Peter Mason says that biodiversity and sports facilities can co-exist at the site
Cllr Mason meets with campaigners at Warren Farm
Just over a week after he was installed as Ealing Council’s new leader, Cllr Peter Mason met with groups campaigning to protect Warren Farm.
The on-site meeting took place on 26 May and included members of the Warren Farm Nature Reserve Campaign and the Brent River Canal Society.
Ideas for the future of the site were discussed and Cllr Mason told the campaigners that the council was committed to finding a compromise between delivering sports facilities for residents and protecting Warren Farm’s nature, biodiversity, and role as an important green space for local people.
A previous proposal to build a large sports facility on the site which would have provided a training ground for Queen’s Park Rangers and access for local residents was ditched when the football club withdrew.
Campaigners would now like to see the site designated as a nature reserve.
Councillor Mason said, “Warren farm has been really important to people in Southall and Hanwell during lockdown as somewhere to walk, cycle and have socially distanced meet-ups.
“The changing rooms and pavilion here have been dilapidated for well over a decade and we’ve tried before to bring them back into use but since then, the sports pitches here have been taken back by nature.
“I want to ensure we can preserve the wild character of Warren Farm as a place for local people to enjoy nature, as well as deliver community sports facilities we know people need.
“I think we can find a compromise that the people of Hanwell and Southall deserve, and I am going work to find out how we can get there.”
In a joint statement the Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign and the Brent River & Canal Society said, "We thank Peter Mason for coming to meet with us during his second week in office. It was great to be able to talk with him in depth about our campaign for Warren Farm Nature Reserve. To have the council leader’s personal commitment to opening a dialogue about this green space is fantastic. We had a constructive conversation.
"Our Local Nature Reserve vision does not include sports pitches on our rewilded meadow. We are advising against the site being returned to closely mown pitches because we know this action would create significant biodiversity loss. From our skylarks to our rare clovers, Warren Farm Nature Reserve continues to show us valuable new species that are dependent on our meadow for their survival. Lockdown has also shown us the importance of open public access and the physical and mental health benefits Warren Farm has brought to the community. All things we are working hard to secure.
"We have over 9,300 supporters and growing who agree with our vision, which we put forward to Cllr Mason. We have expert species records that show our meadow fulfilling biodiversity net gain targets in the borough and our vision is financially viable.
"We will continue to work with Ealing Council to secure the future of Warren Farm Nature Reserve for the community & wildlife. Change starts with conversation."
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June 6, 2021