They thought that their homes were safe, but a letter from Hounslow Council to residents at two showmen sites in Feltham suggests that a long-fought battle against the local authority’s new housing scheme may not yet be over.
A year of uncertainty seemingly came to an end for the showmen last month, after a last-minute meeting with council officials saw them back down on plans which would have seen current residences at the Station Road and Bedfont Lane sites – which have been home to showpeople for over a century – torn down as part of a new affordable housing scheme.
But in a (badly crumpled) letter sent last week to showman spokesperson Yasmin O’Brien, the council’s strategic director Peter Matthew seemed to suggest that the long-term safety of the two sites was far from secured.
“It is right that the council retains its long-term aspiration for the development of Feltham including the regeneration of the Station Estate Road, New Road and Bedfont Lane sites”
“It is right that the council retains its long-term aspiration for the development of Feltham including the regeneration of the Station Estate Road, New Road and Bedfont Lane sites,” he wrote, going on to claim that future development plans would be put “informally” before the public this coming January.
“I hope this provides you with the [sic] clarity regarding the council’s intentions moving forward,” ends the letter.
But O’Brien judged the letter to be anything but clear. “Now I am moving onto the next stage of what I think we should do,” she posted to the Save Feltham Showman Facebook group. “Please stay on this page and add anyone you think would want to support us.”