Our family letter to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr Ellis,

Ref:  Farm Terrace Allotments, Watford, Hertfordshire.

We write in response to Watford Borough Council’s (WBC) application to remove Farm Terrace Allotments under “section 8” of the 1925 allotments act.

As members of the Farm Terrace Community Association challenging WBC’s request, we have of course already signed the official Association response. This is a personal representation made by ourselves which we ask be considered separately to the Association response.

The impact of having to go to Paddock Road will be drastic for us.

Section “8” criteria – adequate provision will be made for displaced plot holders, or that such provision is not necessary or is impracticable. (Be comparable in terms of size, accessibility and convenience, and should not normally be ¾ of a mile from the centre of demand)

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As you will see from our address details and the Google route plan provided below we currently live to the north of Farm Terrace allotments (0.4  miles from Farm Terrace) and 2.2 miles from the proposed site at Paddock Road.

We understand that Watford Borough Council have suggested some plot holders can be relocated to “Hollywell” located 0.5 miles Farm Terrace and that the proposals will be to locate some tenants here should the Secretary of State grant permission.

We have been told by one plot holder at Hollywell that there are less than ten plots available, and we understand that in any event these plots will be prioritised for those tenants who have special requirements and needs.

Clearly, therefore we anticipate that ourselves, along with the overwhelming majority of Farm Terrace Plot holders, will be offered a replacement plot at Paddock Road.

We would immediately submit that this offer to be relocated to Paddock Road is simply not acceptable to us, because it is not adequate provision; it is not comparable in terms of accessibility or convenience, at all.

Referring back to the maps above, firstly in terms of the distance, the route itself would take us through the most congested streets of Watford. We would have liked the opportunity to present to you a film taken to illustrate the difficulties of walking with three toddlers through the sheer amounts of traffic one would be required to encounter in this journey. Unfortunately we don’t have the time to do so, but the map should give some illustration, and we have no doubt that the journey would be a nightmare.Sara Jane does not drive. She will be deprived of the opportunity of walking to the allotment herself with our three small children, which is what she frequently does, being a stay at home mother. Our three children, aged 6, 4 and 2, have become attached to the allotment. They have learnt about cultivation, wildlife, and have their own little raised beds on our allotment. It has a become an integral part of their life because it is so easy for them to access as it is on their way to and from school.  As it stands, Farm Terrace is on our doorstep, and to suggest that Paddock Road is therefore comparable in terms of accessibility is not simply an affront on common sense, but will in itself be prima facie grounds for a Judicial Review, on the basis that it is “Wednesbury unreasonable”.

The plots offered on Paddock Road, are on a previously uncultivated pony paddock. The soil there is very heavy clay, which we have been told by eye witnesses to be currently waterlogged and flooded. The location of the new plots is at the very end of the Paddock Road site, at the most southerly point. Again, this further maximises the distance which all Farm Terrace refugees will have to travel.

We have personally worked hard since 2009 to get on top of our plot. It was previously held by a plot holder for probably 40 years, and was himself gardening into his 90’s, and have inherited a fully mature vine, which has established itself right over our shed, and produces bags and bags of grapes every year, and a huge raspberry bed, which could not be transplanted. Yet we know there are many more plot holders with even more to lose than us.

We ask you to consider that granting WBC’s application will have the effect of taking away a whole family’s future, when we say it doesn’t even meet the thresholds set out in S8.

 Yours sincerely,

 Massimo and Sara Jane Trebar

Plot 85b – Farm Terrace Allotments 

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2 thoughts on “Our family letter to the Secretary of State

  1. Principal section 8 criterion:”the allotment is unnecessary and surplus to requirements”.
    In their submission entitled “Information needed to consider consent to dispose of allotments”, on p.18,they state:
    “Whilst Farm Terrace allotments are not deemed to be unnecessary or surplus to requirements …….”.
    End of story.No need to talk about ‘adequate provision’.

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