Watford health campus: Farm Terrace allotment holders will challenge decision to build on site

Plot holders, Wendy Baille, Vincenzo Santarsiero, Pete Baille and Jenny England at the Farm Terrace Allotments Open Day.

Plot holders, Wendy Baille, Vincenzo Santarsiero, Pete Baille and Jenny England at the Farm Terrace Allotments Open Day.

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

The High Court has given Farm Terrace allotment holders permission to proceed with a challenge to Eric Pickles’s decision to allow Watford Council to build on their allotment site.

The claim has been brought by three plot-holders who face eviction to make way for the Watford health campus.

The site cannot be built on without the secretary of state’s consent, and there are strict criteria that have to be met before the council can be given the go-ahead. 

The campaigners disagree that building on the allotments is in the public interest, arguing that the development could go ahead without building on the allotments, and that retaining allotments is also in the public interest. 

On April 14 a High Court judge decided that the grounds of challenge are arguable. 

There will now be a full hearing of the judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice in London later this year. 

Andrew Moore, one of the claimants, said today: "It is a shame that we have had to take the case this far.  It’s not too late for the council and the secretary of state to change their minds and accommodate the allotments within the development, as the developers have acknowledged they could. 

"I am glad that the judge has recognised that this case raises serious issues that merit a full hearing.  This case is not only important to me and the other Farm Terrace Allotment holders.  It will affect many other sites across the country that are also under threat from development, and we hope to set a precedent that will help to protect allotments for future generations as well as our own. 

"I firmly believe that our children will thank us for standing up to the authorities."    

Adam Hundt, of Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors, representing the claimants, said: "The secretary of state has criteria by which applications for consent to build on allotments are assessed, but he has effectively decided that those criteria can be ignored if profit margins are said to be at risk.

"One has to question what the point of having criteria that are designed to protect allotments from development is, if they can be ignored with so little justification."

To view the planning application click here.

Comments (14)

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3:08pm Tue 22 Apr 14

TRT says...

Especially as the hospital part has been officially declared as uncoupled from the rest of the development. I'm behind the SFTA group every step of the way!
Especially as the hospital part has been officially declared as uncoupled from the rest of the development. I'm behind the SFTA group every step of the way! TRT
  • Score: 6

4:00pm Tue 22 Apr 14

aveda says...

Lib Dem local election leaflet states they want to: "oppose insensitive development" but also "deliver the ... regeneration of derelict land". Incredible and contradictory statements. Regeneration of allotments through making a car park! She just doesn't get it, why locals are so fed up with politicos. Dorothy - your time is up.
Lib Dem local election leaflet states they want to: "oppose insensitive development" but also "deliver the ... regeneration of derelict land". Incredible and contradictory statements. Regeneration of allotments through making a car park! She just doesn't get it, why locals are so fed up with politicos. Dorothy - your time is up. aveda
  • Score: 10

4:26pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Wacko Jacko says...

"I firmly believe that our children will thank us for standing up to the authorities."
Not if those children are trying to get their own affordable place to live, and also end up with a compromised hospital just so you can dig an allotment at FT rather than on another of Watford's many allotment sites
"I firmly believe that our children will thank us for standing up to the authorities." Not if those children are trying to get their own affordable place to live, and also end up with a compromised hospital just so you can dig an allotment at FT rather than on another of Watford's many allotment sites Wacko Jacko
  • Score: -7

4:33pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Cuetip says...

TRT wrote:
Especially as the hospital part has been officially declared as uncoupled from the rest of the development. I'm behind the SFTA group every step of the way!
The people of this country were promised that allotments would be protected but typical of so many promises, the grab for allotments has reached unparalleled heights despite Pickles public promises of protection.

