Friday 26 July 2013

Spare a tenner for crucial challenge to government on allotments sell-off

I donated this morning to the Farm Terrace Allotments Fighting Fund. Here's why in the Campaign's own words:

Farm Terrace Allotment site Watford has existed since 1896. It stands in the centre of the hugely urbanized town of Watford. An oasis in an Urban Jungle. However we are in the middle of a bitter war with our council and central government who want to build housing on our site. This is becoming an epidemic, as more and more councils see selling off precious allotment sites as a way of generating cash. Since 2007 there have been 132 separate applications to close down allotments under section 8 of the 1925 Allotments Act. Out of these 132 applications 97% were approved (128 cases) and only 4 cases refused. Plot holders feel powerless to protest about these closures because the government have such power – until now.

Our case shows that the Secretary of State has not applied his policy lawfully and we are going to take legal action to prove it! If we win, not only will we save farm terrace but we will strike a blow for the protection of allotments all over England as it will make it much harder for them to be developed on! As far as we are aware no decision to close an allotment site has been legally challenged before and if won would be referred to in future allotment closure applications.

Leading counsel who specialises in public law has advised that the Secretary of State’s decision is unlawful! Following this advice we have decided to challenge his disturbing decision in court but to do this we desperately need your help.

We need to raise money quickly to prove that we can fund our case. The British Government knows this and as they have shown this by agreeing to the change of use of the land even though we met all the criteria to keep it as an allotment. They didn’t take us seriously then so let’s make them take notice of us now!

Please donate as much as you can, we believe that if all our supporters gave only £10.00 each we could reach our goal very quickly. We need to do this very soon or our window of opportunity to bring it to Judicial Review will close.

If we do not raise enough money to go ahead, or if we raise more money than we need, all donations will be divided between various charities and other environmental and allotment campaigns - which have yet to be decided, unless you indicate that you would prefer your donation to be returned to you when you donate. If you do ask for this, we will be in touch to return your donation should we not use it in pursuing this legal challenge.

The allotment movement came out of a belief that everyone should have the possibility to grow their own produce near to their homes. Historically allotments are intrinsically part of the British landscape and British tradition. We believe in democratic decisions, and allotments are still needed now, more than ever. If all allotment holders keep quiet and do not stand up and be counted alongside us it is our very real fear that allotments will, in the very near future, be assigned to the history books.

Please help Save Farm Terrace. Please help save ALL allotments.


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