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Oct 31 2016

Harrow Council muses scrapping allotments; building houses instead?

harrow_council_broken_2That’s the problem when the clocks go back: rather than sipping a cold beer on the patio, whilst watching Marge in the garden next door trim her bush, glass of gin only the merest whisker away from her, you end up trawling through the acres of meeting minutes, notes, briefings, presentations and other documents that the council slings our, having paid countless people to do nothing but generate paperwork. Produce enough crap, and somewhere you’ll be able to hide some bad news, I guess.

Tonight’s comment, buried deep within the documents for a future Overview and Scrutiny Meeting – and there’s a snappily-named committee if ever you’ve heard one – is this gem which is a report by the ‘Homelessness Scrutiny Review Challenge Panel”  – those quango names just don’t stop coming, do they?

The report looks at homelessness across the borough: certainly a serious issue, with homelessness at it’s highest level in nearly a decade. The report also contains a number of recommendations, one of which is (page 5, here):

“To request that officers be instructed to investigate options around utilisation of green belt land and allotments…”

Or, to put it another way, can the council get away with scrapping allotments across the borough, and use those pieces of prime real estate to knock up small estates instead.

Figures from 2015 shows that there are almost 700 people on the waiting list for an allotment in Harrow; and that the council has only 34 allotment sites comprising of nearly 1400 plots across the borough.

It would certainly help the council raise some much-needed money. Having just decided to borrow £300,000,000 to finance the Chief Exec’s fancy regeneration scheme – a sum so eye-wateringly big, it even makes him own £130,000 salary look like a drop (drip?) in the ocean. And let’s remember, residents will likely be paying off this massive loan for decades to come, long after the expected portrait of Sir Lockwood, having had a large cock and balls drawn over it, has been torn down.

But to even consider building over allotments, what little green space the borough has left? Really? This smacks of a council out of control and out of touch. Unfortunately, they’re not yet out of sight.

 

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6 comments

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  1. Concerned Harrovian

    The words “concrete jungle” come to mind. What an inane idea from Horror Council to change this green and leafy borough into a suburb of ticky-tacky boxes!. How are the Council going to provide the infrastructure (libraries, doctors, dentists, opticians, chiropodists, etc.) that will be needed? Maybe another eye-watering loan?

    Perhaps Sir Lockwood,his staff and the Councillors could increase their salaries by renting out a few rooms in their homes. The homeless have somewhere to live, they would have the rent and there would be no charge on the Council Tax and the borough would retain the allotments

  2. Comcerned Harrovian

    Another thought, I wonder if Sir Michael of Lockwood has read of the exploits of Don Quixote?

    1. red mirror

      well he is certainly tilted.

  3. Susan Hall

    Just for information Councils can build on Allotment land if they provide alternative sites. Section 8 of the Allotment Act 1925 states that ‘Where a local authority has purchased (or appropriated) land for use as allotments the local authority shall not sell, appropriate, use or dispose of the land for any purpose other than use for allotments without the consent of the Secretary of State for the Environment and such consent (may be given unconditionally or subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State thinks fit, but) shall not be given unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that adequate provision will be made for allotment holders displaced by the action of the local authority or that such provision is unnecessary or not reasonably practicable.

    I am passionate about our allotments and I hope proved this when responsible for them between 2006-2010. The allotment holders are fantastic residents and I will support them 100% if our elected Labour Members decide to look at that land. Will Labour not rest until we do in fact have a concrete jungle. Residents please let your views be known because some of these regeneration plans will change our lives forever.

    1. red mirror

      yes the allotment a quintessentially english past time about to be obliterated.I wonder will this ever growing architectural carbuncle manufacturer ever stop ? must every little oasis be raped and give birth to bastard concrete monstrosities square soulless edifices that reflect the complete lack of any aesthetic appreciation whatsoever of the (architect ).Nature nurtures the soul and mind people need to keep an equilibrium and time spent even on a small plot in an allotment can i know help solve many a mental or spiritual fog /dilemma of the individual.I DESPAIR MICHAEL LACKGOOD.

  4. Another concerned Harrovian

    “utilisation of green belt land and allotments”

    As well as the allotment sites does this indicate that ANY piece of council ground – irrespective of size or location – is potentially under threat?

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