CAMPAIGNERS are outraged after the town hall dug up a section of Haven Green to install cycle racks, saying it sets a dangerous precedent for further loss of the green.

The Friends of Haven Green said they allowed the stands in the corner of the green by the Shanakee pub, Ealing Broadway, because they were told they would be temporary, and were shocked when diggers moved in to install others with a concrete base.

But Ealing Council says a rubber mesh will allow grass to grow through while protecting the grass covering the concrete being trampled.

However, the Friends and Central Ealing and Acton MP Angie Bray argue any encroachment on the green space should be stopped.

Friends chairman Greg Phelan, said: “It’s the only green space in the centre of Ealing. It’s one of the jewels in the crown and they want to nibble away at it piecemeal as it suits them.

“They don’t consult or listen to anyone they just do what they want. They’re backsliding and arrogant.”

Campaigners point out it has been common land since medieval times and is protected under the 2006 Commons Act. This means government permission must be sought before any work not improving the enjoyment of the green is carried out.

But the town hall says the 110 permanent stands with new landscaping and two new CCTV cameras are an improvement and too minor to require permission.

A spokesman for DEFRA, the government department in charge of village greens, said a government inspector may have to make the final decision.

But the council point out a similar complaint made about the building of a nearby covered cycle hub with 123 stands was rejected by the Local Government Ombudsman in November last year.

Campaigners also said encouraging cycling on the green without clear signage to separate them is dangerous and said the stands should have been installed in the carpark off Springbridge Road.

The council’s transport and environment boss, councillor Bassam Mahfouz said a rise in demand meant the stands were needed.

He said he ‘held his hands up’ over the lack of signs but that it would be addressed in a big project later in the year to improve bus, cycle and car travel to and from the station.

He said: “Our surveys show 83 per cent of people cycling into Ealing Broadway went on to use the station. People want to park as close as possible, it’s human nature.

“We’ve been in touch with the Friends of Haven Green for a while about the plans and there has been plenty of opportunity for them to comment.”