SIPSON is a village in the north-east of the parish of Harmondsworth that in the past 60 years has three times been threatened with destruction to allow for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
It is the second largest settlement in the parish and is first recorded as Sibbeston in a manorial document of 1110.
The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and it must have existed long before it appeared in the records.
In the Harmondsworth parish registers it frequently appears as Shepiston, which has led to the erroneous assumption that the name is derived from the township of sheep.
In fact it is said to mean ‘Sibwin’s tun’ which reflects the earlier name and has nothing whatever to do with sheep.
The latest threat to the village takes the form of the construction of a third runway and a sixth terminal at nearby Heathrow Airport which would lead to the complete obliteration of the village and the forcible eviction of the villagers from their homes.
The so-called ‘consultation’ paper (the consultation in this case can be defined as seeking another’s approval for an action already decided upon) which was published by the
Department for Transport in late 2007 estimates that 700 houses would have to be demolished, but this is a serious distortion of the true position.
It relates only to the houses directly affected by the development, and takes no heed of those just outside the airport boundary that would be made uninhabitable.
In 1992 a previous plan for a third runway made the more realistic estimate that 3,000 homes would have to be destroyed and if air pollution considerations are taken into account the figure is nearer to 10,000.
The scale of the destruction is so enormous that one can only wonder at the state of mind of those who can even contemplate destroying whole communities and forcibly evicting the villagers just to improve the profitability of the aviation industry.
This is not the first time the village has been threatened with total destruction. In 1946 the then government approved proposals that bore a striking resemblance to those now being put forward – the aviation mafia is nothing if not persistent.
There is little doubt that if the aviation mafia succeeds in its aims to expand Heathrow it would be quickly followed by a demand to extend the runway. British Airways is already talking about the need for a fourth runway and seventh Terminal after 2030 and BAA refuses to rule it out.