Allotment holders refuse to give up fight to protect land from developers - The Leamington Observer

Allotment holders refuse to give up fight to protect land from developers

Leamington Editorial 4th Feb, 2018   0

ALLOTMENT holders in Wellesbourne are not giving up the fight to save their historic plots from developers.

The Kineton Road allotments, on land rented from the Diocese of Coventry, have been tended by families in the village for more than 170 years.

But last summer church officials announced plans to sell the land to developers to build 50 homes.

The move was met with fierce opposition from the Wellesbourne Allotment Association (WAA) and the formation of campaign group Save our Allotment Site.

Church officials this week announced a new proposal to develop just a section of the site to create an access road to new houses on an adjacent field.

But a WAA spokesman said the group suspected the move was simply a way for the diocese to eventually develop the allotments ‘by the back door’.

He added: “We strongly feel the diocese continues to misunderstood the strength of local feeling about the destruction of our allotments as well as to more housing in the village on the surrounding allotment fields.

“It seems to us that the temptation to maximise the church assets regardless of the human cost has a vice-like grip over Coventry Diocese.

“The Church of England stands to make millions out of sale of our allotment land. Land they have never paid a penny for.

He explained the land had been gifted into the care of the diocese in 1733, and the first record of allotments was in 1840, making it one of the oldest allotments in the UK.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Coventry confirmed a committee had met this week to discuss the matter but had made no final decision.

She added: “After a thorough discussion the committee agreed to continue to look at ways to address the allotment holders concerns.

“One possible option may involve the allotment association remaining, with increased security, on a single site which would include the majority of their existing site.

“This and other possible options will be explored further with representatives of the allotment association in the coming weeks.”

The allotments have previously hosted BBC Gardeners’ Question Time and also featured on Monty Don’s Big Dreams Small Spaces.

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