Grow Heathrow prepares to resist eviction

IssueOctober - November 2014
News by Kimberly Golden

It’s been a symbol of resistance to the third runway at Heathrow for four-and-a-half years, but after a July court ruling, the campaigners behind a community space in Sipson are under threat of eviction.

The ‘Grow Heathrow’ campaign began in 2010, when activists took over a neglected property on the site of the proposed new runway for Heathrow airport. Since then, the group has been fighting a battle in court to remain on the land.

In mid-July, the high court ruled in favor of the landowner, businessman Imran Malik, and the campaigners were served with an eviction notice from the Oxbridge county court.

Over time, the squatters in Sipson have turned the site into a sustainable hub for the public, creating a market garden and offering workshops in anything from bike repair to straw bale house construction, as well hosting birthday parties and other events.

On 15 August, after a month of preparation, the activists at Grow Heathrow barricaded themselves into the property with more than 100 supporters from the community and awaited the bailiffs with music and chants, vowing to peacefully resist the eviction.

Grow Heathrow campaigner Cameron Richards said that the group has been trying to buy the land from Malik throughout the entire court case, and that they would love to have the site as a secure community land trust that could benefit anyone.

Eviction phone tree

A phone tree system has been set up on site, so if an eviction begins, mass calls can quickly be made to supporters so they can rally behind the organization just as they did before. Those living on site are also prepared to do what they did last time, and use methods like barricading themselves inside and going into underground tunnels to resist the bailiffs.