Government rules Farm Terrace Allotments can be built on as part of Watford health campus

Watford Observer: Government rules allotments can be built on in health campus Government rules allotments can be built on in health campus

Campaigners have lost their bid to save Farm Terrace Allotments from being concreted over as part of the Watford health campus.

Today, the Department of Communities and Local Government ruled the 117-year-old allotments can be developed as part of the scheme to build 600 new homes and new hospital facilities on the land behind Vicarage Road.

The decision comes after the department rescinded initial permission it granted earlier this year to build on the allotments following a legal challenge from the Farm Terrace Community Association campaign group.

Watford Borough Council then had to submit a second application to use the allotment land as part of the regeneration scheme.

Today’s decision was welcomed by Watford’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, who said: “Whilst in my head I never doubted that the right decision would be made, clearly it has been a long grind and a difficult one and you know there are times when you wonder.

“Asking to build on allotment land was not a decision we took lightly.

“Part of that redevelopment is around securing space for new hospital facilities.

“I don’t want a chief executive of the hospital in five or ten years time to turn around and say, ‘if we only had some ground, if we only we could’ve done that’.

"I don’t want to be responsible for Watford General Hospital not to be able to improve its facilities in the 21st century.

“It’s about regeneration. It’s about jobs. It’s about houses for local people. It’s about creating a new part of town and a new neighbourhood, and turning a derelict, grimy spot into something we can all be proud of.

“I regret the allotments have to be the casualty of such a major scheme, but I always believed that the benefits outweighed the costs, and it seems the secretary of state agreed.”

A statement from the Department of Communities and Local Government said ministers approved the inclusion of these allotments into the health campus once they were satisfied Watford Borough Council met these criteria by creating new allotments to replace those lost.

Stephen Williams, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "This application, backed by the local council, local MP Richard Harrington and Watford’s Elected Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, opens the door for new NHS hospital facilities and regeneration scheme, as well as replacement allotments.

“Having carefully considered all the issues and representations, ministers have approved the application."

Original plans for the health campus had protected the Farm Terrace Allotments. However, last year politicians at Watford Borough Council included it in the scheme, saying it was necessary to make it viable for developers.

Last week the regeneration project took its first step towards getting started after a new access road to Watford General Hospital, which will stretch from Dalton Way to Willow Lane, was approved.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is due to unveil what the new hospital redevelopment will entail when it reveals its new clinical strategy in the coming months.

Following today’s announcement, Samantha Jones, the health trusts’ chief executive, said: "We are pleased with today's news, especially as it will allow us more flexibility to provide the best possible services and facilities on the Watford Hospital site.

“This is good news for our patients and staff. We recognise that the Farm Terrace allotment holders will be disappointed by this news. However, I am assured that the Council have put in place suitable alternative arrangements for them and have committed to supporting them as they relocate."

Comments (22)

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6:55pm Wed 18 Dec 13

gusgreen says...

Appalling decision for all the wrong motives. We do NOT need more housing in West Watford nor any where else in the country what we need is less PEOLPE but thats another story.
Lets see if I, and many like me, are proved wrong! The Council have argued this makes the Health Campus viable and this may be true but the clue is in the name HEALTH CAMPUS so build the hospital FIRST and then the add ons - not the add ons first, i.e. 600 houses, and wait another 20 years for the hospital, if its built at all.
Appalling decision for all the wrong motives. We do NOT need more housing in West Watford nor any where else in the country what we need is less PEOLPE but thats another story. Lets see if I, and many like me, are proved wrong! The Council have argued this makes the Health Campus viable and this may be true but the clue is in the name HEALTH CAMPUS so build the hospital FIRST and then the add ons - not the add ons first, i.e. 600 houses, and wait another 20 years for the hospital, if its built at all. gusgreen

7:04pm Wed 18 Dec 13

doggydo says...

The government would just like to add:

"Bibbily boobly bobble blib blib. Blibbery blubbery blob-blooble. Boogety boogety boo!"
The government would just like to add: "Bibbily boobly bobble blib blib. Blibbery blubbery blob-blooble. Boogety boogety boo!" doggydo

7:54pm Wed 18 Dec 13

TRT says...

