Allotment-holders would not have fought plans to concrete over the Farm Terrace site if they genuinely believed it would used for new hospital facilities, according to its lead campaigner.

Sara Jane Trebar said it was the realisation that the 100-year-old allotments would be mainly used for homes and later a car park that fuelled its tenants opposition.

The allotment-holders are taking the decision by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, to include the Farm Terrace in the health campus scheme to a judicial review at the High Court tomorrow.

The hearing marks a significant point in the long battle between Watford Borough Council and plot-holders over the fertile patch of land behind Vicarage Road.  

This week Mrs Trebar told the Watford Observer about why plot-holders had dug-in and resisted plans to build over the allotments so energetically.

The 42-year-old who lives in West Watford first applied for the plot at Farm Terrace as her family’s garden was not very large and they wanted somewhere to grow fresh vegetables.

She said the allotment quickly became an important feature in her family’s life.

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"It was an absolute life line as we could spend all day there," she said. "The kids could run about while we could de-stress while gardening."

The mother-of-three described the news in 2012 that Watford Council wanted to build on the allotments as part of the new health campus scheme as "absolutely devastating".

However she and most of the plot-holders initially accepted the decision as they were told the land was needed for new Watford General Hospital facilities.

Yet opposition to the move grew as it became apparent the health trust in charge of Watford General had no solid plans to expand.

Mrs Trebar’s own involvement in the campaign came after she posted a "rant" on Facebook about the Farm Terrace situation. She said she was surprised by supportive response she received, which made her realise there was considerable public sympathy for the plot-holders plight.

She then opened up a new front in the battle with the council by launching a pugnacious campaign on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The campaign started to garner support from a wider network of allotment-holders across the UK and even from the odd celebrity, such as former popstar Kim Wilde.

As Farm Terrace began to attract more attention online, Mrs Trebar began to use its growing profile to fundraise for the cause.

To date the campaign has raised more than £15,000 in donations. 

The cash was put to use mounting legal challenge to the permission Watford Borough Council received from the Department of Communities and Local Government to build on the allotment land.

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Mrs Trebar said: "They did not envisage the strength of support from local residents and also nationally. I think for a lot of people it is David verses Goliath. It was never our intention to go to court as we thought if we showed how much support there was the council would step down.

"It has been extremely hard to fight the propaganda, as if you stand on the road and ask people if they want a health campus instead of allotments they would say yes as they assume there would be some health care provision.

"But if you ask them if they want a housing estate or allotments then they all say allotments.

"Never for a moment, if we though the hospital needed the land for development would we have fought it so hard."

Follow our live coverage of the judicial review from the High Court on the Watford Observer website tomorrow.