Farm Terrace Allotments: Preserving site would 'close the door' on future hospital development

Farm Terrace Allotments: Preserving site would 'close the door' on future hospital development

Farm Terrace Allotments: Preserving site would 'close the door' on future hospital development

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

Watford’s elected mayor said preserving the Farm Terrace Allotments in the health campus scheme would mean "closing the door" on a future hospital development.

Dorothy Thornhill said the allotments were also needed to ensure the 750-home regeneration venture secured a good return for the town’s taxpayers.

Her comments come as a High Court judge will examine the legal basis of the permission the council received to build over the allotments. 

ALSO READ: Allotment-holders said they would not have fought plans if they believed they were for new hospital facilities.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, approved applications from Watford Council twice citing "exceptional circumstances" for allowing the destruction of the plots.

He said if Farm Terrace is not used the health campus would not be financially "viable" and thus deprive the public of its benefits such as "improved hospital facilities".

Plot-holders have challenged this saying when Mr Pickles made the decision he did not have all the facts in front of him, including the heath campus masterplan that shows Farm Terrace will mainly be used for houses and a new Watford FC car park.

The allotment-holders are also pointing to the fact West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has no solid plan in place to redevelop Watford General. The trust is working on a new clinical strategy -  a blueprint for future hospital services - which will be finalised next year.

This week it also emerged the trust was applying for Government cash to head-off a potential deficit of more than £120 million over the next eight years.

However this week Mayor Thornhill even though the trust had not revealed if and when it would redevelop Watford General the allotments land was needed to give them the "flexibility" to do so.  

She said: "I would much rather the hospital was telling us what they needed, where and when so we could get on with the scheme. It is an unknown about the scheme but we are not going to close the door on the hospital before they have even done the clinical strategy. Only a fool would do that.

"I don’t want people complaining to me two or three years and saying ‘why do I have to go to Hemel for this or St Albans for that, why are services moving?’ It is keeping the door open. I don’t want these facilities going somewhere else. It is sticking a marker in the ground for Watford."

The mayor also said if Farm Terrace was not included in the scheme the council and its developer Kier would need to build more houses to make the scheme stack up financially.

She added: "It is the cost of the allotments vis-a-vis the cost to the development and it is not just measured in pounds, shillings and pence. 

"Them (the Farm Terrace plot-holders) staying in place means the council does not get a return and that means problems for the Watford taxpayer.

"There is also an issue about the total viability of the scheme. The real issue is density. If we don’t use the allotments we will have to build more houses to make up for the loss of money. It is a viability jigsaw."

Comments (12)

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5:17pm Thu 24 Jul 14

gusgreen says...

So there we have it - MONEY!!!!!

And she wonders why we do not believe a word she says!

As its been known for a long time WEALTH CAMPUS!@
So there we have it - MONEY!!!!! And she wonders why we do not believe a word she says! As its been known for a long time WEALTH CAMPUS!@ gusgreen
  • Score: 9

5:20pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Andrew1963 says...

Amazing - putting houses on the allotments makes it easier to rebuild the hospital, but keeping the land open as allotments ready and available if needed for a hosp[ital redevelopment makes things worse. I think we should campaign to build on more open space throughout the town as clearly it gives you more options compared to undeveloped land.
Amazing - putting houses on the allotments makes it easier to rebuild the hospital, but keeping the land open as allotments ready and available if needed for a hosp[ital redevelopment makes things worse. I think we should campaign to build on more open space throughout the town as clearly it gives you more options compared to undeveloped land. Andrew1963
  • Score: 5

6:05pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Veritas says...

this woman talks so much crap,
good to see the pressure on Watford Observer and they are finally
printing the truth and exposing all the lies from the Council
regarding a Wealth Campus,

Return for Watford Tax payers? Watford has too much development
as it is, not enough Gp Surgeries or school places.

Well lets start by cutting the Mayoral Salary, the Pond is a mess, you only have to see how Dirty it is, High Street looks run down.

Paving Slabs!!!!!!!!
this woman talks so much crap, good to see the pressure on Watford Observer and they are finally printing the truth and exposing all the lies from the Council regarding a Wealth Campus, Return for Watford Tax payers? Watford has too much development as it is, not enough Gp Surgeries or school places. Well lets start by cutting the Mayoral Salary, the Pond is a mess, you only have to see how Dirty it is, High Street looks run down. Paving Slabs!!!!!!!! Veritas
  • Score: 11

6:14pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Veritas says...

This woman talks so much Crap!! You wonder if she has the brains to
make up these sound bites?

Close the Door on Future Hospital developments?

Dotty you silly Mare the Hospital is going begging to the Govt for more money, whilst they have made huge payments to a discredited Mr Filowski!!

It is a normal tactic to bleat on like this to the end, shame the lawyers
did not point out how wrong she is!!!
This woman talks so much Crap!! You wonder if she has the brains to make up these sound bites? Close the Door on Future Hospital developments? Dotty you silly Mare the Hospital is going begging to the Govt for more money, whilst they have made huge payments to a discredited Mr Filowski!! It is a normal tactic to bleat on like this to the end, shame the lawyers did not point out how wrong she is!!! Veritas
  • Score: 6

6:22pm Thu 24 Jul 14

#UKMum says...