Nice artists impression of the health campus... with allotments. No let's see it without the open space and with more flats.
Nice artists impression of the health campus... with allotments. No let's see it without the open space and with more flats. TRT

9:33pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Cuetip says...

To bulldoze a green oasis requires the scales to be weighed in favour of sustainable wealth but sold as health to make it acceptable.

I suppose we can chop down everything and feel better by sponsoring some far flung rainforest by preaching the virtues / need for a green environment in a subsistence economy.

I hear flats down the road in Colindale are being sold in Hong Kong.
To bulldoze a green oasis requires the scales to be weighed in favour of sustainable wealth but sold as health to make it acceptable. I suppose we can chop down everything and feel better by sponsoring some far flung rainforest by preaching the virtues / need for a green environment in a subsistence economy. I hear flats down the road in Colindale are being sold in Hong Kong. Cuetip

9:36pm Wed 18 Dec 13

LSC says...

“Part of that redevelopment is around securing space for new hospital facilities."

From what I read on here, the hospital can barely staff the facilities it currently has. I'd concentrate on that personally, before looking to expand.
Turning ambulances away from A&E is a disgrace.
“Part of that redevelopment is around securing space for new hospital facilities." From what I read on here, the hospital can barely staff the facilities it currently has. I'd concentrate on that personally, before looking to expand. Turning ambulances away from A&E is a disgrace. LSC

9:52pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

An absolute disgrace and a stain on the town of Watford by the ruling Liberal Democrats.

These allotments deserve to remain as they are.
An absolute disgrace and a stain on the town of Watford by the ruling Liberal Democrats. These allotments deserve to remain as they are. Phil Cox (UKIP)

9:54pm Wed 18 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

As I understand it this DOES NOT mean that the allotments will be built on it DOES mean that the save farm terrace campaign will however have to go back to Judicial Review.
As such it is a set back for the save farm terrace campaigners buy I am certain that the fight to save the allotments will go on.
Politically we are now six months from Mayoral elections, Labour have committed themselves to an save farm terrace stance as have UKIP and the Greens, I would reckon the full Judicial review process could drag on to then.
As I understand it this DOES NOT mean that the allotments will be built on it DOES mean that the save farm terrace campaign will however have to go back to Judicial Review. As such it is a set back for the save farm terrace campaigners buy I am certain that the fight to save the allotments will go on. Politically we are now six months from Mayoral elections, Labour have committed themselves to an save farm terrace stance as have UKIP and the Greens, I would reckon the full Judicial review process could drag on to then. dontknowynot

9:57pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Let's hope so DKYN, then we may save the Farm Terrace allotments.
Let's hope so DKYN, then we may save the Farm Terrace allotments. Phil Cox (UKIP)

10:07pm Wed 18 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Let's hope so DKYN, then we may save the Farm Terrace allotments.
You know I disagree with just about everything you say, that I abhor UKIP and its polices but will agree(ish) with you here.
Logically there are three anti parties and people have two votes it could make for some strange second preferences, mix it up with the coalition protest thing and I wouldn't be surprised at first choice green and second choice ukip votes popping up along with first choice ukip and second Labour.

Utterly weird it could be
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Let's hope so DKYN, then we may save the Farm Terrace allotments.[/p][/quote]You know I disagree with just about everything you say, that I abhor UKIP and its polices but will agree(ish) with you here. Logically there are three anti parties and people have two votes it could make for some strange second preferences, mix it up with the coalition protest thing and I wouldn't be surprised at first choice green and second choice ukip votes popping up along with first choice ukip and second Labour. Utterly weird it could be dontknowynot

10:28pm Wed 18 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

@watford observer

"Campaigners have lost their bid to save Farm Terrace Allotments from being concreted over as part of the Watford health campus."

ultimately this is not true and it is surly up to the Judicial review to decide surly?
@watford observer "Campaigners have lost their bid to save Farm Terrace Allotments from being concreted over as part of the Watford health campus." ultimately this is not true and it is surly up to the Judicial review to decide surly? dontknowynot

10:53pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Andrew1963 says...

