Having made their home in Sipson, west London, since 2010, a group of squatters have transformed a derelict plot of land into a community market garden in a bid to prevent a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport. Under the name 'Grow Heathrow', the group are not prepared to give up their self-built homes easily and have offered their supporters workshops and coaching lessons in how to defend the land. The group of squatters have occupied a slice of greenbelt land for the past four years, seducing their supporters with a post on their website, offering up nature's rewards.
With fifteen full-time activists and hundreds of supporters have helped clear the site of thirty tonnes of rubbish, building a self-sufficient community. The new residents care for the land, building homes from trees, selling produce in the local shop and offering workshops on subjects from bike maintenance to foraging, for anyone who wishes to join them. The group wanted to create an environment for the residents of Sipson at a time where there is an anticipation of a new runway at Heathrow.
But while Sipson properties may have been spared under new plans, which would see a potential runway built further west than originally proposed, the Grow Heathrow protest site still lies in its path. The land is owned by businessman Imran Malik and although the activists have garnered support from local residents, MPs and even a judge, they have been told that despite the commendable work it is time to hand the land back to its rightful owner. In 2013 Mr Malik, represented by Burch Phillips & Co Solicitors, secured a ruling to evict them, a decision that was upheld during a challenge by the activists at the Court of Appeal; making the fight for the land even more critical. During a period when the control, and right, of the landscape is at its most critical, the project Grow - Decay has commenced. Coming from words scribed by the squatters; Grow - Decay observes the landscape of such a politically-charged location juxtaposing a self-sufficient community with Europe's busiest airport. The project will document a year in the life of the site, focusing on both the structural and natural change within the camp whilst giving insight into how the land is being used to promote a positive angel of a thoroughly unique off-grid lifestyle. The project Grow – Decay is on-going.
* Rose, B. 2014. Grow Heathrow Squatters Ready to 'resist' Eviction