After the forced disclosure of certain documents from Watford Borough Council the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles has refused to back down again. We suspect his motives to be political. While if we win our case we set case law protecting other allotments from having to to go through the same, if we lose the government knows full well that this could and probably will open the flood gates putting other sites under threat from cash hungry developers, councils and the government. Many urban and heritage allotment sites are found in attractive areas for developers, Many, like Farm Terrace, are the only green lung in a highly developed area.
While we have received financial and moral support from many sites up and down the country, it is my fear that many have ignored our fight, thinking if they keep their head down and keep ”out of it’, their plots, their sites, will not be affected.
Throughout history from the times of the levellers up to Orwell and indeed more recently with Fracking there has always been a fight by the ‘common man’ to keep the land he is custodian of, from being taken and used for greed. Now it is the turn of Allotments. Please see Paragraph 3 pg 4 of our skeleton document, expressing the legalities of this and the far reaching consequences of our case –
“These proceedings are of some significance for the continued cultivation of allotments throughout the country. By virtue of his role under the Act and other related legislation, the Secretary of State is the guardian of allotments, their protector against local authorities who have identified more economically valuable purposes for allotment land. On the face of it, the Secretary of State professes strong support for allotments and has promulgated policies which reflect such support. However, the reality of decision-making by the Secretary of State does not reflect the legislative and government policy that allotments should be protected. The Claimants have learned, via the Freedom of Information Act, that in the past 7 years, the Secretary of State has rejected only 4 out of 199 applications made under s. 8. The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (“NSALG”) must be consulted on applications but their views are routinely ignored. And if the decisions under challenge in these proceedings are held to stand up to scrutiny, it is difficult to see what could be left of the supposed policy of protecting allotments.”
Allotments have been academically proven to provide the best form of physical and mental exercise and, in today’s world with problems of obesity and mental health, it has never been so important to promote a healthy lifestyle and to defend our historic rights to allotments. Allotments also provide a haven for wildlife and a much needed boost to the environment on many levels.
We at farm terrace are the thin end of the wedge. If they can take us, they can, they WILL come after yours. If you don’t have an allotment yet, it will be your fields or your parks that they will take. We need to put a stop to this. If you can attend the court hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice Westminster FRIDAY JULY 25th please do. If you can attend our ‘Peasful Demonstration’ from 12.00 – 14.00, please do. If you can donate to our much needed Fighting fund, please do. But Please, PLEASE support us. We must stand together. We must stand united. We must protect our community and our children’s land!