What happened WO? First a FT histoical timeline. How sweet. Then a pro FT article - amazing! Pity you did all this so late in the day. You realise The Royal Courts of Justice Event is tomorrow don't you? Unfortunately you nailed your colours to SS Dorothy's mast some time ago so we guess you are sailing with her. Bon Voyage.
What happened WO? First a FT histoical timeline. How sweet. Then a pro FT article - amazing! Pity you did all this so late in the day. You realise The Royal Courts of Justice Event is tomorrow don't you? Unfortunately you nailed your colours to SS Dorothy's mast some time ago so we guess you are sailing with her. Bon Voyage. #UKMum
  • Score: 13

6:55pm Thu 24 Jul 14

watford gal says...

Well said UKMum !
Well said UKMum ! watford gal
  • Score: 5

7:44pm Thu 24 Jul 14

ancientandageing says...

utter rot building houses on the rest of the nearby land is what is closing the door
utter rot building houses on the rest of the nearby land is what is closing the door ancientandageing
  • Score: 6

10:23pm Thu 24 Jul 14

D_Penn says...

I do not see any coherent or compelling argument from Thornhill here. When the hospital has no idea what it needs in terms of money or land how can building a housing estate and destroying the allotments magically make a new hospital viable when so much is unknown?

Her argument is pure drivel and hype unsupported by any hard facts.

It is clear to all those fighting this nonsense that the Mayor simply wants to build more flats to hit the government build target to qualify for the home building grant. That will fill the council coffers and allow them to say how good they are at financial management when all they ever do is sell off more and more of Watford's precious green space. Disgraceful.
I do not see any coherent or compelling argument from Thornhill here. When the hospital has no idea what it needs in terms of money or land how can building a housing estate and destroying the allotments magically make a new hospital viable when so much is unknown? Her argument is pure drivel and hype unsupported by any hard facts. It is clear to all those fighting this nonsense that the Mayor simply wants to build more flats to hit the government build target to qualify for the home building grant. That will fill the council coffers and allow them to say how good they are at financial management when all they ever do is sell off more and more of Watford's precious green space. Disgraceful. D_Penn
  • Score: 7

12:43am Fri 25 Jul 14

drunkenduck says...

"Good return for the town’s taxpayers". If Dottie RESIGNS.

She has been LYING to the taxpayer since day one. By misleading the public and the press based on a LIE.

Resign Dottie, Resign.
"Good return for the town’s taxpayers". If Dottie RESIGNS. She has been LYING to the taxpayer since day one. By misleading the public and the press based on a LIE. Resign Dottie, Resign. drunkenduck
  • Score: 3

9:58am Fri 25 Jul 14

Veritas says...

we want to know as posted on facebook, what property interests
that incoherent Husband of Dottys, Cllr Sharpe has? is there any conflict of interests?

The plot thickens, we hope it comes out in court.

Did not see any other dodgy Fib dem Councillors trying to defend the
Wealth Campus recently.
Have Derbyshire and Co jumped Ship?
After all they came out with such a false defence of the Wealth Campus
in the paper, they must be hanging their heads in Shame.

Lets see how this crappy paper spins the outcome.

Terrace Farm you have done more for Watford, to expose this disgrace
of a council than any one. Well done, even if you were only interested
in your Plots, you have unravelled a far more sinister PLOT, with the
goings on in the Council and Dodgy Developments.
we want to know as posted on facebook, what property interests that incoherent Husband of Dottys, Cllr Sharpe has? is there any conflict of interests? The plot thickens, we hope it comes out in court. Did not see any other dodgy Fib dem Councillors trying to defend the Wealth Campus recently. Have Derbyshire and Co jumped Ship? After all they came out with such a false defence of the Wealth Campus in the paper, they must be hanging their heads in Shame. Lets see how this crappy paper spins the outcome. Terrace Farm you have done more for Watford, to expose this disgrace of a council than any one. Well done, even if you were only interested in your Plots, you have unravelled a far more sinister PLOT, with the goings on in the Council and Dodgy Developments. Veritas
  • Score: 1

11:32am Fri 25 Jul 14

LocalBoy1 says...

"improved hospital facilities". Funny, I seem to remember in the beginning that the allotments were needed for a NEW hospital and Health Campus? Slippery b#ggers these Lib Dem run WBC lot...
"improved hospital facilities". Funny, I seem to remember in the beginning that the allotments were needed for a NEW hospital and Health Campus? Slippery b#ggers these Lib Dem run WBC lot... LocalBoy1
  • Score: 2

8:40am Sat 26 Jul 14

Dravid says...

if she had spoken to THEM (we holders of allotments at Farm Terrace) in the first place a range of compromises could have been made. Including giving some allotment land to the hospital.
The fact that Dorothy the Dinosaur has tried to bully her plans through without proper consultation or even the common decency to involve those affected, followed by misinformation, subterfuge and outright lies, shows the calibre of this woman. She bases her decisions for the benefit of Watford on a calculator only and forgets that their are people involved.
All recent projects in Watford have failed to add a social or arts aspect to the outcome showing that decisions by calculator do not tend to the city's needs.
if she had spoken to THEM (we holders of allotments at Farm Terrace) in the first place a range of compromises could have been made. Including giving some allotment land to the hospital. The fact that Dorothy the Dinosaur has tried to bully her plans through without proper consultation or even the common decency to involve those affected, followed by misinformation, subterfuge and outright lies, shows the calibre of this woman. She bases her decisions for the benefit of Watford on a calculator only and forgets that their are people involved. All recent projects in Watford have failed to add a social or arts aspect to the outcome showing that decisions by calculator do not tend to the city's needs. Dravid
  • Score: 4

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