Campaigners dress as animals to deliver letters about farm closure

women dressed as cow and sheep with a post bag

Campaigners delivering the letters to Newham Council - Credit: Save Newham City Farm

A herd of campaigners descended on council offices dressed as cows and sheep to protest the closure of their beloved farm.

The closure of Newham City Farm last year sparked outrage among residents who said it was an essential part of the community.

Dressed in animal onesies, a  group of Save Newham City Farm protesters travelled to Newham Council’s headquarters on Wednesday, January 19 to hand in a stack of letters to councillors.

There was a letter for all 60 Newham councillors, asking each whether they personally supported the farm’s closure.

The group said that residents had a right to know who was in favour of the farm closing ahead of May’s local elections.

Campaigners outside the council offices

Campaigners outside the council offices - Credit: Save Newham City Farm

The protestors added that they have already gathered more than 50,000 signatures on a petition started by teacher Alison McLucas.

Maureen Parker and her son Tom, who has Down’s Syndrome, volunteered at the farm for years before it closed down.

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She said: “I asked time and time again why the farm was not reopened with no response. Tom misses the farm dreadfully, asking all the time when he can go back to work.”

Kim Thompson, the mother of two disabled adults who used to enjoy the farm they lived close to, said: “We heard nothing of the Newham City Farm closure. There were no notices or signs to inform residents or potential visitors to the farm.

“For us, it was a lifeline, a great meeting place, education centre and somewhere to walk in the fresh air, socialise with their peers and make friends with animals."

Alison McLucas, who started the petition against the farm’s closure, also said there had been little consultation with the community before the farm’s closure.

She said: “Many families and schools were completely unaware that the facility had been closed permanently until informed by our own campaign team.

“We have resorted to hand-delivering a letter to all elected councillors to try and secure a more mutually respectful relationship which we are still keen to develop.”

A council spokesperson said: "We have committed to the farm site remaining a publicly accessible green space for the community. Unfortunately successive organisations have been unable to maintain the farm and it is no longer feasible to operate.

"We will be engaging with the community this spring as we develop the Beckton Parks Masterplan. This will include exploring the potential for future animal provision within the parks."