Royal Court hearing to Save Farm Terrace Allotments back has been lost
A battle to Save a local alloment in Watford went to the High Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday.
Gardeners at Farm Terrace allotments in Watford believed that a favourable ruling would save not only their own allotments but other similar sites under threat.
Today at around 10:30 the results from Mrs Justice Lang were being receieved, and at midday an emotional video was posted (see below) with regret to the dissapointing outcome.
Mrs Justice Lang ruled on Wednesday that Watford borough council and the secretary of state for communities and local government – who backed the local authority’s plans – were entitled to concrete over them, the gardeners warned that her judgment was a “developer’s charter”.
Sara Jane Trebar tweeted a video : Heartbroken. We lost our #allotmentcourtcase to keep our beautiful site and protect other #allotments . Short term greed wins.
Despite being “bitterly disappointed”, they said that, after consultation with their legal team, they had decided not to appeal against the judgment, which will pave the way for the building of housing, a car park for the town’s football club and a possible future hospital development.
A longer video was posted on Facebook
Watford’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, who had previously described the allotments as “a really hideous, derelict site”, welcomed the decision, tweeting: “Great news for our hospital and our town.”
Under the 1925 Allotments Act, councils can build on allotment sites only if stringent rules are followed, but the government updated guidance in 2014 granting the secretary of state power to allow development of allotments in “exceptional circumstances”.
n a written judgment, Lang ruled that “the interference with the ... rights of the allotment holders was justified and proportionate because of the wider public benefits to be gained”.
The gardeners said after the judgment that “there is no clear benchmark for what is actually exceptional. We feel the term can and will be applied to close other allotment sites throughout the country and we are being made aware almost every week that a new allotment site is under threat of closure for development.”
In a freedom of information request, Save All Allotments found that between 2007 and 2014, 194 of 198 applications to close allotments were granted by the secretary of state.
The number of allotment holders at Farm Terrace had dwindled in recent years after some people took the compensation and the 2012 closure of the waiting list.
Watford News August 22 : Court action commenced on 22 August 2016
A speech was made outside the High Courts in London, and posted on their Facebook, and said
"This has been a very long, very passionate and very emotional case for us all.