Arial view of Warren Farm and protestors chalked message –featured in the Guardian.
STOP PUBLIC LAND BEING GIVEN AWAY TO BILLIONAIRES BY LOCAL AUTHORITIY.
Ealing Council is giving away over 60 acres of publicly-owned, community sports fields, designated as Metropolitan Open Land (which should be protected to the same level as Green Belt) on a 200 years lease, for no rental income all.
They have agreed to give Warren Farm School Sports Centre away to a Football Club, owned by billionaires for the benefit of their shareholders.
The Save Warren Farm Campaign has launched a Judicial Review against a second planning application and we need your help now.
This crowdjustice page has been set up to raise the funds to mount the legal challenge to prevent the land from being lost to the community forever. Please donate now.
Solicitors have requested a judicial review of what the Campaign believes to be unlawful decisions by Ealing Council firstly to grant planning permission to Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club for their elite corporate Academy and training grounds, and secondly ‘gifting’ a lease for publicly owned land for 200 years at a peppercorn rent to a limited company owned by billionaire with no annual rental income in return.
The Campaign seeks legal justice to protect access to public open land for future generations; we are fighting for all the adult, community and schools’ groups that will no longer be able to use Warren Farm School Sports Centre. We fight for those groups that have been displaced by Ealing Council’s decision to ignore their rights to 100% of the land in favour of gifting it away to Big Business.
Please donate now to help save Warren Farm for the community.
If this is allowed to go ahead unchallenged it will create a disturbing precedent throughout London and the UK, where Councils could dispose of Public owned land in secret, to satisfy limited companies’ commercial needs and to displace and exclude communities from their land.
Therefore, there is no other course of action than to make a stand against these decisions and take Ealing Council to Judicial Review.
ABOUT WARREN FARM
WARREN FARM taken from Windmill Lane side of the 61 acres of Metropolitan Open Land.
The land in question is Warren Farm School Sports Centre it is (not a farm although there are horses living adjacent on both sides), but a well used borough publics ports field that allowed groups, schools, clubs, horse riding, model air plane flying, events, APNA inter school championships, the Tamil School Sport championships, and many residents accessing the land for recreation to relax or commute across the field to work or to the pubs on either side of the land, or simple to enjoy nature and bird watching. Warren Farm currently has recently established little owls, and protected Skylarks.
Warren Farm is a rare piece of pristine Metropolitan open land. It is currently filled with meadow flowers, and wildlife, protected ‘little owls’ and the current sightings of sky larks. It also contains a SINC (area of significant nature conservation) which will be entirely destroyed to make a service road in the new plans.
Warren Farm, is a destination for daily visitors, enjoying the Canal, the local pubs, the impressive Hanwell Flight of Locks, and wandering across them up into Jubilee Meadows and on to Warren Farm. Similarly from the Windmill Lane, Norwood Green and Southall sides, many people commute daily across the established footpaths on Warren farm to work. The area is cherished and visited by 1000’ s of people each and every week, day in day out.
The open green site is bounded on both sides by 2 residential villages, it is a peaceful residential area, and there are no shops or public transport tfacilities in the immediate adjacent area.
The land is situated on Warren Farm, Windmill Lane, London on the bourders of Ealing and Hounslow.
WARREN FARM SOON TO BE DESTROYED BY LANDFILLED TO NET £4MILLION TO CORPORATE TENANT QPR.
Warren Farm have the best drained pitches in the whole of West London, open for hire, when all others were water logged and unable to play on. It was a sporting asset that was well loved, and well used, but in dire need of investment into the changing rooms and reception areas. The building footprint was compact and functional and the grounds were open on both sides in line with it's MOL open status. However the changing rooms and facilities were systematically run down in what seemed a deliberately attempt by the council to craft an argument for its disposal. There were excuses made that there was no funds available, whilst at the same time the Council spent a surplus in their budget on buying a car park in Southall, and investing in other sports facilities in the borough. Existing clubs were moved off Warren Farm with financial incentives to do so, along with a nursery school, and these club and groups will no longer be able to use the grounds once the new tenant takes occupation. Considerable money was spent on affording vacant possession, upon disposal of Warren Farm. Ealing's largest sports ground cost only £37,000 a year to maintain.
Campaigners can see an alternative future for Warren Farm, that includes grant funding investment required to redevelop the changing rooms and reception area. They want to see it re-open to the general public keeping without increasing the existing development footprint, complimenting the open Metropolitan Land 'countryside' feel of the area. A plan that protects the SINC in its entirety, and keeps the land open to all, for generations to come.
“It’s harder and harder to experience landscapes that have a predominantly rural character within London. That’s something that we think is vital to quality of life, and local campaigners believe it should be included in the plans to make London the first national park city to help make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. The benefits are clear. From children’s development to improved physical and mental health, active engagement with nature is key to a better quality of life for Londoners.
Warren Farm is an area of extreme local importance. It represents a unique example of London's biodiversity cherished by daily visitors. With investment from grant funding, Ealing Council could be providing their own sporting provision for generations to come and building on the nature that exists on the site, not destroying it with landfill to benefit a commercial company, blocking access to its residents. Campaigners aim to "conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area" and "promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of Warren Farm by the public
QPR’S CURRENT PLANS FOR WARREN FARM.
