintenance contractor at the pool. Surely nothing to do with the council being able to sell brown field but not green field sites for development?

With the MP leading the calls to ‘Save our park’ and ‘save Lake Farm’ via his megaphone, the march made it’s way towards the country park – It wasn’t long before myself and Bryan got our banner caught in an overhead obstruction, leading to a call of ‘save our trees’ from Mr McDonnell and a fair amount of laughter from the following procession!

Lake farm protest Nov 13 John McDonnell megaphone

Further mishaps avoided, we took up position on the green at the front of the fences erected by the building contractors and we were given an update as to the current position with regards to saving the land. (Above Left)

Construction work has already started, with fences erected around the perimeter of the works as part of the land is cleared.

The familiar Skylark statue now peeks above the fences and looks rather sad at the impending fate of the park. (below)

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 Skylark

It was pointed out that a legal challenge to the work is still ongoing, but that the council have ignored it and pushed ahead with construction – The position re this is laid out below as explained on the day and also on the Save Lake Farm website

 

Campaigners and the Friends of Lake Farm are challenging the Council’s decision to build on Lake Farm Country Park because the council has failed to follow the proper procedures laid down in legislation when considering the impact of building on the country park.

The council is required in law to undertake a full impact assessment including an equalities impact assessment. The Council has breached this procedure by failing to undertake this assessment. Local labour councillors and the Friends of Lake Farm took legal advice from Irwin Mitchell solicitors and consider that they have the grounds to challenge the council in the courts. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors have been successful in the past in challenging Hillingdon Council for its failure to abide by procedure.

Lake farm protest Nov 13 banners

It was also brought up that the Council are now consulting about additional secondary school places to cope with demand – One of the fears that had been voiced at the meetings about Lake Farm is that if they are putting 650 children here in a Primary school, then what happens when they get to secondary school age? It is not a great leap of imagination to think that the council will come back and take more of the park to build on for this too, despite the brown field sites available.

Indeed, John McDonnell advised us that he had spoken to the developers on the EMI site in Hayes the previous week and they had been amenable to a school going in to their development. It begs the question as to why the Council didn’t think to put that in the planning requirement rather than go after the green belt?

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 CD with banners

With Nestles scheduled to close their plant in the near future with the Birmingham relocation, maybe the planning department should be looking to put the secondary school in the requirements for redevelopment of that site?

When the speeches finished, some of the protestors decided to remove the metal fencing surrounding the wooden fences that had been erected on the edge of the park.

A security guard peered over the top of the fences and shouted that he had called the Police because they were committing ‘criminal damage’ – I commented to Helen, John McDonnell’s assistant, that the real criminal damage was being committed behind the fences.

At this point, a young lady with a high vis bib with ‘legal observer’ on the back started handing out cards with details of what to do if arrested.

Lake farm Protest Nov 13 Police van

Within 5 minutes, a Police van turned up followed soon after by a squad car.

Three security guards then approached the officers, and one of them came over to talk to the group.

Hilariously, the Police had been told by the security team that the protesters had chainsaws with them!

 

This prompted some laughter, and John McDonnell quipped to Helen that she should pass the item to the officers!

 

With our point made, the banners were folded up and the crowd dispersed leaving the security guards to ponder how to put the metal fences back up again.

 

Another view of the day’s events (With superior photographs) can be viewed here

http://winowendyswildlifeworld.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/save-lake-farm-peaceful-protest-march.html

 

Lake Farm – You can get involved

If you feel strongly about preserving our local green spaces, please visit the following sites which give details of upcoming events surrounding the campaign

http://keepbotwellcommon.blogspot.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/SaveLakeFarm

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 Bryan with We Love Hayes banner