ANTI-caravan park campaigners were denied the opportunity of submitting their petition to councillors in person.
The group have collected more than 3,700 signatures in opposition to plans by Harrow Community Sports to convert land at Broadfields Country Club in Headstone Lane, Harrow, into a 75-pitch camp site, and had aimed to make their point in force by handing in the list of names to Harrow Council’s cabinet committee on Thursday last week.
The meeting was cancelled, however, because cabinet members were dismissed by council leader Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar after the announcement the day before he and eight other left-wing colleagues had broken away to form a new Independent Labour group.
Lead petitioner Georgia Weston, of Headstone Lane, said: “The only person who was available to collect it was the leader himself, because he had dismissed everyone else, and I thought he’d just come down but he didn’t.
“Three-thousand, seven hundred people signed the petition and then up to 70 were going to come to the meeting. That one man denied our rights to democracy.”
The petitioners wanted to lodge the document ahead of the planning committee on Thursday that had been earmarked to debate the application. However, that meeting may now not go ahead, and its membership could change, due to the political upheaval at the council.
Ms Weston said: “We have written to members of the planning committee and we have lobbied them and now it might not be the same people at the next committee meeting.”
The campaigners can hand in their petition, but they had wanted to demonstrate their strength of feeling in person at a council meeting.
They were buoyed by the news Sport England has objected to the ‘complete loss of usable playing field’ and who said ‘there is still a demand in sport terms for the site to be retained and used’.
Ms Weston added: “There is very strong opposition from all over Harrow. The message is: ‘Playing fields need to stay as playing fields’.”
Harrow Council’s director of planning and regeneration, Stephen Kelly, said: “We always welcome petitions at planning committee meetings and residents who oppose the Broadfields Caravan Park application can present their petition direct to the planning committee on May 29.”