Lib dem mayor sees Watford general hospital improved by replacing allotments with a 100 houses. Presumably with 100 kitchen table operating theatres and bathroom cabinet pharmacies.
Lib dem mayor sees Watford general hospital improved by replacing allotments with a 100 houses. Presumably with 100 kitchen table operating theatres and bathroom cabinet pharmacies. Andrew1963

8:07am Thu 19 Dec 13

Cuetip says...

Caring for the community

Browned off developers argue rows of peas should be shelled for profit as well as their well trodden higgedly footpaths.

Shocked gardeners dare to ask why should our allotments be sacrificed and the wildlife left disoriented?

The opportunistic council replies grow up ‘Haven’t you heard that we’re always cash strapped and we can harvest money from housing and shops with a bed or two for the sick’.

Perhaps Chaos Theory was right that by forcing butterflies to flee green spaces, we’re unleashing Japanese knot weed type market forces whose triffid roots will damage HEALTH.
Caring for the community Browned off developers argue rows of peas should be shelled for profit as well as their well trodden higgedly footpaths. Shocked gardeners dare to ask why should our allotments be sacrificed and the wildlife left disoriented? The opportunistic council replies grow up ‘Haven’t you heard that we’re always cash strapped and we can harvest money from housing and shops with a bed or two for the sick’. Perhaps Chaos Theory was right that by forcing butterflies to flee green spaces, we’re unleashing Japanese knot weed type market forces whose triffid roots will damage HEALTH. Cuetip

8:24am Thu 19 Dec 13

Andrew Turpie says...

A bit premature with the champagne corks popping WO, the battle has only just begun. Sarah Jane has a lot of high profile people supporting this battle and has a legal team who are eager to win this.

Still the Liberal Democrats have ignored the wishes of the local voters, but slowly even those slightly further afield are starting to catch on that this development would not be a positive impact on the local area which is already saturated by humans and a creaking infrastructure.

I believe that the NHS should follow the same protocol as Royal Mail did when "concentrating" their sorting offices which was to decommission the old "in town" smaller sorting offices and build brand new fit for purpose larger super health campuses on the outskirts of towns and cities, where access is easy from all around locations and parking could be a lot easier.

Would be easy as someone who lives in the area that my ideas are NIBMY'istic, but even all of us that live within WD18 0xx understand that money is tight and there is a chance that throwing tax payer's money at the access road plus extending around the existing site, we could find ourselves back to looking for a new site easily within a couple of years of completion. Sometimes its a good thing to cut your losses now.
A bit premature with the champagne corks popping WO, the battle has only just begun. Sarah Jane has a lot of high profile people supporting this battle and has a legal team who are eager to win this. Still the Liberal Democrats have ignored the wishes of the local voters, but slowly even those slightly further afield are starting to catch on that this development would not be a positive impact on the local area which is already saturated by humans and a creaking infrastructure. I believe that the NHS should follow the same protocol as Royal Mail did when "concentrating" their sorting offices which was to decommission the old "in town" smaller sorting offices and build brand new fit for purpose larger super health campuses on the outskirts of towns and cities, where access is easy from all around locations and parking could be a lot easier. Would be easy as someone who lives in the area that my ideas are NIBMY'istic, but even all of us that live within WD18 0xx understand that money is tight and there is a chance that throwing tax payer's money at the access road plus extending around the existing site, we could find ourselves back to looking for a new site easily within a couple of years of completion. Sometimes its a good thing to cut your losses now. Andrew Turpie

8:29am Thu 19 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

dontknowynot wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
Let's hope so DKYN, then we may save the Farm Terrace allotments.
You know I disagree with just about everything you say, that I abhor UKIP and its polices but will agree(ish) with you here.
Logically there are three anti parties and people have two votes it could make for some strange second preferences, mix it up with the coalition protest thing and I wouldn't be surprised at first choice green and second choice ukip votes popping up along with first choice ukip and second Labour.

