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Letter: Allotments Accuse Council of ‘We Decide, You Obey’ On Weyside Urban Village

Published on: 27 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 27 Nov, 2020
Letter from Alastair Watson

Spokesperson of the Save Bellfields Allotments Group

I would like to respond to the excellent letter published from Jim Allen (Moving sewage plant uphill not my idea of Weyside success).

He clearly and authoritatively outlined his views on the Weyside Urban Village (WUV) plans particularly in respect of the sewage works relocation but also touched on the issue of the Bellfields allotments.

The Secretary of State rejected the application by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) to dispose of the allotments for development. This was an application under the Allotments Act (1925 revision). The SoS made his decision clear in his rejection letter to GBC.

The council have stated that they are seeking advice on their next steps but the WUV plans do not reflect the reality of the SoS decision. GBC continue to regard Bellfields allotments as part of the development. Previously GBC planners ignored the advice of experts in this field. Will they continue to do so?

The SoS is quite clear. The rejection is based on a lack of consultation with allotment holders. That continues. There is inadequate alternative provision in terms of space through new allotments at North Moors, the proposed new site is unsuitable due to its location and they have failed to consider the demand both existing and likely in the future from new housing residents. That demand has significantly increased over the past few months.

Consideration was proposed for additional provision at the existing site at Aldershot Road (Westborough) which is embedded in the local plan. That provision did not meet policy requirements under Section 8 of the Allotments Act.

I can only conclude that notwithstanding the declarations by council leader Joss Bigmore of a new approach of open, transparent dealings with residents GBC continues with their policy of “we decide, you obey”

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