Farm Terrace allotments campaigners: 'we are still optimistic that this is not the end'

Campaigners Gerry Barker with (l-r) Mary Reid, Malcolm Meerabux, Wendy Ballie, Virgine Jones and Peter Ballie.

Campaigners Gerry Barker with (l-r) Mary Reid, Malcolm Meerabux, Wendy Ballie, Virgine Jones and Peter Ballie.

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Campaigners hoping to save West Watford allotments from development in the health campus scheme have vowed to fight on.

The Farm Terrace Community Association will be consulting solicitors about mounting a further challenge to the government’s decision to allow the 118-year-old allotments to be used in the development.

Last month, the Department of Communities and Local Government gave Watford Borough Council permission to build on Farm Terrace for a second time.

The initial permission had been revoked after a legal challenge from allotment campaigners.

Following the latest setback, Sara Jane Trebar, from the Farm Terrace Community Association, said: "Clearly we were disappointed but we were prepared and with the money we have raised we had lawyers waiting. We have a meeting with them in January where we will decide how to move forward.

"From what we could tell from the decision it basically seems to be the same points as before so it will be interesting to see what the lawyers have to say.

"We have been here before and we are still very optimistic that this is not at all the end of the road for us."

Ms Trebar also said the association was planning to make sure Farm Terrace will be an issue in the forthcoming Watford mayoral race.

Liberal Democrat elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, will be seeking re-election to a fourth term in May.

Last year her administration voted to include the allotment land in the health campus scheme, which promises to redevelop land behind Vicarage Road with 600 homes and new hospital facilities.

Farm Terrace had initially been protected in the development, but council said it was needed to make the project economically viable.

The issue has become politically charged after the Labour challenger in the mayoral election, Jagtar Singh Dhindsa, pledged to save the allotments if elected.

Ms Trebar added: "We also have a mayoral election and Labour fully support us so we will be working with them. Of course the mayor and the council will be going along talking about a new hospital but the residents know this is all spin as there is no funding and there are no concrete plans."

This week Mayor Thornhill said any renewed legal challenge over the allotments would not stop progress over the health campus.

She said: "The Farm Terrace campaigners will do what they feel they have to do. That’s their choice of course. They have the support of Labour and the Greens but they are in opposition so it’s easy for them.

"We will make it clear to the majority of voters that Labour do not support the new hospital facilities, jobs and homes. We will be making sure that every single resident in Watford understands Labour would put allotments before the town and wider benefits."

Following the mayor’s comments, Councillor Dhindsa said he supported the hospital and felt it could be redeveloped while retaining the Farm Terrace allotments.

He added: "We have always been clear, we support the new hospital. When Claire Ward was MP she supported it and the Labour party has always supported a new hospital and jobs but we feel it can be achieved by keeping Farm Terrace. Both are possible, keeping the allotments does not jeopardise the hospital.

"It is just that the current administration is putting houses there, not a hospital, as they want to make more money out of it. That is what we object to."

Comments (12)

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5:18pm Thu 2 Jan 14

phil mitchel says...

I hate to say this but the mare will do all she can to build on the allotments, she doesn't like vegetables. Except those vegetables they call Lib Dem councillors who do her bidding without question, those grown in allotments have a whole lot more personality and charisma than the ones in the Town Hall.
I hate to say this but the mare will do all she can to build on the allotments, she doesn't like vegetables. Except those vegetables they call Lib Dem councillors who do her bidding without question, those grown in allotments have a whole lot more personality and charisma than the ones in the Town Hall. phil mitchel
  • Score: 11

5:40pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Doctor of Letters says...

