WALTHAM ABBEY: Farm owner defends missile base

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Netherhouse Farm Netherhouse Farm

A FARM owner who was refused permission for the country’s largest solar park has defended his decision to let the military use the land as a missile base for the Olympic Games.

Netherhouse Farm in Waltham Abbey is one of six sites around London shortlisted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide silos for ground-to-air Rapier missiles.

The missiles have a range of 10km and would be used to shoot down terrorists attempting a 9/11 style airborne attack on Olympic venues.

Farm owner Tommy Tomkins has angered his neighbours in the past with a succession of plans for the site in Sewardstone Road, including a housing estate and a 20 acre solar energy park, and the latest plans have prompted fears that they themselves could become a terrorist target.

Debbie Braxton, 37, of Sewardstone Road, said: “I have two kids, aged four and 11, and I don’t want them to be around that kind of thing.

“Residents need to understand what the risks are. If they shoot a plane out of the sky, where’s the debris going to land?

“I understand they want to protect London, but they’re putting other people at risk as a result.”

Jean Grant, 65, also of Sewardstone Road, said: “Something has to be put in place, but I think this would be quite an easy target to get to if someone wanted to make a point.”

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Farley of the MoD conceded that there would be a danger to the public from debris if a plane was shot down, and that the missile base could be a target for terrorists.

“There is a risk that could happen,” he added.

“But we hope what we’re doing is deterring people from even thinking of committing an attack from the air.

“We are talking about a system of last resort.”

Mr Tomkins denied that he invited the military to use his farm, and said that he would receive no fee from them.

“Not too long ago, they approached me,” he added.

“I had discussions and said ‘of course you can use it’, for national security. To me that’s very important.

“I own the land and I’ve not got any problem with it. Why would I not let them use it? It’s common sense.

“National security goes in front of local residents.”

A final decision on the base will be made after military exercises using dummy missiles, which is due to get underway today (Wednesday).

People living near the site have been invited by the MoD to inspect the missile system at the farm at 4pm on Friday.

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Comments (6)

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11:32am Wed 2 May 12

word of mouth says...

so debris from a plane may fall on your house, this must be better (not for you) than a plane flying into London and causing hundreds of injuries.
The debris will fall on you if you are 10k away so if you live next door to it you'll be safe(ish)
Grow up and be reasonable people.
so debris from a plane may fall on your house, this must be better (not for you) than a plane flying into London and causing hundreds of injuries. The debris will fall on you if you are 10k away so if you live next door to it you'll be safe(ish) Grow up and be reasonable people. word of mouth
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Wed 2 May 12

spur123 says...

What that person is saying is that her kids 'not being round that sort of thing' is more important that protecting the lives of thousands of others. Get a grip. Maybe we should stand down all armed police at airports and major train stations when her little cherubs are around too?
What that person is saying is that her kids 'not being round that sort of thing' is more important that protecting the lives of thousands of others. Get a grip. Maybe we should stand down all armed police at airports and major train stations when her little cherubs are around too? spur123
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Wed 2 May 12

G_Whiz says...

Blimey - Whatever happened to the blitz spirit eh! - it's the whinging wimps that need to defend their stance not the farmer.
Luckily we were built of Stronger stuff back in 1940 - otherwise we would all be speaking German!
Blimey - Whatever happened to the blitz spirit eh! - it's the whinging wimps that need to defend their stance not the farmer. Luckily we were built of Stronger stuff back in 1940 - otherwise we would all be speaking German! G_Whiz
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Wed 2 May 12

ShinySue says...

I have no problem with it and they can put a missile on my back garden if they like.
I have no problem with it and they can put a missile on my back garden if they like. ShinySue
  • Score: 0

1:52am Sat 5 May 12

WCBMI5 says...

During the last outbreak of general unpleasantness I can recall the delight, in September 1940, with which the arrival of large numbers of extra anti-aircraft guns was greeted in this area. For a few days after the raid on 7th September 1940 very few guns were able to engage the Huns at night but with extra artillery there was a continuous barrage with bits of shells falling like rain! Not safe to walk the streets and many slates and skylights broken but everyone slept better for the sound of the guns! We are now facing an even more sly and dangerous enemy and I'm glad the government seem to realize that! If you meet the rocketeers - buy them a drink!
During the last outbreak of general unpleasantness I can recall the delight, in September 1940, with which the arrival of large numbers of extra anti-aircraft guns was greeted in this area. For a few days after the raid on 7th September 1940 very few guns were able to engage the Huns at night but with extra artillery there was a continuous barrage with bits of shells falling like rain! Not safe to walk the streets and many slates and skylights broken but everyone slept better for the sound of the guns! We are now facing an even more sly and dangerous enemy and I'm glad the government seem to realize that! If you meet the rocketeers - buy them a drink! WCBMI5
  • Score: 0

9:19am Fri 11 May 12

Walthamforest1993 says...

Like a plane will ever get hi-jacked that's all non fiction story's so do get a grip. Spend that money elsewhere why would we need an army to help us like we're helpless beggars.
Like a plane will ever get hi-jacked that's all non fiction story's so do get a grip. Spend that money elsewhere why would we need an army to help us like we're helpless beggars. Walthamforest1993
  • Score: 0

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