The threat posed to Home Farm’s Green Belt Land has caught the attention of The Campaign to Protect Rural England, who has pledged to support local resident-led efforts to safeguard the site from development.
The environmental charity’s London branch has added the Home Farm site to its map of at-risk Green Belt sites within the M25, and has agreed to assist the Hayes End community in any future planning disputes that may arise from the forthcoming sale of the land.
As previously reported by Friends of Hayes End, the 144-acre Home Farm/Hayes Park site was recently listed on property website RightMove with a guide price of £5.5m.
Viewings of the site by prospective buyers were concluded this week (8 September), while Bidwells – the property consultancy overseeing the sale – has confirmed interested parties until 24 September to submit their bids for it.
At the time of writing, no planning applications concerning the site are understood to have been submitted to Hillingdon Council, but the uncertainty over the land’s future has been the subject of growing concern within the local community.
Since news of the land sale emerged, the plight of Home Farm has been featured in the local press on several occasions, and has been the subject of an extensive poster campaign across the local area, as well as a peaceful demonstration.
Securing the support of the CPRE constitutes a major win for the local community’s efforts, as the organisation has been actively involved in drawing attention to similar campaigns at both a local and central government level in the past and at present.
For example, CPRE is currently lending support to the Keep Osterley Green campaign in Hounslow, West London, by submitting objections to a planning application that could see a free school built on Green Belt land known locally as White Lodge.
It has also thrown its weight behind the Save Oakfield Site campaign in Redbridge, after the local council made moves to sell-off the area’s playing fields, which were granted Green Belt status in the 1930s.
Alice Roberts, green spaces officer at CPRE London, said there are many misconceptions about the protections afforded to the UK’s Green Belt land by the government’s planning policies.
“Most people believe that Green Belt land is protected, but [our] research shows that politicians are allowing land which is much loved and well-used to come under threat from development. Astonishingly, this includes playing fields, recreation grounds and even local parkland,” said Roberts.
“Local campaigners are battling to save these spaces and we think it’s time their local councillors, our Mayor and our MPs take action.
“We want them to stop just saying that they want to preserve the Green Belt and actually take action to halt these threats,” she added.
The Save Home Farm campaign has support at local government level from John McDonnell MP, who has previously overseen efforts to safeguard Home Farm from development, and is currently serving as a member of parliament for Hayes and Harlington.
“We know that the vast majority of Londoners oppose building on Green Belt land, so we’re asking people to support these local campaigns,” continued Roberts.
“People can also write to local MPs and councillors, and the Mayor, to ask them to halt the threats to Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land in London right now.”