Jul 18 2012 By Jack Griffith
ANTI-third runway activists who run the Grow Heathrow market garden in Sipson are celebrating a partial victory, after getting permission to take their fight against eviction to the Court of Appeal.
Transition Heathrow campaigners, who established the community garden in Vineries Close, Sipson, in March 2010, have been locked in a legal dispute with the landowner, Imran Malik, for more than two years, after he served them with an eviction notice in September 2010.
Both parties presented their case during a two-day hearing at Central London County court last month with Grow Heathrow arguing that their right to respect for the home, under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, would be breached if they were booted off the site.
Judge Karen Walden-Smith deferred her decision while she assessed all the evidence, and calling both sides back to court on Wednesday (18) last week, she gave a judgement of possession in favour of Mr Malik.
But, in an unusual move, she also granted Grow Heathrow six weeks leave to challenge the decision at the Court of Appeal on human rights grounds. If it is successful, humans rights arguments could become valid in eviction cases.
Grow Heathrow's Joe Rake told the Gazette: "We are treating this as a victory because the judge said we can appeal the decision, giving us another couple of months. The bailiffs can't kick us out just yet.
"It is exciting because the judge accepted our Article 8 argument."
May Mackenzie, another Grow Heathrow resident, added: "We are delighted by this opportunity to challenge current laws which allow landlords to leave land empty and abused."
The contested site sits within the footprint of the proposed Third Runway, and Grow Heathrow moved there in protest of the proposed expansion in March 2010. They, with the help of Heathrow Villages residents, removed 30 tonnes of dumped rubbish before setting up the community garden.
It has since gained the backing of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents Association (HASRA), which has credited the group with creating a 'much-needed community hub for local people who have spent years living under threat of destruction.'
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell, who was a witness at last month's county court hearing, joined forces with Grow Heathrow to try and buy the land through a Community Land Trust.
He said of the ruling: "I am bitterly disappointed, and I will be supporting the appeal. Grow Heathrow has made a major contribution to the community.
"The judge allowing the appeal is a significant step, and we will keep fighting."
Grow Heathrow is now urging supporters to donate to support the costs of lodging an appeal.
To find out more, visit www.transitionheathrow.com/grow-heathrow/