Save Home Farm Green Belt: The Story So Far

In July 2015, a large tract of Green Belt land in Hayes End, Middlesex,  was listed for sale on the property website Rightmove, with a guide price of £5.5m for all 144 of its acres.

The site, known as Home Farm or Hayes Park, consists of fields, woodland, stables, and office buildings, while the bulk of the land is primarily used as grazing land for horses.

For local residents, Home Farm and its surroundings are highly cherished, as they provide them with access to the type of views more commonly found in the Sussex countryside, rather than a bustling West London suburb.

But, in light of the listing on Rightmove, concerns have been rightly raised by residents about the fate of the site once it inevitably falls under new ownership, with many fearful it could pave the way for this sizeable chunk of Green Belt land to be built upon.

Gated entrance to field

Field access, Mellow Lane East

The state of play

Following an abortive attempt to sell the land in late 2015, the site was re-listed in February 2016 for sale, and fresh round of sealed bids sought.

On the back of this, the site has now been listed as “SOLD – SUBJECT TO CONTRACT”

At the time of writing, it is still not known if the site is likely to be sold-off in its entirety, or divided up into five separate lots.

Friends of Hayes End has been in frequent contact with the estate agency overseeing the sale and is awaiting further details of what the new owner has in store for the site.

Either way, no planning permission has been sought to build on it yet either.

However, that hasn’t stopped the local people and businesses of Hayes End, Charville, Park Lane, Kingshill and the surrounding areas pledging their support to fight any attempt to side-step the area’s Green Belt status and build upon it.

As such, news of the threat to Home Farm has taken up column inches in the local press, and has seen residents take part in public demonstrations to show their commitment to the fight.

There have also been public meetings, chaired by Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell, to discuss how, as a community, residents should prepare themselves should planning permission be sought to build on the land in the future.

Following on from this, a further meeting took place on 24 September to discuss what – as a community – our next steps should be to ensure we’re ready should a disagreeable planning application be lodged.

As such, the Campaign to Protect Rural England has pledged to support local efforts to protect the land, and has already added Hayes Park to its map of under threat Green Belt sites within Greater London.

We’re also working closely with local wildlife groups in an attempt to quantify the ecological and environmental risks of losing Hayes Park to development.

Aside from all this, our mission is to make as many people as possible aware of what’s going on, and the long-lasting impact on the local area should the site be developed.

What’s this website all about?

The aim of this site is to provide an up-to-date information hub for local residents, businesses and other stakeholders concerned with safeguarding the future of the local area’s green, open spaces, so check back regularly for updates.

Protect Hillingdon Green Belt is being run by the Friends of Hayes End group, an informal, Facebook-based residents’ association, who also plan to use it as a platform for local residents to voice their support and share details of just why the area means so much to them.

So – if you want to help – feel free to drop us a line at FriendsofHayesEnd@gmail.com

Best wishes,

Your Friends in Hayes End

This article was originally published on 23 August 2015, but was updated on 27 September to acknowledge new developments in the Save Home Farm Campaign.

Hayes Park sale agreed: What now?

The property listing for Hayes Park confirms the site has now been sold, subject to contract.

At the time of writing, it is unclear if it has been sold in whole or as separate lots, but – either way -details should soon start to emerge about what the new owners have planned for the site, and the true nature of the threat this may pose to our area’s green spaces.

While there has been some encouraging news of late around Hillingdon Council’s stance on upholding the Green Belt status of land in some areas of the borough, its decision to allow a school to be built on protected land in Lake Farm is still weighing heavily on the minds of residents. And rightly so.

According to figures published earlier this month, taken from the London Plan Annual Monitoring Report, the number of hectares of Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land lost to development within Greater London doubled between 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The amount of open space lost in 2014/15 as a result of this is the equivalent of an area the size of 40 football pitches, the figures reveal.

Meanwhile, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) recently published its “The Strongest Protection? report into the threat posed to Green Belt areas within the capital, and featured details of the Save Home Farm photo shoot Friends of Hayes End organised in August 2015.

The report, which is available to download here, moves to rubbish the claim that developing Green Belt sites is the only way to address the growing demand for affordable housing in London, while reinforcing why Green Belt areas are so important to the capital’s future.

Community support

Friends of Hayes End attended the report’s launch, and met with a few other campaigners  embroiled in work to protect under threat tracts of Green Belt within their own local areas.

From speaking to them, one thing that is abundantly clear is – should a planning application be submitted to develop Hayes Park’s Green Belt areas – we will need as many people as possible in the local area to raise an objection with the council.

As part of this, we’re in the throes of contacting local schools – including Abbotsfield, Charville Primary School, Hewens College and Swakeleys –so they can make the parents who send their children there aware of what is going on with the site.

Why is that important? Well, given the sheer number of children who use the roads surrounding the Hayes Park/Home Farm site to walk to school, we think their parents would want to know that these quiet, residential streets could soon be accommodating a huge volume of construction-related traffic.

This not only has road safety implications in the short-term, but – depending on the nature of the development – could also result in a sizeable long-term rise in traffic volumes in the area, and – in turn – air pollution levels.

If you or anyone you know sends their children to these schools or has any other ties with them, and wants to help with communicating the message about the risk to Hayes Park/Home Farm to local parents, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We also want, wherever possible, to get local businesses involved in our campaign and to help spread the message, and reinforce the fact that preserving Hayes Park is a community-wide concern.

In terms of what form that support would take, we’re simply looking for local business people who would be willing to use their standing in the local community to reinforce the strength of any objections we – as a group – raise with the council if and when a planning application is submitted.

If you run a local business and would be interested in lending your support to the campaign, email us or drop us a line via the Facebook page. Alternatively, if you make regular use of a local business and think they should be getting involved, encourage them to drop us a note too.

To this end, we recently contacted Heinz, United Biscuits and Bio Green Dairy to make them aware of what’s happening right on their doorstep and to ascertain their interest in supporting the campaign to safeguard the area’s green spaces.

At the time of writing, no response had been received, but we will persevere until we receive some form of response – supportive or otherwise – from them.

But why should local businesses care? One of the early standout results of our Hayes Park user site survey is the high number of residents who have expressed an interest in moving out of the area, should Hayes Park be built on. The view and scenery the site offers is what many residents claim brought them to the area in the first place. So, if it goes, so will they, it seems.

Also, getting involved with community-minded projects should reflect well on them, from a public relations perspective.

What you can do to help:

With the sale of the site now – apparently – a done deal, it is time to step-up our campaign to protect Hayes Park’s green spaces the best we can, and you can help by:

Or, if you want to lend us a hand in some other way, email us: friendsofhayesend@gmail.com