People are simply tired of politicians asking 'do as I say not as I do'. They are even prepared to switch parties and policies to save their own skin and hope the voters are blind, deaf and stupid.
We need more transparency and honesty by those who want to lead this country.
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: Especially as the hospital part has been officially declared as uncoupled from the rest of the development. I'm behind the SFTA group every step of the way![/p][/quote]The people of this country were promised that allotments would be protected but typical of so many promises, the grab for allotments has reached unparalleled heights despite Pickles public promises of protection. People are simply tired of politicians asking 'do as I say not as I do'. They are even prepared to switch parties and policies to save their own skin and hope the voters are blind, deaf and stupid. We need more transparency and honesty by those who want to lead this country. Cuetip
  • Score: 4

6:05pm Tue 22 Apr 14

ancientandageing says...

They have always had a good legal case and may well win

I was at the hospital the other day and there certainly seems plenty of land around the back excluding the allotments for then to build houses.
They have always had a good legal case and may well win I was at the hospital the other day and there certainly seems plenty of land around the back excluding the allotments for then to build houses. ancientandageing
  • Score: 3

6:14pm Tue 22 Apr 14

#UKMum says...

Wacko Jacko

Those children have to get a school place first before they can get their foot on the housing ladder. http://www.watfordob
server.co.uk/news/11
059511.More_than_200
_children_miss_out_o
n_secondary_school_p
laces_in_south_west_
Hertfordshire/?actio
n=complain&cid=12543
971

Furthermore have you not seen DM article today?

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/article-
2609859/The-mortgage
-inquisition-Borrowe
rs-face-tough-new-qu
iz-home-loan-spell-e
nd-cheap-fixed-rates
-warns-watchdog.html


AND the other one which said that "Boom In Grow Your Own Food" page 9.
Wacko Jacko Those children have to get a school place first before they can get their foot on the housing ladder. http://www.watfordob server.co.uk/news/11 059511.More_than_200 _children_miss_out_o n_secondary_school_p laces_in_south_west_ Hertfordshire/?actio n=complain&cid=12543 971 Furthermore have you not seen DM article today? http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/article- 2609859/The-mortgage -inquisition-Borrowe rs-face-tough-new-qu iz-home-loan-spell-e nd-cheap-fixed-rates -warns-watchdog.html AND the other one which said that "Boom In Grow Your Own Food" page 9. #UKMum
  • Score: 1

6:39pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Andrew1963 says...

Wacko Jacko wrote:
"I firmly believe that our children will thank us for standing up to the authorities."
Not if those children are trying to get their own affordable place to live, and also end up with a compromised hospital just so you can dig an allotment at FT rather than on another of Watford's many allotment sites
If you look at the master- plan, retaining the allotment site as now will not compromise the hospital. All the business space is now on the old carriage shed site, and the Cardiff road industrial estate will be all housing. The old allotment land that is now a surface car park for the AAU and main hospital is the allotment land that the allotment holders are happy to see become part of a new hospital. It is the cultivated area behind the football stadium they want to preserve. On the master-plan this is shown as two U shaped blocks of houses. Most are to be sold on the open market for £300,000+ to raise £15 million in cash flow to pay for the infrastructure that will allow the developer to build and sell the remain 600 residential units for about £175 million. Even the social housing will generate a profit as it will be sold to a housing association to rent or sell on under buy/let schemes. So the developers own plans make it quite clear that the Farm Terrace allotments are not needed for either the hospital or for social housing. You can see the Overall Landscape Master plan on the Watford council website. The picture is very clear indeed on what land is really needed to be lost as allotments. It also shows that there is no new park or compensatory space. There is land shown as 'urban public realm' which means adopted roads and parking and informal open space - which means verges and a strip of land that is already accessible to the public on the river. Of course 600 flats also means there is some new play space. There is a huge car park on the old power station site which could be developed instead. The willow Lane allotment site will be housing
[quote][p][bold]Wacko Jacko[/bold] wrote: "I firmly believe that our children will thank us for standing up to the authorities." Not if those children are trying to get their own affordable place to live, and also end up with a compromised hospital just so you can dig an allotment at FT rather than on another of Watford's many allotment sites[/p][/quote]If you look at the master- plan, retaining the allotment site as now will not compromise the hospital. All the business space is now on the old carriage shed site, and the Cardiff road industrial estate will be all housing. The old allotment land that is now a surface car park for the AAU and main hospital is the allotment land that the allotment holders are happy to see become part of a new hospital. It is the cultivated area behind the football stadium they want to preserve. On the master-plan this is shown as two U shaped blocks of houses. Most are to be sold on the open market for £300,000+ to raise £15 million in cash flow to pay for the infrastructure that will allow the developer to build and sell the remain 600 residential units for about £175 million. Even the social housing will generate a profit as it will be sold to a housing association to rent or sell on under buy/let schemes. So the developers own plans make it quite clear that the Farm Terrace allotments are not needed for either the hospital or for social housing. You can see the Overall Landscape Master plan on the Watford council website. The picture is very clear indeed on what land is really needed to be lost as allotments. It also shows that there is no new park or compensatory space. There is land shown as 'urban public realm' which means adopted roads and parking and informal open space - which means verges and a strip of land that is already accessible to the public on the river. Of course 600 flats also means there is some new play space. There is a huge car park on the old power station site which could be developed instead. The willow Lane allotment site will be housing Andrew1963
  • Score: 3