Utterly weird it could be
When elected, UKIP will pursue policies in council that it believes are in the interest of the town and people of the town.

If those policies co-incide with the policies of other parties then we will have no qualms about working closely with those other parties to achieve those aims.

I hope that on the issue of Farm Terrace allotments we can work closely and effectively in trying to save them from the LibDem bulldozers.

The LibDems are being over-zealous on wanting to redevelop west watford and are using the hospital as a smokescreen for their development plans, even calling the whole project the Health Campus when in fact the only thing that is missing from the development is the hospital or anything to do with health.

The LibDems are on a sticky wicket with this one morally, once you blow away the smoke.
[quote][p][bold]dontknowynot[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: Let's hope so DKYN, then we may save the Farm Terrace allotments.[/p][/quote]You know I disagree with just about everything you say, that I abhor UKIP and its polices but will agree(ish) with you here. Logically there are three anti parties and people have two votes it could make for some strange second preferences, mix it up with the coalition protest thing and I wouldn't be surprised at first choice green and second choice ukip votes popping up along with first choice ukip and second Labour. Utterly weird it could be[/p][/quote]When elected, UKIP will pursue policies in council that it believes are in the interest of the town and people of the town. If those policies co-incide with the policies of other parties then we will have no qualms about working closely with those other parties to achieve those aims. I hope that on the issue of Farm Terrace allotments we can work closely and effectively in trying to save them from the LibDem bulldozers. The LibDems are being over-zealous on wanting to redevelop west watford and are using the hospital as a smokescreen for their development plans, even calling the whole project the Health Campus when in fact the only thing that is missing from the development is the hospital or anything to do with health. The LibDems are on a sticky wicket with this one morally, once you blow away the smoke. Phil Cox (UKIP)

9:01am Thu 19 Dec 13

TRT says...

Not a single comment along the lines of jobs over cabbages. Why? Because they told us "no road, no hospital, no jobs" then "no allotment land, no hospital, no jobs". THEN we heard, when the new broom arrived on the hospital side that the clinch point wasn't roads or allotments or train stations or anything other than "our finances are majorly screwed up and we may not be able to afford anything". So someone got their sums wrong and seemingly more than once. We get told we can't afford streetlights after midnight etc etc yet millions can be found to destroy the pond (is it just me or have they dug out the puddling which stops it leaking?), destroy the Irish club and playing fields, pay off developers etc etc.
Not a single comment along the lines of jobs over cabbages. Why? Because they told us "no road, no hospital, no jobs" then "no allotment land, no hospital, no jobs". THEN we heard, when the new broom arrived on the hospital side that the clinch point wasn't roads or allotments or train stations or anything other than "our finances are majorly screwed up and we may not be able to afford anything". So someone got their sums wrong and seemingly more than once. We get told we can't afford streetlights after midnight etc etc yet millions can be found to destroy the pond (is it just me or have they dug out the puddling which stops it leaking?), destroy the Irish club and playing fields, pay off developers etc etc. TRT

11:01am Thu 19 Dec 13

John Dowdle says...

Andrew 1963 above makes a reference to 100 houses. Is it not the case that the proposals are for 600 new properties on the allotments site?
The delayed decision by the Secretary of State has coincided with the introduction of new, more restrictive, rules with regard to judicial review applications. It would be useful if someone with a legal background could comment on this aspect of the decision issues by the SoS?
Like others, I believe the work at the hospital should start first, though it may be the case that the hospital is a financial stakeholder in the health campus and is relying on its share of the take to fund work to create a new or substantially revised district general hospital in Watford. Does anyone have any information in this regard?
Andrew 1963 above makes a reference to 100 houses. Is it not the case that the proposals are for 600 new properties on the allotments site? The delayed decision by the Secretary of State has coincided with the introduction of new, more restrictive, rules with regard to judicial review applications. It would be useful if someone with a legal background could comment on this aspect of the decision issues by the SoS? Like others, I believe the work at the hospital should start first, though it may be the case that the hospital is a financial stakeholder in the health campus and is relying on its share of the take to fund work to create a new or substantially revised district general hospital in Watford. Does anyone have any information in this regard? John Dowdle

