Thursday, 10 January 2019

Need to safeguard our allotments as development proposal made for Roundwood site

The triangle ear-marked for development - allotments top right
Several people have drawn my attention to the development plans for the Roundwood triangle formed by Longstone Avenue and Harlesden Road.

The plans involve building on the allotments that can be seen on the ariel view above (top right) and, because the site is under-utilised replacing them with a site of fewer plots elsewhere in Roundwood Park.

I have covered concern from several allotment sites about the Council's failure to re-let plots quickly leading them to be overgrown and hard to bring back into cultivation when they are eventually let.

In a posting in June 2018  LINK I wrote about the issue and said:
Meanwhile, following other examples of neglect of council resources such as garages on estates, there is a fear that pictures of neglect and low use rates such as those above, could lead to justification for a policy of selling off  allotments to be used for housing developments.
The proposal for Roundwood has been put into the project mainstream with £0.5m to be spent and  in 2019-20, £20m in 2020-21and £24.5m in 2021-24:
The allotments and 1-47 Longstone Avenue will be two relatively rough sites sitting between two brand new developments in Knowles House and an existing new development that has been completed and sold off.
The proposal is to buy out the lease holders in 1-47 Longstone Avenue and develop a new corner block. The massing Visual does not include the allotments that are located at the rear which have no overlooking and could be developed up to four storeys, with the allotments (half dozen in use) being relocated on to a small portion of Roundwood Park directly to the back, this allows us to not lose the allotment use as part of the scheme as allotments are considered to be a leisure activity.

The worry is that if this is conceded other lucrative allotment sites could be threatened by a land-hungry council with a potential reduction in the size of sites because of the number of unlet plots.

Precedent was set in the famous case of Farm Terrace in Watford which I covered HERE.

All may not be lost as Brent Council have tasked an officer from the Parks Department with looking after the borough's allotments and I hope that he will be proactive in letting plots. Clearly there has been a problem when we are told that there are hundreds on the allotment waiting list and so many are at present unlet.

Meanwhile allotment holders should keep an eye out for people in hard hats, high vis jackets and measuring tapes!

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