Fringe Box



Guildford MP Will ‘Continue to Mediate’ Between Allotment Tenants And Council

Published on: 26 Nov, 2022
Updated on: 26 Nov, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

Guildford MP Angela Richardson has said that she is happy to continue to mediate between GBC and allotment holders at the new allotment sites being created as part of the Weyside Urban Village scheme.

MP Angela Richardson with Philippa Wright, chair of the Guildford Allotments Cooperative Society, at the new North Moors allotment site in March 2021.

This follows the Secretary of State’s decision earlier this month to allow GBC to take over the majority of the Bellfields allotments and replace them with new plots at North Moors and Aldershot Road. The council had said 113 new allotments for the soon-to-be-evicted Bellfield allotment holders are “ready for occupation” but this was disputed by the tenants.

Philippa Wright, chair of the Guildford Allotments Co-operative Society Ltd (GACSL), had said on hearing of the SoS decision that their “legitimate concerns have not been fairly addressed” by the council. She expressed doubts the council would fulfil their promises to provide the allotments to the agreed specification and warned GBC: “We have support from our MP, Angela Richardson, who we believe will do what she can to ensure fair treatment”.

See Allotment holders ‘Intensely Disapointed’ As Most Bellfields Allotments To Go For Homes

Entrance to Bellfields Allotments.

In a letter to The Dragon (dated November 22), Ms Richardson said she “welcomed the Weyside development because of the much-needed infrastructure” it will bring. She also said the SoS decision “provides clarity on the future of the development”.

Outline plan for the Weyside Urban Village.

The Guildford MP said: “I do understand the frustration of allotment holders. They are being asked to move from a settled site to somewhere new and they are concerned that what they are getting on the new site should be similar to what they have given up.

“For example, soil quality matters, the timing of the move is important in order to ensure crops are cultivated in time – if you have spent many years tending a plot only to give it up in peak condition, you do not want to have to do all that work all over again.

An aerial view of the Bellfields Old Farm Lagoon allotments.

“These allotments were such an important asset to the community during Covid-19 lockdown. Everyone wants that to continue to be the case.

“We have to acknowledge the improved facilities being offered at North Moors, together with the assistance offered from the council to help with the move which the allotment holders will be aware of. It is important that the Weyside development goes ahead and I know that no-one is looking to stand in the way of that.

“The way forward is for all sides to be prepared to talk and communicate more – that has been my position from the beginning. Only by talking and working together will we end up with a solution that everyone is happy with. But I’m sure that we will get there.”

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Responses to Guildford MP Will ‘Continue to Mediate’ Between Allotment Tenants And Council

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 26, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    The contemptuous attitude of GBC to the genuine concerns of the community in respect of the destruction of a much need community asset in favour of an irrational project which has no drinking water and years before STW capacity matches demand. Is a wonder to behold.

    It strongly suggests local democracy has a different definition inside council offices to outside.

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