8:43pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Wacko Jacko says...

Andrew 1963 clearly can't read a plan. Take a look at the masterplan here: http://watfordhealth
campus.info/ which shows new hospital buildings on 40% of the current allotment site, the remainder used for family housing and the displaced football club car park, plus a new public park area around the river. The plan turns a largely derelict site into an attractive place to live and work, and as has been said many times before, there will be no loss of allotments as every one of the present allotment holders have been offered spaces in Watford's other allotment sites. Ignore the stuck in the past dinosaurs, back the regeneration of West Watford.
Andrew 1963 clearly can't read a plan. Take a look at the masterplan here: http://watfordhealth campus.info/ which shows new hospital buildings on 40% of the current allotment site, the remainder used for family housing and the displaced football club car park, plus a new public park area around the river. The plan turns a largely derelict site into an attractive place to live and work, and as has been said many times before, there will be no loss of allotments as every one of the present allotment holders have been offered spaces in Watford's other allotment sites. Ignore the stuck in the past dinosaurs, back the regeneration of West Watford. Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 1

10:38pm Tue 22 Apr 14

SharonK61 says...

'This lady is not for turning', remind you of anyone ?
'This lady is not for turning', remind you of anyone ? SharonK61
  • Score: 3

11:41pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Andrew1963 says...

Wacko Jacko wrote:
Andrew 1963 clearly can't read a plan. Take a look at the masterplan here: http://watfordhealth

campus.info/ which shows new hospital buildings on 40% of the current allotment site, the remainder used for family housing and the displaced football club car park, plus a new public park area around the river. The plan turns a largely derelict site into an attractive place to live and work, and as has been said many times before, there will be no loss of allotments as every one of the present allotment holders have been offered spaces in Watford's other allotment sites. Ignore the stuck in the past dinosaurs, back the regeneration of West Watford.
I can read the plan, what you don't understand is the distinction between cultivated plots at Farm Terrace and designated allotment land. There are two parts of Farm a Terrace allotments let out as car parks. Anyone who knows the area will know that the road/footpath that was created when the stadium halt was built, divided the allotments in two. The part behind the football stadium is cultivated and is not shown on the plans as part of the hospital. The part used as a car park is shown as part of the central area. Anyone saying 40% of the current cultivated area is allocated to the hospital is wrong. Look at the plans.
[quote][p][bold]Wacko Jacko[/bold] wrote: Andrew 1963 clearly can't read a plan. Take a look at the masterplan here: http://watfordhealth campus.info/ which shows new hospital buildings on 40% of the current allotment site, the remainder used for family housing and the displaced football club car park, plus a new public park area around the river. The plan turns a largely derelict site into an attractive place to live and work, and as has been said many times before, there will be no loss of allotments as every one of the present allotment holders have been offered spaces in Watford's other allotment sites. Ignore the stuck in the past dinosaurs, back the regeneration of West Watford.[/p][/quote]I can read the plan, what you don't understand is the distinction between cultivated plots at Farm Terrace and designated allotment land. There are two parts of Farm a Terrace allotments let out as car parks. Anyone who knows the area will know that the road/footpath that was created when the stadium halt was built, divided the allotments in two. The part behind the football stadium is cultivated and is not shown on the plans as part of the hospital. The part used as a car park is shown as part of the central area. Anyone saying 40% of the current cultivated area is allocated to the hospital is wrong. Look at the plans. Andrew1963
  • Score: 3

11:49pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Andrew1963 says...

