The High Court has today upheld the decision that allows Farm Terrace allotments to be used for the benefit of the Watford Health Campus scheme.
Today’s news follows a hearing which sought to establish whether the decision made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government earlier this year had been made properly. Mrs Justice Lang found that this was the case:
“In my judgment, the Secretary of State was correct to hold that the interference with the… rights of the allotment holders was justified and proportionate because of the wider public benefits to be gained by incorporation of the allotments into the Scheme. Given the allocation of new allotments nearby, the assistance to re-locate, and financial compensation to the allotment holders, I consider that a fair balance has been struck.”
Speaking on the outcome Baroness Dorothy Thornhill, elected Mayor of Watford said:
“We are extremely pleased as we have always believed this is the right decision for the town and our residents. The Health Campus is a vital part of Watford’s future. Including the allotment land ensures it is going to be the scheme we have always thought the community, and our hospital, deserves.
“With the opening of the new road this month, we are really starting to see the difference the Health Campus is making to the area. We have always been clear that a large part of the allotments will be set aside for the hospital’s plans but it also helps deliver our ambitions for more family homes and quality open space for the whole community. The additional land also means that the council’s investment is more secure and, at a time when we are facing a £3million reduction in our budget, will, in future, be used to support the services that are important to our town and residents.
“We have done everything we can to work with the few remaining allotment holders on relocation and compensation. Anyone who has wanted to continue as an allotment holder has been helped to do so – many are now on new sites and continue to be part of our thriving allotment community, which recently benefitted from an £850k investment programme. It is also important to remember that we are replacing all the land at another site and so there are just as many allotment plots available to Watford residents. ”
See a copy of Mrs Justice Lang’s approved judgment here