Watford Farm Terrace Allotments

Farm Terrace Allotments Judgment

For the third time, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has agreed that Watford Council can appropriate the Farm Terrace Allotment site for a development, despite two previous decisions having been quashed by the High Court after the plot-holders challenged them. The Secretary of State’s policy – which is designed to protect allotments from development – says that consent for appropriation should not be granted if the allotments are not surplus to requirements. The Council admits that the allotments are not surplus to requirements, but maintains (and the Secretary of State agrees) that the need to build on the allotment land constitutes ‘exceptional circumstances which justify building on it anyway, despite the fact that the development will go ahead without the allotments anyway. The allotment holders believe that if ‘exceptional circumstances’ are interpreted in this way, then no allotment in England is safe, because it would be so easy for developers to assert that their application is exceptional. The case will therefore be about far more than Farm Terrace, as it will affect every local authority-owned allotment site in the country.

The case was heard at a rolled-up hearing held at the High Court on 21 October 2016.

Today Mrs Justice Lang handed down her judgment. Justice Lang granted the Claimant, a Farm Terrace Allotment holder, permission to apply for judicial review.

However Justice Lang dismissed the allotment holder’s substantive claim, thus finding that the Secretary of State’s decision to grant consent to Watford Council to appropriate the allotment land for redevelopment was lawful.

Further information about the case can be found on the campaigners’ website and on twitter @SaveFarmTerrace.

A link to the Judgment can be found here.