You can imagine my complete surprise a couple of weeks ago to see one of the main Watford Council Borough employees delivering to my door, by hand a letter which she disclosed was an offer to meet with the council to ‘talk things out’. We both discussed how long this battle between us had been going on and how “We couldn’t keep doing this forever”. Indeed the impression I received was that this was a first step in a period of negotiation and hopefully compromise that would stop either party from having to go through a third submission, following our High Court Victory.
So on the cold and damp evening of 27 November the three claimants, site supervisor and the President and area representative of the National Society of Allotments set out to meet the council, on their terms, at the council building. However, our elected Mayor was not there. She was represented by her employees who had no authority to make any decisions. It seemed that she was perhaps scared to face us. However we were still hopeful that perhaps the council were considering not wasting any more tax payers money by putting the good people of Watford through yet another long legal battle and were perhaps finally thinking in terms of what was best for everyone.
Their Chief Executive even asked us if we had any compromises to offer! Obviously we replied that this ball was firmly in their court but that we were indeed definitely open to negotiations. We went to that meeting with every intention to seek a compromise. We even gave an assurance that we would seriously consider a reduced allotment. “Give us a week to think about it” their council employee told us.
On Friday the 5th of December the claimants then received notification that there would indeed be NO compromise, NO negotiation, that Watford Borough Council will indeed be putting in a third submission for the use of the WHOLE allotments for housing, a car park. POSSIBLE Hospital facilities and now a ‘POSSIBLE’ school!! As if by putting the word ‘POSSIBLE’ they can pull the wool over people’s eyes about their true plans.What next? How far will they go to get rid of our allotments and how much more of our Tax Payers money will they spend? Their legal bill for our case alone is already around £20,000!!!
We have to wonder why they called they meeting at all… Why waste our time and their (paid) time?
Why will they not enter in a discussion with us about the allotments? Especially when their plans are not finalised. We know that there is a plan that does not include the use of the allotments and we know the hospital is not, and will not be for along time, in a position to expand.
What exactly are they scared of? They could have it all and not waste any more time, effort and most importantly money fighting us, especially as it is not their land nor their money.
It seems to me that our elected Mayor and her council have some sort of personal vendetta against us.
Sara Jane Trebar