By News Reporters

Tomato seedlings in pots.
Photo by Wesley Stanford, taken at the Grow Heathrow renewable energy weekend.

A transition town group is to appear in Central London County Court today as the owner of  land they are occupying seeks possession. A show of support by other transition town network members for Transition Heathrow, also known as Grow Heathrow, will take place at 9.30am outside the court at Park Crescent, Marylebone.

The transition group set up on derelict land at Heathrow in 2010 and has support from local residents. 

The Transition movement is a network of people seeking sustainable lives and alternatives to mass consumption and importing large amounts of food. There are thousands of transition groups all over the world. In Camden there are several established Transition Towns and there is an attempt to establish one in Fitzrovia on derelict land.

Grow Heathrow are in court in Marylebone today because of a previous adjournment at a hearing for possession of the land. In November 2011, a district judge sitting at Uxbridge County Court accepted that the court needed to have regard to the defendant’s right to respect for the home under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and adjourned the claim to be heard by a more senior (circuit) judge sitting at Central London County Court.

‘Grow Heathrow’ first took over the derelict former-market garden site on Vineries Close, Sipson, in March 2010. Local residents and the Transition Heathrow group cleared up the land, removing 30 tonnes of rubbish, and set up the site as a community-hub and market garden. The project came out of protests against Heathrow’s planned third runway and the site sits directly in the path of where the third runway would have been built.

After months of attempted negotiations with the landowner who was previously using the site as a dumping ground and to scrap cars, Transition Heathrow along with the local residents association and the local MP have set up the framework to buy the land through a Community Land Trust which would give ownership of the site to the local community.

John Mcdonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who will be speaking in court as a witness said:

“Grow Heathrow have taken a derelict site that has caused local residents numerous problems and transformed it into a beautiful area, serving the whole community. I urge the owners to drop this case and let Grow Heathrow remain or failing this I appeal to the court to allow them to stay.”

A statement of support from local residents’ group Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association (HASRA) said:

“The people involved with this project (Grow Heathrow) have transformed the site.

In the process they have created a much-needed community hub for local people who have spent years living under threat of destruction due to proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Their tireless efforts and support have regenerated enthusiasm for community working that inspires the many people who visit.”

Grow Heathrow gardener Joe Rake said:

“After more than two years at Grow Heathrow we have turned the site into a thriving community garden. We want to continue our work with schools, youth clubs and the residents’ association, and really don’t want to see the land return to causing social problems in the area. With John McDonnell MP we are trying to buy the land for a Community Land Trust — we didn’t clear 30 tonnes of rubbish for nothing!”