No one is against regenerating the industrial estate, even if basically it is no more than a commuter estate like Cassio Metro. As the mayor has said the plans for the industrial estate redevelopment can go ahead without the use of the allotment land, no doubt the ministers advisors will be telling the minister to decline wasting public money defending the judicial review and reverse the decision. Now that the Mayor has in effect blown the economic justification for building on the allotments out of the water, the argument for retention of the allotments has been won. Even the mayor says the plans to redevelop can go ahead without building on farm terrace, which confirms 40% of the allotments not needed by the hospital.
No one is against regenerating the industrial estate, even if basically it is no more than a commuter estate like Cassio Metro. As the mayor has said the plans for the industrial estate redevelopment can go ahead without the use of the allotment land, no doubt the ministers advisors will be telling the minister to decline wasting public money defending the judicial review and reverse the decision. Now that the Mayor has in effect blown the economic justification for building on the allotments out of the water, the argument for retention of the allotments has been won. Even the mayor says the plans to redevelop can go ahead without building on farm terrace, which confirms 40% of the allotments not needed by the hospital. Andrew1963
  • Score: 3

2:37pm Wed 23 Apr 14

sjtrebar says...

We are really pleased with this news. It is also fantastic that the people of Watford (and beyond ) can finally have their say about whether or not they actually do believe that the allotments should be sacrificed for yet more housing and a car park. The response has been very telling - http://pa.watford.go
v.uk/publicaccess/ap
plicationDetails.do?
activeTab=neighbourC
omments&keyVal=N3CWZ
0QW0FJ00
We are really pleased with this news. It is also fantastic that the people of Watford (and beyond ) can finally have their say about whether or not they actually do believe that the allotments should be sacrificed for yet more housing and a car park. The response has been very telling - http://pa.watford.go v.uk/publicaccess/ap plicationDetails.do? activeTab=neighbourC omments&keyVal=N3CWZ 0QW0FJ00 sjtrebar
  • Score: 2

4:18am Thu 24 Apr 14

John Dowdle says...

Iain Sharpe (posing as Wacko Jacko) is - as usual - trying to justify the unjustifiable and - as usual - fails spectacularly to influence public opinion.
Mrs Thornhill's husband can turn and twist all he likes. This whole silly sorry mess of his and his wife is unravelling in plain sight of everyone in Watford.
As usual, they are more concerned about promoting vanity projects to put their names in the local history books.
Well, they are actually succeeding - only not in the way they intended.
All anyone can say about them is: what a couple of boneheads.
Iain Sharpe (posing as Wacko Jacko) is - as usual - trying to justify the unjustifiable and - as usual - fails spectacularly to influence public opinion. Mrs Thornhill's husband can turn and twist all he likes. This whole silly sorry mess of his and his wife is unravelling in plain sight of everyone in Watford. As usual, they are more concerned about promoting vanity projects to put their names in the local history books. Well, they are actually succeeding - only not in the way they intended. All anyone can say about them is: what a couple of boneheads. John Dowdle
  • Score: 4

9:49am Thu 24 Apr 14

Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford says...

Nick Cleggs new towns are to be built around......wait for it......allotments!

Is that so he can build on the most valuable land later? If he's as dotty as Dotty then the answer must be yes.
Nick Cleggs new towns are to be built around......wait for it......allotments! Is that so he can build on the most valuable land later? If he's as dotty as Dotty then the answer must be yes. Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford
  • Score: 2

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