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Lib Dems meet Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaigners fighting Ealing Council over plans to redevelop the site

A delegation of London Liberal Democrats has visited Warren Farm in Southall which is being threatened with redevelopment into a large sports facility by Labour-run Ealing Council.

Campaigners have warned that developing the rewilded wildflower meadow would leave Ealing’s only Skylark population with nowhere to breed and contradicts Ealing Council’s own Biodiversity Action Plan which confirms that Warren Farm is the only place in the borough suitable for Skylarks to nest.

The visit by Hina Bokhari, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member and Rob Blackie, shortlisted London Mayoral candidate also included Councillor Gary Malcolm, Leader of the Ealing Council Opposition and Councillor Jon Ball.

The Liberal Democrats spoke to Warren Farm campaigners who have been fighting the council and its leader Councillor Peter Mason over plans to build sporting facilities which they say will destroy nature.

More than 22,000 people have signed the Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign to get Warren Farm designated Local Nature Reserve status.

In March 2023, businesswoman, environmentalist and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden added her voice of support to save skylarks and other wildlife at Warren Farm from being destroyed in plans by Ealing Council to develop the land into a large sports facility.

Campaigners and nature experts have said if Ealing Council proceeds with its controversial plans, it will amount to “ecocide”.

Hina Bokhari, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member said: It seems almost unbelievable that Ealing Council would even consider building on this site. As I walked through the field, we saw a range of wildlife and birds. The skylarks were singing and flying above us. To use this precious space, when other sites are available for the sports facilities, seems ridiculous. Despite the nature reserve being a hidden gem, many locals discovered this place of beauty in the pandemic. This has become an incredibly popular retreat for residents to find a quiet, peaceful place to visit. I’m not surprised that there has been so much support from residents and the Liberal Democrats for the petition to save Warren farm.

Liberal Democrat Rob Blackie, shortlisted London Mayoral candidate added: Labour’s plan for Warren Farm threatens skylarks and owls that are very rare in London. It’s time for Labour-run Ealing Council to change their plans so that our children and grandchildren can continue to enjoy this unique place.

Councillor Gary Malcolm, Ealing Liberal Democrat Leader said: “Liberal Democrats continue to work with campaigners and residents to stop Labour’s plans from causing the destruction of many endangered species like the skylark and the nationally endangered Copse Bindweed. Its own report that it hid from the public says that Warren Farm should be protected, so they should drop their plans now. Liberal Democrats are urging people to sign the petition which has over 22,000 signatories.”

In a previous statement, an Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “As part of Ealing Council’s plans to declare almost two thirds of Warren Farm Playing Fields as a local nature reserve and the remaining third for cricket and football pitches, we agreed to undertake an ecological survey of the site and this is currently being commissioned. When this is complete we will review the results and take this into account in the next stage of our plans for Warren Farm.”

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