The arrogance of Thornhill & her doomsday threats are risible. Politicians more generally are self-serving, sub-prime vermin; we can plan our lives more successfully without their industrialising wreckage. Here's wishing the Allotment holders fortitude in their bid to continue their sane activities.
The arrogance of Thornhill & her doomsday threats are risible. Politicians more generally are self-serving, sub-prime vermin; we can plan our lives more successfully without their industrialising wreckage. Here's wishing the Allotment holders fortitude in their bid to continue their sane activities. Doctor of Letters
  • Score: 12

6:34pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Save the allotments!
Save the allotments! Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 5

7:14pm Thu 2 Jan 14

-Nightingale- says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Save the allotments!
Ha ha you would say anything to get votes. Bore off opportunistic politician.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Save the allotments![/p][/quote]Ha ha you would say anything to get votes. Bore off opportunistic politician. -Nightingale-
  • Score: -3

10:19pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

I can understand your cynicism, I feel that way about many of our politicians in the UK from the LibLabCon party. So do a lot of people in this country. You only have to look at Clegg, Blair, Cameron to know exactly what I mean and Milliband is not inspiring is he? Once he gets his hands on the reins of power he will be equally bad.

UKIP is different, that's why people are flocking to UKIP, we believe in a more honest form of politics, getting away from the lies and spin of the other parties.

Saving Farm Terrace allotments is something that I personally believe in. I believe they can and should be saved for the people of Watford.

Clear enough?
I can understand your cynicism, I feel that way about many of our politicians in the UK from the LibLabCon party. So do a lot of people in this country. You only have to look at Clegg, Blair, Cameron to know exactly what I mean and Milliband is not inspiring is he? Once he gets his hands on the reins of power he will be equally bad. UKIP is different, that's why people are flocking to UKIP, we believe in a more honest form of politics, getting away from the lies and spin of the other parties. Saving Farm Terrace allotments is something that I personally believe in. I believe they can and should be saved for the people of Watford. Clear enough? Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 2

1:24am Fri 3 Jan 14

Summer breeze says...

DO NOT vote Dorothy Thornhill back in as mayor - a liar and someone who does not give a toss about local opinion. Do not let these historic &loved allotments be concreted over! Local people have a voice but our current elected Mayor is not listening & does not give a sh*t. This is all about money from housing & has nothing to do with a campus. Wait & watch: bet she makes more false election promises - don' t fall for it.
DO NOT vote Dorothy Thornhill back in as mayor - a liar and someone who does not give a toss about local opinion. Do not let these historic &loved allotments be concreted over! Local people have a voice but our current elected Mayor is not listening & does not give a sh*t. This is all about money from housing & has nothing to do with a campus. Wait & watch: bet she makes more false election promises - don' t fall for it. Summer breeze
  • Score: 12

11:08am Fri 3 Jan 14

Andrew Turpie says...

Personally, after the the old Lab/Con making a hash/counter hash of the UK for decades, I looked at the Lib Dems as the alternative. Clegg and his broken promises over student loans and Dorothy and her lies and underhand tactics to get the ££ from the proposed housing (causing misery of not only the current residents in situation, but those willing to be hoodwinked into paying top dollar for a new house, with no GP surgeries, guaranteed school places and streets that remain like a car park at the most of times). Looks like its time to chose another party now.... Bye bye - shut the door on the way out and the last one one please turn off the lights..
Personally, after the the old Lab/Con making a hash/counter hash of the UK for decades, I looked at the Lib Dems as the alternative. Clegg and his broken promises over student loans and Dorothy and her lies and underhand tactics to get the ££ from the proposed housing (causing misery of not only the current residents in situation, but those willing to be hoodwinked into paying top dollar for a new house, with no GP surgeries, guaranteed school places and streets that remain like a car park at the most of times). Looks like its time to chose another party now.... Bye bye - shut the door on the way out and the last one one please turn off the lights.. Andrew Turpie
  • Score: 4

12:18pm Fri 3 Jan 14

EU_OUT_NOW says...

This week Mayor Thornhill said any renewed legal challenge over the allotments would not stop progress over the health campus. I don't normally agree with Dotty, I am a member of an opposing party, but on this occasion I must say I do agree with her, the bigger picture has to be taken into account. It has to be viable for the construction company, otherwise we may not get the Campus/Hospital at all?????
This week Mayor Thornhill said any renewed legal challenge over the allotments would not stop progress over the health campus. I don't normally agree with Dotty, I am a member of an opposing party, but on this occasion I must say I do agree with her, the bigger picture has to be taken into account. It has to be viable for the construction company, otherwise we may not get the Campus/Hospital at all????? EU_OUT_NOW
  • Score: -6

1:34pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Andrew Turpie says...

