Teacher's petition to save Newham City Farm hits 40,000 signatures

Protesters gathered outside the gates of Newham City Farm.

Protesters gathered outside the gates of Newham City Farm. - Credit: Ken Mears

A teacher's petition against plans to shut down Newham City Farm has reached 40,000 signatures.

Newham cabinet members unanimously voted for the permanent closure of the farm earlier this month.

But campaigners have said that the farm provides a well-managed green space, essential for the community and young people.

The council has said that the farm’s site will be used as a public green space and that it will consult with residents on its use.

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It added that “significant issues” with the farm meant that it needed to be closed.

The council has also stated that the farm’s animals will be safely rehoused, with most already moved to other locations.

A petition to stop the farm’s closure, set up by Newham teacher and resident Alison McLucas, has already attracted 40,000 signatures and looks set to reach its 50,000 signature target.

Alison told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that she used to bring her children to the farm and that she wanted young people in the area to continue enjoying its benefits.

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She said: “People believe that children, families and the communities should have access to a farm in the area.

“Our children don’t go outside their area and it’s really important that they know where their food comes from.

“There are all sorts of reasons for having a farm: volunteering, work experience, youth crime, to help children have somewhere to go.”

Alison added that she and thousands of others who signed her petition want to see the farm open, but said there was concern over the council’s engagement with the community and what it plans to do next.

She said: “It’s vague what they’re saying – they’ve moved from it being closed to redeveloped.

“That might include an animal offer, and it might include a farm, but we’re saying that’s not good enough, it needs to be a farm.

“We want to see it open for the community, for education, for wellbeing, for special educational needs. It is a really important asset to us.”

Newham Council was contacted for comment.

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