11:23am Thu 19 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

John Dowdle wrote:
Andrew 1963 above makes a reference to 100 houses. Is it not the case that the proposals are for 600 new properties on the allotments site?
The delayed decision by the Secretary of State has coincided with the introduction of new, more restrictive, rules with regard to judicial review applications. It would be useful if someone with a legal background could comment on this aspect of the decision issues by the SoS?
Like others, I believe the work at the hospital should start first, though it may be the case that the hospital is a financial stakeholder in the health campus and is relying on its share of the take to fund work to create a new or substantially revised district general hospital in Watford. Does anyone have any information in this regard?
Good point
on the other hand surly the fact that they have had to have a second bite at the cherry on this leans toward Judicial Review and strengthens the hand of Sara Jane
[quote][p][bold]John Dowdle[/bold] wrote: Andrew 1963 above makes a reference to 100 houses. Is it not the case that the proposals are for 600 new properties on the allotments site? The delayed decision by the Secretary of State has coincided with the introduction of new, more restrictive, rules with regard to judicial review applications. It would be useful if someone with a legal background could comment on this aspect of the decision issues by the SoS? Like others, I believe the work at the hospital should start first, though it may be the case that the hospital is a financial stakeholder in the health campus and is relying on its share of the take to fund work to create a new or substantially revised district general hospital in Watford. Does anyone have any information in this regard?[/p][/quote]Good point on the other hand surly the fact that they have had to have a second bite at the cherry on this leans toward Judicial Review and strengthens the hand of Sara Jane dontknowynot

12:24pm Thu 19 Dec 13

WatfordLocal says...

"Politically we are now six months from Mayoral elections"...

Labour aren't that interested in winning the Mayoral election otherwise they would have put forward a suitable candidate. They just need to be seen to be entering the race.

At the end of the day the hospital and the redevelopment of an area, plus the creating of a new community is far more important than the allotments.
"Politically we are now six months from Mayoral elections"... Labour aren't that interested in winning the Mayoral election otherwise they would have put forward a suitable candidate. They just need to be seen to be entering the race. At the end of the day the hospital and the redevelopment of an area, plus the creating of a new community is far more important than the allotments. WatfordLocal

3:55pm Thu 19 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

Labour have put up a local cllr, nowt wrong with that, maybe thay should get an academic from Cambridge or a deputy head teacher from a school in Hertmere, or a county Councillor from another borough, or an inexperienced in local government banker type?
Dotty has benefited from a shed load of Labour second preference votes in the past, given the treachery that is the coalition I would say that this is unlikely.
Labour have on this issue are very clear, very consistent and very bold, if you don't believe me look at their clear statements ont Labour web site
Labour have put up a local cllr, nowt wrong with that, maybe thay should get an academic from Cambridge or a deputy head teacher from a school in Hertmere, or a county Councillor from another borough, or an inexperienced in local government banker type? Dotty has benefited from a shed load of Labour second preference votes in the past, given the treachery that is the coalition I would say that this is unlikely. Labour have on this issue are very clear, very consistent and very bold, if you don't believe me look at their clear statements ont Labour web site dontknowynot

4:15pm Thu 19 Dec 13

John Dowdle says...

