Eco-protesters have broken into the former Scottish Widow site at Kew Bridge and set up a sustainable community - complete with compost toilets.

More than 70 green campaigners scaled a wall to get on to the site, earmarked for a controversial multi-storey development by developer St George, on Saturday and have cleared the land, set up a kitchen and tents.

Although the protesters are not campaigning against the development, they claim neighbours of the site are pleased with the eco village as it could stall development plans.

Eco village founder Gareth Newnham, 30, said: “The idea is to show the people of London what can be done. Since we occupied we have built a kitchen and a sustainable toilet and are getting a lot of support from people.

“We plan on holding open days in the coming weekends and asking people who live nearby what they want to do with the land. Every weekend we expect more people to come and set up there tents as part of our eco community.

“Because of the proposed use of the site our neighbours are being friendly. We are planning on staying long term as this site really can showcase community-based sustainable methods of living such as vegetable growing, compost toilets.”

St George, whose managing director Ian Dobie is also chairman of Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust, had hoped work on its the development of flats and a business centre would be under way but after locking heads with the council in January it went back to the drawing board and submitted a new proposal in March.

Critics Brentford Community Council (BCC) slammed the amended scheme, which saw the proposed number of flats drop from 300 to 170, as it argued it failed to meet the brief or objections, submitted to the council in a six-page letter last June.

Mr Newnham said his group have even had a welcome visit from the police.

He said: “On the first day the police did come to see us and we explained there were no dogs or sound systems on the site.

"Then yesterday four officers came and said if we are bothered by any drunks late at night to give them a call.”

Mr Dobie said:"St George West London, the landowners of the Kew Bridge Road site, are aware that the site was illegally occupied on Saturday 6 June by a group of squatters.

"We are currently considering what action to take.

"Whilst the site is currently unused, a planning application for a major new public square on the river, over 150 homes and commercial space to provide up to 100 jobs is due to be considered by the London Borough of Hounslow this Summer. 

"If planning permission is granted later this year, St George will be looking to start this regeneration project as soon as possible."

What do you think about the eco village? leave your comments below