THE battle to save the Medi Parc site from development is not over, despite recent setbacks.
The campaign took a hit in November when a planning investigator recommended Hillingdon Council reject an application for village green status.
The legal loophole would have prevented any development by recognising the traditional use of the green space by the community over a number of years.
But after an inquiry lasting several days, the inspector dashed campaigners’ hopes on that score. Nonetheless, they are undeterred.
“It is important to let people know that we will still fight any new planning applications for the Medi Parc site,” said Tina Wane, chairman of the Save the Medi Parc group.
“We have not given up.”
A meeting to confirm whether Hillingdon Council accepts the inspector’s recommendation will be held on January 22 at the civic centre, High Street, Uxbridge, and although it is expected it will, opponents of the development hope to firstly get some reasons why.
They then hope to thwart landowner Comer Homes’s plans for 80 flats on the site through the usual planning channels.
Comer is expected to put in a planning application shortly after the meeting.
Harefield Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (HTRA) chairman, Paul Stone, said: “Some of that land is green belt, which I don’t think should ever be built on, and it’s next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
“The fight is definitely not over yet.”
When planning permission to build a Medi Parc research campus was granted in 1989, stringent restrictions were imposed.
To occupy land adjacent to Old Park Wood (the SSSI), it had to provide research to directly benefit Harefield Hospital, on whose land it would stand. The open spaces and the wood itself had been used in times past by recuperating patients, many of them suffering from TB, who benefitted from the fresh air.
The secretary of state at the time was careful to ensure the site could not be developed for any other purpose.
Both the 1989 and a 1993 planning approval for the land have lapsed, and in the meantime it has become a popular dog walking spot.
HTRA is holding a meeting on Monday, January 14 at Harefield Library from 7.30pm.
■ Have your say. Email Harefield reporter Hannah Raven at firstname.lastname@example.org.