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Reopen Sudbury allotments instead of building houses, Brent Council told
Former Sudbury allotments marked for sale to build housing two years ago should be opened up again to green-fingered residents, a councillor says.
The 4,290 sq metres of land next to Elms Gardens, which has been derelict for more than 12 years, used to form part of Brent Council’s network of allotments, but councillors agreed a deal to sell it to Notting Hill Housing Trust in November 2010 for £1.4m.
The plan was to build 15 flats and 12 houses, which would provide temporary accommodation for families forced to move out of the nearby Barham Park Estate while it was redeveloped.
But the buildings never materialised, leading Sudbury Liberal Democrat councillor Chandubhai Patel to argue that as families are now being let into brand new flats in Barham Park, the development was no longer needed.
Some families have been allowed back into the first phase of revamped Barham Park Estate, and the 62 homes for social housing, 31 for shared ownership and 37 for private sale are expected to be fully occupied by October.
Cllr Patel said: “The council needs to make clear its plans for the old allotment site.
“Until an official announcement is made, residents will understandably be concerned that Labour could go back to the original plan to develop the land.
“Allotments are increasingly popular. Returning the site to its original use, and perhaps setting aside some of the area for wildlife, would be a positive move for local people. If the council helps clear the site local residents could take it over and help manage it in the future.”
Angry campaigners handed in a petition signed by 117 people objecting to the plans in 2010, and a delegation of 30 made impassioned pleas to the council before it made the decision that it would rob the area of much-needed green space.
Last week, the council agreed a new strategy for allotments to deal with a resurgence in their popularity – with more than 250 people currently on the waiting list for a plot.
But there was no mention of the Sudbury allotments, with the focus instead on better management of the current plots – including reducing the size of larger ones – to eliminate the waiting list within three years.
The Harrow Times is waiting for a response from Brent Council on its future plans for the site.