The Leatherhead Residents Association are uniting with all concerned individuals & groups in the community about the plight of Barnett Wood Lane Allotments (Poors Allotments) and the Green Belt.
We like many were alarmed when we heard that the allotment holders might have to move, and that the MV Executive wanted to develop the site in association with Merton College, Oxford’s 20 acres of Green Belt land, without prior public consultation or completion of the Green Belt Boundary Review.
At our LRA meeting on Monday March 4th, a number of the allotment holders joined us to seek help.
Members of the LRA recently walked for 20 minutes from Barnett Wood Lane Allotments, along Barnett Wood Lane and then a considerable distance along a roller coaster farm track to the proposed site on the other side of the M25, to appraise for themselves the suitability.
There are around 150 allotment holders on the current site, many from North Leatherhead. We hear that as plots are being vacated, they are not being re-let.
OBSERVATIONS re Proposed site.
- It’s in Ashtead not Leatherhead. Barnett Wood Lane Allotments were given to the people of Leatherhead. The massive field is out of sight of all but a distant row of houses. Would it be safe for a woman to work on her own there? We wouldn’t feel comfortable there alone.
- The soil seems poor, although we have been told the area proposed
- for the allotments is light and will be easy to work. However it will take years to create the rich fertile soil of the current site.
- There will be air and noise pollution from the motorway, and it’s possible the soil may be toxic – an issue that is endorsed by Guildford University research.
- No public transport nearby for those unable to walk. Many are elderly.
- The suggestion of minibuses is ridiculous. Clearly suggested by someone who has no understanding of allotment holders and how and when they work their plots. Some people who need it most and for whom the Barnett Wood Lane Allotments were intended will not be able to get to this site.
- It is proposed to put the Horticultural hut and a toilet block on the site. The Hut is proposed to be built near the flood plain. with parking on both sides of the field – ie further development of the green belt. Many who currently use this hut will not make the effort to drive all this way.
- This secluded site can be approached on foot several directions. It would be impossible to police satisfactorily. There would need to be a high fence and a locked gate to keep intruders out.
- There is already well established Graffiti on wall over the railway line along this farm track. There is massive scope for vandalism and theft. A huge allotment inside a human and or rabbit proof fence, would feel more like a prison than an allotment!
- There is evidence of rabbits and wild life. If so, as already mentioned there would need to be a very secure rabbit proof fence around the allotments.
- There would need to be at least 2 locks needed to deter unwanted guests. There are always problems for allotment holder where locks are involved. This would be compounded because plot holder would mostly have to drive to get there along a roller coaster farm track, and would have to stop on Barnett Wood Lane, unlock the gate, drive in, lock the gate.
Barnett Wood Lane Allotment is an important part of Leatherhead’s history.
People need suitable, easily accessible, amenity sites as a buffer to the wear and tear of 21st century living. It would clearly cost a bomb to relocate the allotments to this in many ways unsuitable proposed site that is not in Leatherhead .
We believe it’s short sighted and not in the long term interests of our young ones, nor our environment to only consider short term financial gain.
If like us you are concerned, please join us at our LRA Special Meeting Monday 8th April at 8 p.m. at the Letherhead Institute, when a panel of three eminent speakers will address members and visitors on current community issues: Barnett Wood Lane Allotments, the Green Belt Review (you can make comments on the Green Belt boundary review until March 28th), our ‘Market Town’, with Qs & As. This will be preceded by a short AGM at 7.30 p.m.