Sale of Sudbury allotments sparks anger amongst residents
Residents claim the sale of Elms Gardens allotments will deprive the area of desperately needed open space
COUNCIL chiefs have approved plans to sell well-loved allotments – despite strong opposition from residents who claim it will irreversibly damage wildlife.
Brent Council has given the green light to sell Elms Gardens allotments, in Sudbury, to Notting Hill Housing Trust who plan who build new housing there.
But furious residents, who submitted a petition signed by 117 people objecting to the proposal, claim the move will deprive the area of much needed open space.
Leading a 30 strong delegation of residents opposed to the sale, Elms Gardens resident, Kenneth Koramteng, made an impassioned plea to a packed council meeting not to vote through the plans.
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He said: “These allotments are a rare urban commodity, and a cherished area of public space.
“Many residents and nature enthusiasts have taken an interest in the site. It should be saved, in the interests of fairness and justice.”
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Valerie Hirth, 58, is the fifth generation of her family to live in Elms Gardens. She said: “There is already terrible parking and it is just going to get worse. It is going to be like trying to cram sardines into a tin.
“The area is well loved for its beauty and wildlife, but this development will ruin that.”
The allotments were closed last year after the previous administration agreed to sell them, but residents claim they only found out about the plans in August. Since then they have campaigned fiercely against the sale.
Yet despite these objections, the Executive voted unanimously to approve the plans.
The development will be used to provide accommodation for residents decamped from the nearby Barham Park Estate, which is undergoing a multi-million pound regeneration.
As part of the sale, which raised �1.5 million, the council Executive agreed to create a new replacement allotment site in Gladstone Park, Dollis Hill. However, Sudbury residents say that this will do nothing to encourage people in the north of the borough to make use of their open space.
Ralph Rulach, a pensioner who has lived in Elms Park Avenue for 35 years, said: “It is going to have a shocking impact on the area.
“These are 1930’s houses set along narrow streets; we can barely get the dust carts down there as it is. The council are over developing the area.”
Currently 1,080 residents are on the council’s allotment waiting list, and the borough is recognised as having a dire shortage of public, open space.
However, Cllr George Crane, lead member for regeneration, said the sale was crucial in order to provide residents due to move out of their homes in Barham Park with appropriate accommodation near their former homes.
He said: “Elderly residents in particular need to be re-housed nearby.”