Leeds & West Yorkshire

Huddersfield allotment holders in Court of Appeal blow

Pat Worthington Image copyright Friends of Cemetery Road Allotments
Image caption Pat Worthing, secretary of Cemetery Road Allotments, is one of those who may now have to leave the site

Campaigners have lost a battle to stop their allotments being bulldozed and turned into school playing fields after the Court of Appeal ruled against them.

The allotment holders thought they had won their two-year fight to save their plots in Huddersfield after the High Court ruled in their favour.

However, the decision was overturned following an appeal by Kirklees Council.

The land will now be used for playing fields for a new £9.7m school.

Council leader Shabir Pandor said: "Although I can sympathise with the allotment holders we have to focus our priorities.

"These rulings will make a significant difference to the futures of thousands of local children."

Image copyright Cemetery Road Allotments Facebook
Image caption The campaigners may appeal against the Court of Appeal decision

Under the council's plans, the Cemetery Road allotments will lose 32 plots to make way for Brambles Primary Academy's new playing fields.

The council said it offered the affected allotment holders alternative plots but some were "unwilling to accept the change".

Campaigners launched an online petition, which attracted more than 6,800 signatures and took the council to the High Court, funding the case with their own cash and £2,500 of donations from a Crowdjustice page.

The council said the Cemetery Road plots in Huddersfield were temporary, despite them being used since 1935, while the allotment holders argued planners should have first applied for a change of use of the land.

'Very, very disappointed'

A High Court judge found against the council, order it to pay campaigners' legal costs of £12,119 within a month.

However, on Tuesday, Court of Appeal judges ruled that the council's legal argument was correct.

Campaigner Debbie Fulgoni told BBC Radio Leeds: "We're very, very disappointed that they've overturned the judicial review. We can ask for an appeal against this decision which is something we'll now have to consider."

The council said it hoped the campaigners would now accept an offer of relocation and "work with us to ensure a smooth transition to the new allotments".

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