Ealing Council have granted Queens Park Rangers planning permission to develop it into a gargantuan training ground and exclusive corporate development. This will include a private Head Quarters press office, VIP overnight accommodation with over 700 car parking spaces. They have agreed to dispose of the 61acres of land in a lease spanning an unprecedented 200 years, in exchange for a peppercorn, with no annual rental income coming back to the borough.
Hanwell Community Forum's solicitor Rheian Davies or DH Law Limited said 'It is shocking that this public land has been given away so cheaply and with so little legal protection for the community.'
The land has been disposed of for less than market value, as Ealing valued the site as farm land, whilst it is called a farm it has not been one for a considerable time, and in any event, we do not believe the valuation took into account the increase in value once planning application for a considerable HQ , offices and overnight accommodation had been granted to it. The boroughs valuer’s valued the 61 Acres at £1.2million, when indeed we believe that to be nearer £31million and more if you take into account the value with new corporate commercial buildings to come.
Whilst QPR will be responsible for the upkeep of the tiny allowed community space, it sees the loss of 2/3 of the land to their private VIP Corporate buildings, a 300% increase in the footprint of the existing buildings on Metropolitan Open Land. They will be providing a new poly tunnel style indoor sports hall, and 8 new changing rooms that the community will have access to in the future, but for how long is entirely unclear, as this so called community space is not delineated in the lease, offering the opportunity for it to be removed at any time. Therefore there is no protection for on-going community use, and no guarantee there will be any dedicated community sports area in a few years let alone 200. This is seen as a valid exchange for fencing off the land, eliminating free access, and destroying the land whilst the tenants keeps the revenue for approx £4million to infill the land.
SAVE WARREN FARM believe it is entirely disingenuous to suggest that this is a good deal for Ealing for the next 200 years. Furthermore Ealing have failed to sufficiently demonstrate an argument for 'special circumstances' to build on MOL, nor justified the considerable environmental damage to come.
It is believed that Ealing Council have also failed to demonstrate the “special circumstances” required to allow building on Metropolitan Open land.
Furthermore they have no responsibility or hold any remit that requires them to supply land for a corporate headquarters, let alone grant the permission to earn millions from irrevocably destroying nature and open public access to the land.
The general public do not accept that disposing of land worth conservatively £31million to save the council £37,000 running costs per year, represents good asset management.
When you consider the pitch fees in the last year of operation amounted to £58,000 revenue, even with run down changing rooms, a small grant funded investment in the current changing rooms would certainly see the site “wash it’s own face” whilst remaining open to the public in it’s entirety.
NEW TENANTS FINANCIAL CREDITIBILITY? - RIGHT TO REMORTGAGE THE LAND AND RE-ASSIGN THE LEASE.
Queens Park Rangers Holdings Limited is a corporation owned by billionaires but as a Ltd company, it is currently profoundly debt, approx £200million, and awaiting a further fine of over £50million for breaking the Financial Fair Play rules that are designed to discourage rich owners buying success and endangering the financial health of their clubs.
Therefore we do not believe there will be access for the community in 5 years let alone 200, and if the company is already struggling to meet its debts having over spent In recent years, with aggregate losses of £156 million, (this rises to £218 million if exceptional debt write-offs of £62 million by the shareholders are taken into consideration). Financially this is a real tale of woe, that in the last two years has seen the company making total losses of £135 million in that period alone (excluding the fancy footwork in the accounts).
According to a new article in the Telegraph, state QPR is one of the worst run football clubs in England, in deep financial trouble and “technically” bankrupt, therefore campaigners are struggling to see how they can represent an appropriate guardian of a 200 year lease for a public asset of such importance, nor why they are being afforded so much, with so little responsibility to the community, and no fail safes in place to deliver it.
The residents are greatly disturbed to know that despite these crippling financial problems, Ealing Council still feel it appropriate to grant QPR, the right to raise a mortgage against the land or create a charge against the value of the land and or to use it as security against a debt by using publicly owned land as collateral, with out further permission from the council. and also to re-assign the lease, which could take the land in it's entirety out of public use, and without the small pocket of land for Community use, being delineated or protected in the lease in perpetuity for generations to come, should QPR ltd go bankrupt the small amount of so called community space could be extinguished at any time, with the land being assigned to an unknown 3rd party. In any event QPR will make approx. £4million from the landfill ‘ scheme they will execute on Warren Farm, even before the lease is granted.
We believe the land is being illegally given to a ltd company to re-finance their business, via the ability to re-mortgage the land, and reassign the lease with no further permissions required from the council. However as all the meetings between the company and Ealing were held in secret and un-minuted, it is hard to say exactly what is going on or how Ealing Council can legally be allowed to do this. Let alone allow QPR to benefit from a ‘muck away’ scheme which will net them and not the council approx. £4million.
