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NOTE FOR NEW READERS - THIS PAGE IS OUR ORIGINAL CAMPAIGN OPENING PAGE LEFT INTACT SO AS TO GIVE THE ESSENCE OF OUTRAGE AT & ANNOYANCE WITH OUR LOCAL COUNCIL. AS AT DECEMBER 2017, THE NEW DRAFT LOCAL PLAN SAYS THE WHOLE SITE TO BE USED AS ALLOTMENTS. THE PLAN WILL NOT BE APPROVED UNTIL 2019 SO FINGERS CROSSED!


WHEN YOU'VE READ THIS PAGE, PLEASE SEE OUR LIBRARY SECTION FOR KEY DOCUMENTS & PRESS ARTICLES

 

HELP US PUT A STOP TO HOUSING ON OUR LOCAL ALLOTMENT SITE

  

In 2006, Worplesdon residents from the Broad Street/Broadacres area got together with like-minded people from neighbouring Westborough to form a campaigning group (WBDRA) dedicated to preserving our areas Open Spaces generally and to preserve the Aldershot Road Allotment site in particular.


What we're fighting for is to save over 2 acres of a 7-acre site from being bulldozed and concreted over.
 

What's at stake is 2 acres of ancient Woodland Margin, Greenfield Open Space and Wildlife Habitat AND the battle against an intransigent and undemocratic local Council.
 

In the mid-1990s, not many people were interested in Allotments and a lot of sites nationally fell into disuse. Sadly, the dereliction was often promoted by local Councils keen to flog off the land to developers. The legal term for Councils doing this is "blighting" - where they fail to promote Allotment Usage, make life difficult for allotment tenants eg by turning water supplies off, failing to make sites secure & worse! Councils hope they will encourage tenants to give up, then they can justify flogging off the land.
 

In our case all this happened and in 1997 Guildford Borough Council decided to have a public consultation about issues in the Borough. They did consult with the usual Statutory Consultees and authorities BUT didn't consult with Allotment tenants AND WORSE STILL, they didn't consult with the local people either (several hundred of us as it happens) or local interest/community groups.
 

What they did was to send round a leaflet called "About Guildford" to all the houses in Guildford in late July/early August 1997. Of course that's the time most people are away on holiday so minimum readership guaranteed!


In this leaflet was a mention of “Have Your Say” about the area BUT THERE WAS NO MENTION OF ALLOTMENT SITES AT ALL!!.

So, if you weren't away on holiday and did actually read this leaflet, who would reasonably conclude that there was any threat to our local Allotment Site?
 

In 2000, GBC appointed a new Community Worker who discovered that GBC were planning to build on the whole site! This seems to have been quietly dropped after it became public knowledge within the local Allotment Community.

4/5 years later, local residents found out by accident that the Council had published a thing called the 2003 Local Plan on their Website. In it, there was a small paragraph ("H3" - in the Section 5 Housing Plan) which said that part of our Allotment Site was going to be turned into Housing). THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME any local residents had heard of this and WE WERE OUTRAGED! 

We were not consulted, we were not involved and a beautiful piece of the area's Greenfield Open Space was going to be built on!

 
Our heritage, our Open Space, our Community Asset had been STOLEN BY STEALTH!


So we're fighting a battle about our human rights as Council Tax payers, opposing unelected officials ruining our area and an undemocratic local council keen to flog off our community assets.


If that's not enough, after 1997, the Council withdrew some 30 former Allotment Plots from cultivation and let them go fallow. Then they created a new Allotment Management Agency (GAS) and put a Council Employee in charge. Guess what – the Council didn’t consult Allotment tenants about that either! This Agency (GAS) only has a 25-year lease for 70 Allotments on site - BUT NOT for the former Allotments in the section under threat of Housing!


AND WE'RE FIGHTING FOR THE AREA'S WILDLIFE TOO!
 

Mother Nature has taken a keen interest in the land earmarked for Housing and a vast array of Wildlife now proliferates in this part of the site.
 

Some of the rare species which inhabit, breed and feed here are: Pipistrelles, Stag Beetles, Slow-worms, Dormice, Bullfinches and we have actually seen a rare Wood White butterfly!


Some of the commoner species who thrive & prosper here are:

 
BIRDS: Green Woodpeckers, Lesser & Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, Long-tailed Tits and all members of the UK Tit Family, Finches (Gold, Green), Corvin (Crows, Magpies & Jays), Robins, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Wrens, Sparrowhawks, Kestrels, Firecrests, Goldcrests, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves.


ANIMALS: Field Mice, Newts, Foxes, Hedgehogs, Squirrels, Common Frog....& many many more!


And as an amateur entomologist myself – I could fill pages about the Butterflies, Moths, Beetles & Insect life that we have on this site.


All of this is under threat! Once it's been concreted over, all of this will have gone - never to return!

To add to our campaign, there has been a resurgence of interest in Growing Your Own & Vegetable Gardening - thanks to people like Jamie Oliver, Alan Titchmarsh & Monty Don. And let's not forget Wallace & Gromit in "Curse of the WereRabbit"!!


There were 160+ names on the Waiting List for Allotments in Guildford, and some 17 families waiting to get on to our site (Aldershot Road site) - as @ mid 2007. We understand from Guildford Allotment Society that the List has grown considerably in 2008(Yes it has - see PPS below -nearly 50 on the list as @ Dec 2008 - Editor)


Furthermore, there are acres of Brownfield development land in the Borough - most of it owned by the Council & Government Depts. Why not build houses on there?
 

SO PLEASE HELP & JOIN OUR FIGHT TO SAVE THIS SUPERB WILDLIFE SITE & COMMUNITY ASSET.

You can read about the Allotment site at:

www.washa.org.uk

You will be able to keep up to date with our campaign website: www.saveouropenspaces.com
 

If you want to be actively involved or would like want to help us in any small way - e.g.by sending us Press cuttings about Allotments, Wildlife or Housing issues, you can get in touch via the Guestbook section below or e-mail us at: wbdra@yahoo.co.uk

As mentioned above, you can see the key documents from the Council and related Press coverage in the Library section of this website.
 

Thanks for your time and interest

David Bird
WBDRA Chairman

 

 PS - An update on Guildford Allotment Society (GAS) - late 2007. The entire original GAS committee resigned to be replaced by non-council employees and dedicated Allotmenteers. Things have improved no end for Allotment tenants in Guildford but GAS still don't have a lease for any of the 39 plots mentioned above.

 PPS - Dec 2008. We have had the one & only proper Public Consultation in 2008 about the future of the Site. More than 260 local residents took the trouble to participate in the voting on the options for our Allotment Site and the result was an overwhelming 260+ votes saying NO to Housing. Not one said YES! See the Consultation Update Section for more details.

 Also, there are 50 people on the Waiting List as @ Dec 2012. Many are families (each family is only one name/person on the list). What is more, we guesstimate there are still another 50 or so in the locality who have told us they would like an Allotment locally but have not put their name on the Waiting List.
 

 




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