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Portobello community stands up against plans to turn iconic area into bland shopping centre

Hundreds of protestors, including children and ponies, took to the streets of West London on Sunday afternoon to protest against the plans of a charitable trust whose remit is to look out for their best interests.

The streets beneath one of London's most iconic modern structures, the elevated motorway across Ladbroke Grove, known as the 'Westway', were filled with creative and sporting activities for 4 hours. Children and parents from local schools including those from a controversially closed integrated children's centre, came out in force to show disapproval at recent decisions made by the Westway Trust.

The Westway Trust is the latest incarnation of a body set up to ensure the community benefits from the 23 acres of land beneath the motorway. The land was given as compensation for the construction of the motorway 40 years ago. Many homes were lost at the time and today local residents live with the highest pollution levels in the country.

Many services have already been shut down or are threatened with closure. Westway Stables, home to 22 horses and ponies, is the latest community service to come under threat following the closure of the Outstanding-rated Maxilla Children's Centre and arts venue The Flyover, despite numerous protests and support from local councillors.

Organisers, Westway23, formed after 17,000 people signed a petition against the Westway Trust's redevelopment plans. The land has been mired in controversy since the motorway's opening in 1970. And Sunday's protest continues that legacy.

Photo credits: Zute Lightfoot

For more information about the Westway Trust’s plans see:

http://www.westway23.org

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