The local community fail to comprehend why Ealing Council would squander publicly owned land to support a financially beleaguered ltd company that can re-assign it at will. They do not believe that QPR are a suitable guardian of the land, and that they are not in appropriate financial position to guarantee their role in the transaction. It raises the question why is Ealing Council are even considering this deal.
This has necessitated no other course of action but to issue a further judicial review, on new grounds with a new Barrister specialising in Planning and Environmental cases to fight the legality of Ealing Councils decision to grant Planning permission for this development and it’s land fill scheme.
VIEW OF WARREN FARM FROM HANWELL SIDE OF THE SITE. SOON TO BE REPLACED WITH A 5m HIGH LANDFILL WALL.
So a Ltd Company can make £4million.
Yet this is what is happening in Ealing’s Warren Farm School Sports Ground in West London, And no doubt if this is allowed to go ahead - something similar could be happening near you tomorrow
THE MUCK AWAY ‘ Landfill earthworks scheme’
The first planning decision was granted, subsequently it was re-presented with what were described as minor additions. The minor additions, include a “Landfill” muck away scheme, where by Ealing Council have allowed the tenant the right to accept 180,000 cubic metres of un-quantified "Landfill material, to level off the ground to suit the tenants new aspirations with regard to their financial return.
The Landfill scheme will destroy established wildlife and complex biodiversity on the previously untouched site. In real terms, this importation land fill scheme constitutes an 8 month program of importation of 180,000 cubic metres of unqualified landfill. Delivered by 150 HGV trucks a day, 300 trips in and out of the site, one every 4 mins, thundering past residents, destroying property and polluting the environment in 60 trucks per day 300 per week, making a total of 19200 truck movements reverberating past residents, delivering the land fill to the site to dump the loads
The purpose of the levelling off of ground, is to meet the financial aspiration’s of QPR, by allowing for more football pitches to facilitate greater revenue for QPR.
This land fill importation scheme will also net the tenant approximately £4million pounds which will also be retained in its entirety by QPR and is paid by the contracting companies who dump their waste on the ground. This landfill site is unnecessary and could be entirely prevented. There is no public requirement or benefit to the public that would necessitate the scheme, the disturbance, or the destruction of nature on the site. It is unwarranted and unacceptable when it is for the sole financial benefit of an elite football club owned by billionaires. Therefore we believe the decision to allow it must be legally challenged as a scheme that favours a corporate company’s requirements over the needs of residents, wildlife nature, and open public access, should not be allowed on publicly owned open Metropolitan land.
Furthermore the land fill material being brought on to the land, will then form a 5m high (15.6ft) wall at it highest point on the Hanwell side, adjacent to the historic flight of locks, and the conservation area of Old Hanwell, blocking out access from residents.
ARTISTS IMPRESSION OF THE PROPOSED LANDFILL WALL RUNNING ALONGSIDE THE HANWELL SIDE OF WARREN FARM.
DUST SUPRESSANT SPRAYING FOR 8 MONTHS.
EXAMPLE: of a typical land fill importation scheme requiring dust suppressants
The planning application outlines the necessity to spray the site with dust suppressants, in an attempt to contain the detritus and dry fog from descending upon local residents, the infirm at Ealing Hospital, the adjacent food producing allotments, the stables, and vulnerable horses and the children at St Marks School. This will also affect the many daily walkers using Jubilee meadows and the tow path by the canals below. A scheme Ealing Council do not believe requires an independent Environmental assessment, to fully assess the risk and impact the importation “Muck Away” schemes poses to wildlife, residents, horses and property close by.
We dot not believe this to be a good deal for Ealing residents, and therefore we have no other course of action but to bring a judicial review to address the decision to grant planning permission and the advent of the new landfill importation addition to the initial planning permission.
Save Warren Farm Action Group want the land to remain open to the community and would like to seek funding for its regeneration to be sourced and the site re-opened to the public and the future generations of Ealing and London residents in the next 200 years.
Our group's intention, is to bring a claim in a 2nd judicial review against Ealing’s decision to grant the alterations to the inidital planning permission for this inappropriate development and subsequent destruction and disposal of public land to Billionaires.
With your help we can do something about this.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS FOR UK PUBLIC LAND.
It is not just Ealing’s Warren Farm Sports ground on metropolitan open land that is at risk of commercial exploitation, but all London's & the UK's open spaces are under increasing threat from exploitation and development through commercially intensive use of a finite resource. This impacts on our fragile green space that is key to the mental health and wellbeing of all residents of Ealing, particularly those without the benefit of their own gardens and those local children at schools that do not have any open space that competed in the APNA interschool tournament who will no longer be able to use Warren Farm once QPR take over their space.
There is a strong and diverse local voice, across the Borough of Ealing, objecting to this deal and locals continue to sign a petition and now we are asking residents of Ealing and London, to generously donate to the on going legal fund.
ACTIONS - PLEASE TAKE ACTION AND SUPPORT US NOW.
•DONATE - here
•SIGN - our every growing on Go petition and 38 Degrees currently standing at 2854 signatures
•DISCUSS ON TWITTER- Please talk about the campaign to decision makers and Friends on Twitter #Warrenfarm or follow at @SaveWarrenFarm