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Guildford’s MP Steps In To Break Stalemate In Bellfields Battle Over Allotments

Published on: 24 May, 2021
Updated on: 25 May, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

Guildford’s MP, Angela Richardson has stepped in to support the Bellfields campaigners’ battle to save their allotments from being taken for the 1,550 houses planned for the Weyside Urban Village.

MP Angela Richardson with Philippa Wright, chair of the Guildford Allotments Society, at the at new North Moor allotment site in March ’21.

Ms Richardson said the Guildford Allotment Society (GAS) had contacted her saying GBC were not “addressing their concerns”.

She said: “Since I became involved, there has been progress and I welcome the moves GBC has made to engage, with the allocation of a dedicated officer to address GAS’s questions – there was another positive meeting this week.

“But key questions remain, such as the number of allotments to remain at Bellfields, which keeps changing and is causing uncertainty.

“I will continue to support allotment holders in getting these questions answered. This is a major transformation of the area; it needs buy-in from the community, it needs to be popular and that is less likely when there are groups who feel that not only have they been disadvantaged by it – but that the local authority was never listening to them.”

An aerial view of the Bellfields Old Farm Lagoon allotments.

Philippa Wright, chair of Guildford Allotment Society, said: “We have appreciated that GBC is now talking with us which is a positive move forward and it seems as though there is going to be a greater degree of transparency which we welcome.

“GBC has moved forward in accepting that some plots have to be retained at Bellfields but the actual number is still under discussion.”

Alastair Watson, spokesperson for “Save The Bellfields Allotments”, said there seemed to be a better level of communication with the new GBC strategic services director, Dawn Hudd. He said the meeting on Tuesday, May 18 was “positive”, adding that it was a developing situation but the “position was clarifying”.

Weyside Urban Village site. The allotments are within the ‘red line’ site boundary and between the Weyfield Primary School and the Guildford Sewage Treatment Works.

GBC wants to take allotment land for the 1,550 home, Weyside Urban Village and has provided a new allotment site on North Moor as a replacement. But Bellfields allotment holders are adamant that their allotments should not be sacrificed.

They say there is a growing demand for allotments and the new development itself will need its own allotment space. The allotment holders have said the council had not consulted with them but had only presented them with a fait accomplis. GBC has denied this.

The Secretary of State rejected an application by GBC to take all of the allotments for the 1,550 housing project in August 2020.

We asked GBC to comment but they had not responded at the time of publication.

See Council Calls For Engagement But Allotment Holders Still Oppose Weyside Proposals and Guildford MP Digs Into Allotment Issues In Weyside Village Plan

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test 2 Responses to Guildford’s MP Steps In To Break Stalemate In Bellfields Battle Over Allotments

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 24, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    So we are to exchange much used and needed allotments for a ghetto of housing density greater than Singapore.

    A site with no drinking water save for the first 49 accommodation units and no ability to cross to the adjacent community as there will be no right turn at the entrance.

    There will be a lottery for parking as less than 50% of that needed is to be provided, and failing to comply with even the old restricted standards of parking level, let alone the new SPD [Supplementary Planning Document]. And it is a “no-dig site” due to asbestos contamination.

    Meanwhile, between now and 2030 inadequate sewage treatment capacity for the current residents who will rely on Thames Water to treat their foul water.

    No, the residents have never been properly consulted. All consultations at GBC run in parallel to the progress of the projects and are never properly integrated. They have not even corrected errors in their flawed EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment] for the site.

    This project is fundamentally wrong and as soon as the councillors and officers accept this fact the sooner we can move on and achieve foul water treatment capacity, now, not in 10-year’s time.

  2. Ross Connell Reply

    May 25, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    While this is a challenging matter would our MP and the campaigners propose an alternative to where this much-needed housing should be built along with the associated infrastructure? Much as I sympathise with the campaigners a more constructive approach is required than denial of new housing.

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