Allotments Campaigners Reject Alternative Site Offer
Duke of Northumberland's Lion Gate proposal 'not a suitable location'
Campaigners against the Duke of Northumberland's plans to build flats and houses on allotments at Park Road have flatly rejected the offer of an alternative site at Lion Gate on London Road, Isleworth.
They argue that the new site does not meet the stipulation that any alternative provision offered for relocation needs to be equivalent or better.
Sharon Proberts, chair of the Park Road Allotment Association said, "This proposed allotment site won’t benefit anyone in local community, but the estate must demonstrate that they have secured an alternative site for the Park Road allotment holders. Once they have planning permission for the Syon Park allotment site, they are much more likely to succeed with their main application to develop Park Road and build 119 flats and 8 houses – on land that is designated a local open space."
The group say that the restrictions that would be placed on the proposed allotment site mean they do not meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 which stipulates that replacement sites should be of better quantity and quality than the original. According to the Park Road Allotment Association, the 37 spaces being offered are not full size 10 rod plots so effectively there will be 6.5 fewer full plots.
In addition they say that the proposal to provide a low-rise tool store per plot and a shed between two plots at the new sites is not an equivalent or better provision. Also, the estate’s own soil analysis reveals that there is 150mm of top soil over sand/gravel sub-soil which will be less suitable for growing than the current site.
Syon Park is designated as Metropolitan Open Land (the urban version of Green Belt) The parkland was designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown; Lion Gate was designed by Robert Adam and is now a Grade 1 listed structure. Campaigners say that is not a suitable location for an allotment site.
The association have asked the Georgian Society to review the plans saying should be consulted about landscape changes around G1 listed buildings.
The Isleworth Society have had an application granted to designate the allotments as an Asset of Community Value which means that the community would have six months in which to put together a bid if the land were up for sale. This does not however stop Northumberland Estates from building on the land.
The homes would be mostly two bed houses built for private rent to help subsidise Syon House and the surrounding estates. Syon House needs over £10 million for repairs.
The dispute has also brought about a potential Percy family split, according to the Sunday Times. The president of the Isleworth Society is Caroline de Cabarrus, the sister of the Duke, who lives in a property overlooking the disputed site.
Allotment holders say it's not just about the plots but the area provides a haven for local wildlife including a lot of rare if not endangered birds and is part of the landscape surrounding the 600 year old All Saint's Church.
Nearly 1,000 people have signed the petition against moving the allotments to date.
The associated planning application is still open for comments from members of the public.
We have contacted the agent acting on behalf of Northumberland Estates in this matter to ask them to comment on the claims of the Park Road Allotments Association but have yet to receive a response.
March 17, 2016