It may be possible that campaigners wishing to save the allotments will have run out of time to apply for a judicial review, due to new restrictive rules of Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice, in the current government.
While problems with immigration appeals were cited as making it necessary to restrict access to judicial review, it just so happens that the same restrictions have been applied to non-immigration cases and the new rules have been introduced while Mr Pickles has been re-considering his position on allowing the allotments to be built over.
Strange coincidence?
While dontknowynot may be correct about Labour's policies locally, how many local people actually know anything about them? It is not good enough to just place them on a web site; it needs home-delivered flyers and on-the-doorstep communication between political activists and local residents to get the message of the policies across. Unless and until Watford Labour Party start pursuing these forms of activity, it is unlikely they will make any inroads into the massive electoral advantage the Liberal Democrats still enjoy in the Watford and Three Rivers area.
It may be possible that campaigners wishing to save the allotments will have run out of time to apply for a judicial review, due to new restrictive rules of Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice, in the current government. While problems with immigration appeals were cited as making it necessary to restrict access to judicial review, it just so happens that the same restrictions have been applied to non-immigration cases and the new rules have been introduced while Mr Pickles has been re-considering his position on allowing the allotments to be built over. Strange coincidence? While dontknowynot may be correct about Labour's policies locally, how many local people actually know anything about them? It is not good enough to just place them on a web site; it needs home-delivered flyers and on-the-doorstep communication between political activists and local residents to get the message of the policies across. Unless and until Watford Labour Party start pursuing these forms of activity, it is unlikely they will make any inroads into the massive electoral advantage the Liberal Democrats still enjoy in the Watford and Three Rivers area. John Dowdle

8:58pm Thu 19 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

The decision on the new application was made yesterday and the tightest of timescales for Judicial review according to CPR rules is 30 days, as such NO they have not run out of time As the clock has only started ticking
The decision on the new application was made yesterday and the tightest of timescales for Judicial review according to CPR rules is 30 days, as such NO they have not run out of time As the clock has only started ticking dontknowynot

10:16pm Thu 19 Dec 13

dontknowynot says...

John Dowdle wrote:
It may be possible that campaigners wishing to save the allotments will have run out of time to apply for a judicial review, due to new restrictive rules of Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice, in the current government.
While problems with immigration appeals were cited as making it necessary to restrict access to judicial review, it just so happens that the same restrictions have been applied to non-immigration cases and the new rules have been introduced while Mr Pickles has been re-considering his position on allowing the allotments to be built over.
Strange coincidence?
While dontknowynot may be correct about Labour's policies locally, how many local people actually know anything about them? It is not good enough to just place them on a web site; it needs home-delivered flyers and on-the-doorstep communication between political activists and local residents to get the message of the policies across. Unless and until Watford Labour Party start pursuing these forms of activity, it is unlikely they will make any inroads into the massive electoral advantage the Liberal Democrats still enjoy in the Watford and Three Rivers area.
I would expect Labour to push it more now, fact is sometimes sitting on your hands may be the best way, this has been Sara Jane led and not all Allotment holders are Labour so a judgement has to be made between support and detracting from the cause by being overtly partisan, this I would think would be revisited given the general appreciation by Save farm terrace for Labours support. Plus of course the fact that The Tory wealth managing property developing MP and Dotty are standing shoulder to shoulder on this issue.
[quote][p][bold]John Dowdle[/bold] wrote: It may be possible that campaigners wishing to save the allotments will have run out of time to apply for a judicial review, due to new restrictive rules of Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice, in the current government. While problems with immigration appeals were cited as making it necessary to restrict access to judicial review, it just so happens that the same restrictions have been applied to non-immigration cases and the new rules have been introduced while Mr Pickles has been re-considering his position on allowing the allotments to be built over. Strange coincidence? While dontknowynot may be correct about Labour's policies locally, how many local people actually know anything about them? It is not good enough to just place them on a web site; it needs home-delivered flyers and on-the-doorstep communication between political activists and local residents to get the message of the policies across. Unless and until Watford Labour Party start pursuing these forms of activity, it is unlikely they will make any inroads into the massive electoral advantage the Liberal Democrats still enjoy in the Watford and Three Rivers area.[/p][/quote]I would expect Labour to push it more now, fact is sometimes sitting on your hands may be the best way, this has been Sara Jane led and not all Allotment holders are Labour so a judgement has to be made between support and detracting from the cause by being overtly partisan, this I would think would be revisited given the general appreciation by Save farm terrace for Labours support. Plus of course the fact that The Tory wealth managing property developing MP and Dotty are standing shoulder to shoulder on this issue. dontknowynot

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