The council has received confirmation from the Secretary of State that he has granted consent to appropriate the Farm Terrace allotment land for the Watford Health Campus scheme.
This outcome means that the Secretary of State agreed with the case presented by the council that there were overwhelming reasons why the land was essential to the Watford Health Campus, particularly in terms of the economic viability of the Health Campus scheme and the wider public benefits of improved hospital facilities, housing and green accessible space.
As part of its submission, the council had to make clear to the Secretary of State that the overall level of allotment provision in the town will remain the same and the 60 or so Farm Terrace allotment holders affected will be offered good quality, alternative provision within the borough – many within walking distance. The council was also able to demonstrate its on-going commitment to allotments by its £800,000 investment plan to improve and upgrade all sites in Watford.
Dorothy Thornhill, Elected Mayor of Watford said: “A decision to allow the disposal of allotment land is important and controversial. That’s why the Secretary of State is a vital arbiter, who weighs up all the reasons and evaluates the need to do it.
“I am pleased that the decision has gone in our favour. This means the new hospital facilities will be far more achievable, and our plans to regenerate a section of West Watford that currently lies derelict more viable. I know many of the Farm Terrace allotment holders will be disappointed, but we will be re-providing them all with replacement allotments and creating much more open green space for all to enjoy.“
Samantha Jones, Chief Executive, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust comments: “The positive decision provides extra scope for our plans. We will continue to work closely with all partners involved to deliver the best possible facilities for the future. We are grateful to the allotment holders for their support for the use of hospital facilities as we fully appreciate their position.”