TWO men have formed a group to fight the Arla site redevelopment, saying most local people are against it.
They have called for better use for the land than the proposed homes, cinema and supermarket, which they fear will also increase traffic problems.
Don Ticehurst lives in Bridgewater Road, South Ruislip, and Martin Stone lives in West Mead, South Ruislip. Both roads join Victoria Road, where the former dairy site is. They say they will be significantly affected if the project goes ahead in its current form.
“Every morning the traffic backs up to our roads,” said Mr Ticehurst.
“You can’t get through there at the weekends. If this goes ahead it will bring people into South Ruislip from all areas and they will use our roads as a short cut to get to the site. The congestion and the air pollution is already bad enough.”
The pair have recently formed Anti-Arla Action Group (AAAG), whose members are also part of the South Ruislip Residents’ Association (SRRA), of which Mr Ticehurst was formerly chairman.
Mr Stone said: “We have lived in this area for 75 years. We have seen what it used to look like and what it’s become. Our only concern is that we get the right things for South Ruislip. We have got no agenda or anything like that.”
AAAG is against the redevlopment on the grounds it will significantly increase traffic in the already congested area of South Ruislip, at the junction of Long Drive and Victoria Road.
Mr Stone said that the majority of people in South Ruislip are against the redevelopment, even if they do not speak up at residents’ association meetings.
He said: “Everyone you speak to in the street, if you ask them whether they want the development, and all of the consequences it will bring, they will tell you ‘no’.”
Mr Ticehurst added: “It is an eyesore and something needs to be built there, but what we would like to see is housing and an area where people can go to relax.
“We also would like a therapy centre for elderly people in the community.
“At the moment if we have to have an operation, or get physiotherapy, we have to go all the way to Hillingdon Hospital or Mount Vernon.”
Arla Foods, which owns the site, and developer Citygrove, insist they still intend to submit a planning application by the end of the year for the site, which has been derelict since 2006.
Andrew Rennie, from Citygrove, said plans for the redevelopment are still in the early stages, but they incude a supermarket, 10-screen cinema, four restaurants, homes, a hotel and pub and a central piazza with seating.
In October, the Gazette reported how SRRA vice-chairman Sid Jackson welcomed the development as a shot in the arm for the community.
Last month, Arla confirmed it was pressing on with the development despite the news HS2 Ltd had safeguarded a larger portion of the site than first declared, to protect the route of the high-speed line to the rear.
Safeguarding requires a developer to consult the secretary of state for transport, to ensure developments do not interfere with large projects such as HS2.
n Is the Arla/Citygrove scheme good for South Ruislip? www.uxbridgegazette.co.uk/tellus.