Lancashire

Barrow allotments' community value status removed by judge

Barrow allotments Image copyright Google
Image caption The allotment holders were issued with termination notices in March 2016

A council's attempt to protect allotments earmarked for redevelopment as part of a plan for 500 new homes has been overruled at tribunal.

The 75-year-old plots in Barrow, Lancashire, were listed as an asset of community value by Ribble Valley Borough Council in 2016 following a planning application by New Barrow Ltd.

A judge has now removed that status and said using the allotments in the middle of a building site was not "realistic".

The land will become a site compound.

New Barrow Ltd, which owns the land, received planning consent for the project with builders Redrow Homes in 2014 following a public inquiry.

'Strong likelihood'

Members of the Barrow Allotment Holders Association were served with termination notices in March 2016, which stated they had a year to quit the land.

A month later, Ribble Valley Borough Council made the allotments an asset of community value.

The listing, made under the Localism Act 2011, means the owner of the land would have to notify the local authority if they wished to sell it and gives the community six months in which to put together a bid to buy it.

However, at a tribunal at Blackburn Magistrates' Court, Judge Peter Lane ruled that matters had moved on.

He said the "incongruity" of leaving the allotments out of the overall development project was obvious and it was "not realistic to think that use of the listed land as allotments could continue" after building work started.

He added there was "such a strong likelihood of the listed land never reverting to allotments as to make the contrary proposition entirely unrealistic".

The decision was handed down on 2 March but was published for the first time on Wednesday.

New Barrow Ltd said the land was needed for a site depot and that there were health and safety reasons why the allotment holders could not stay.

It added it was trying to find alternative land for allotment owners.

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