So, while I am finalising final drafts, let me fill you in…
As most of you are aware, we at Farm Terrace Allotments won a major Judicial Review to stop our beloved, historic Allotment site from being deregulated.
Unfortunately this was not the end.
Despite our immense local and national support and even though Watford Borough Council have already spent a fortune on legal fees regarding our case, they said from the moment we found out we had won that they would put in another submission straight away.
A few weeks ago, we found out that this was indeed the case –
We will of course fight on. We too are putting in a counter submission. The plot holders were ready to compromise with the council to spare either side from having to go through this again, but the council would not budge an inch. They seem hell bent on taking our site no matter what. Their submission includes ”possible’ school, ‘possible’ hospital buildings but no certainties other than housing and a car park. They appear to be using the new exceptional circumstances clause to put this submission through again and we are going to fight this all the way again.
We believe that we have a duty of care to fight until the bitter end. This is not our land, nor there’s. This is community land which has been in service since 1896 and should continue to be so for the next 100 years.
We have accomplished so much;
We have featured in most newspapers and gardening magazines.
We have been on local and National TV and Radio.
We have organised ‘The most colourful protest’ in Westminster.
We have taken our case to Judicial review at the Royal Courts Of Justice and won!
Personally, I have to admit that I was absolutely shattered! I have suffered from campaign fatigue at least 3 times and have had to walk away, just for a couple of days but sometimes weeks. A campaign like this can and will, take it out of you. BUT and this is a big but, it is not resolved. It is not finished. Not for us, not for many other allotment sites. I have been contacting by a further 3 sites facing closure or suspecting they are. I promised that we would Save Farm Terrace and Save All Allotments.
I believe that in order to save Allotments we need to change the law regarding deregulation of Allotments.
The government group responsible for allotments is called the Department of Communities and Local Government. Interestingly, around the time of our very public challenge, the DCLG changed the guidelines appearing to add better protection and added transparency. Unfortunately that is not the case and in fact the new guidelines make it far easier for councils and land owners to close allotment sites.
We need to change this. The first step I believe is to start a national petition.
This is what I am about to do now. I truly believe that we need united national action and that the time to do it is now – it will hopefully save Farm Terrace too.
Those of you know that this is not just about Farm Terrace. It is not ‘just’ about allotments.
This is about standing up to bullies, whether they are in the school playground, or they are your Mayor or it is the government, we must stand together and fight injustices when and where we see them. Because if not, what example are we setting for our children?
More details to come in the next couple of days. Thank you so much for your ongoing support, I will be needing you to not only sign and share the petition (once it goes live) but also to keep talk to friends and family about it and help spread the word.
I will regularly update this blog letting you all know what is happening and where we are. We achieved so much last year, who knows what this year will bring?!
Sara Jane Xxx