EU_OUT_NOW wrote:
This week Mayor Thornhill said any renewed legal challenge over the allotments would not stop progress over the health campus. I don't normally agree with Dotty, I am a member of an opposing party, but on this occasion I must say I do agree with her, the bigger picture has to be taken into account. It has to be viable for the construction company, otherwise we may not get the Campus/Hospital at all?????
We need to be pragmatic here, the population is growing (migration, reproduction & living longer) faster than this health campus could support. I for one don't wish millions of tax payers money to be wasted on the project for it to be closed five years later when we are back to square one. We need a new purpose build super health campus with access to all, not just for Watford, but we need to look to cater for the places that were closed down as well. Somewhere near M25/A41. Throwing money at WGC would be like papering over the cracks.
[quote][p][bold]EU_OUT_NOW[/bold] wrote: This week Mayor Thornhill said any renewed legal challenge over the allotments would not stop progress over the health campus. I don't normally agree with Dotty, I am a member of an opposing party, but on this occasion I must say I do agree with her, the bigger picture has to be taken into account. It has to be viable for the construction company, otherwise we may not get the Campus/Hospital at all?????[/p][/quote]We need to be pragmatic here, the population is growing (migration, reproduction & living longer) faster than this health campus could support. I for one don't wish millions of tax payers money to be wasted on the project for it to be closed five years later when we are back to square one. We need a new purpose build super health campus with access to all, not just for Watford, but we need to look to cater for the places that were closed down as well. Somewhere near M25/A41. Throwing money at WGC would be like papering over the cracks. Andrew Turpie
  • Score: 0

3:07pm Fri 3 Jan 14

dontknowynot says...

Andrew has a point although I am not to sure that I agree, the old workhouse site is well placed in a sense and there is room for development without using the alotments,. Whilst there are access problems at certain times getting into Watford the same could be said about getting out of Watford to the site he identifies swings and roundabouts.
As for EU_out he seems to be at odds with UKIP here
Labour at least are clear on this as are the Libdems
The Local Tory party seems very quite as do the Greens
The law does seem to give Save farm terrace some hope here and really it might be premature to push ahead to much as Judicial review could well come down on Save farm terraces side.
Andrew has a point although I am not to sure that I agree, the old workhouse site is well placed in a sense and there is room for development without using the alotments,. Whilst there are access problems at certain times getting into Watford the same could be said about getting out of Watford to the site he identifies swings and roundabouts. As for EU_out he seems to be at odds with UKIP here Labour at least are clear on this as are the Libdems The Local Tory party seems very quite as do the Greens The law does seem to give Save farm terrace some hope here and really it might be premature to push ahead to much as Judicial review could well come down on Save farm terraces side. dontknowynot
  • Score: 3

2:15pm Mon 6 Jan 14

TRT says...

http://www.guardian-
series.co.uk/news/10
724366.Post_Olympics
_allotments_return__
scandalous_/

More broken promises regarding allotments.
http://www.guardian- series.co.uk/news/10 724366.Post_Olympics _allotments_return__ scandalous_/ More broken promises regarding allotments. TRT
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Lucy60 says...

Health Campus latest 'consultation' document has upped the number of houses again-
"Quality homes - with around 700 new homes created (over 15 to 20 years), including much-needed affordable accommodation."
Are we are going to need to knock the football ground down to expand the 'hospital' that will accomodate Watford's population?
Health Campus latest 'consultation' document has upped the number of houses again- "Quality homes - with around 700 new homes created (over 15 to 20 years), including much-needed affordable accommodation." Are we are going to need to knock the football ground down to expand the 'hospital' that will accomodate Watford's population? Lucy60
  • Score: 0

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