Gunnersbury Campaigner Invited to Downing Street

Bela Cunha Rewarded for her efforts

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A campaigner who has spent years fighting to protect Gunnersbury Park has been rewarded for her efforts with a trip to Downing Street.

After protesting outside Britain’s most famous road on many occasions, Bela Cunha has now been invited inside Number 10 for a reception to acknowledge community heroes.

Ms Cunha, of Lionel Road North, Brentford, has spent nearly two decades campaigning to protect the park, which has seen its grounds and buildings suffer in recent years from lack of funding.

She said: “Of course I'm thrilled to be asked although I will feel a bit of a fraud because the place will probably be full of real heroes who have pulled people out of burning buildings or swollen rivers and nearly 20 years of fighting Hounslow Council over Gunnersbury Park can't compare.

“But still, it's very nice to have my dogged persistence over all these years to save the Park from commercialisation.

“I’ve been an activist all my life. I’ve been demonstrating past downing street dozens of times and now they’re opening the door to me.”

Her dedication has seen Hounslow and Ealing councils, who jointly manage the park, open up their previous private meetings of the Gunnersbury Park Regeneration Board to the public.

She also used the Freedom of Information Act to get hold of minutes of the meetings where ideas for the future of the park, including selling off part of the land, were discussed.

Ms Cunha and the recently formed Save Trees in Gunnersbury Park (Stig) are now campaigning to protect hundreds of trees in a 5.6 acre stretch of the park, along Lionel Road North, which has been earmarked to be sold for private development.

It had been claimed by council-appointed consultants that the sale of the land was the only way the £39m needed to regenerate Gunnersbury Park could be raised.

She was invited to next Thursday’s event by Brentford and Isleworth MP, Ann Keen, who has been campaigning alongside Ms Cunha to protect the park.

To find out more about Stig, including its Halloween fundraising event,

Contact:Giusi, Lucy or Martin  on 07719 387 106
Join: GoogleGroups / Facebook “STIG – Save Trees In Gunnersbury”
View: and

There is a stakeholder forum meeting, open to all on Saturday October 24th at 11am.The stakeholder forum was initiated to encourage community involvement. It is an opportunity for any interested party or individual to attend a meeting to raise concerns and issues, to be informed on regeneration initiatives and to explore opportunities for volunteering and partnership working at Gunnersbury. Please contact Richard Gill for details on 020 8992 1612 or

With thanks to



October 19, 2009