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Oxford community fights to save allotments at East Minchery Farm

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 08:47

Lettuces on the allotment Lettuces on the allotment

2 October 2012

Oxford City Council needs to respect the wishes of local residents and protect both allotments and the green space at East Minchery Farm.

The future of the area is being discussed at the Examination in Public of Oxford City Council’s Sites & Housing Development Plan Document. The City has allocated the site for housing development, maintaining only limited public open space.

Falcon Close residents have argued that at least 40% of the site should be kept as allotments, with further space allocated for a green play area and a community garden. This would still leave 40% of the site available for housing.

Last week, the Planning Inspector Dr Shelagh Bussey found that:

‘Evidence from the local community does not support the view of the Council that there is a lack of demand for the retention of allotments on the site. Clarification is required regarding the designated area of allotments at this site and their letting process. Further consideration should be given to their retention, at least in part.’

Despite this, the City Council has still said it only wishes to allocate 25% of the site to open space, and that a games area and a community growing area could be included within this.

Sietske Boeles, Chairman, CPRE Oxford said: “The City Council has claimed that the allotments have fallen into disuse. This really means that the Council stopped investing in or maintaining the site, but it didn’t mean the local need had gone away. Local residents have continued to use the site informally and feel very passionately that they wish to protect it.”

Justine Hubbuck from Falcon Close Residents said: “This whole area was given over to the use of allotments for the use of local community. The Council is now proposing to increase the size of the local community and at the same time proposes to reduce the size of the allotment space to become less than 25% of what it is now.

Sietske Boeles said: “The Council’s own Core Strategy says that development should only be allowed on sites like this ‘if the open space is not required for the well-being of the community it serves’. Food growing encourages healthy eating, exercise and a sense of place. The local community can clearly see the benefits. Why can’t the City Council?’

© CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY - phone 01491 612079 - email campaign@cpreoxon.org.uk 

CPRE Oxfordshire is a registered charity, number 1093081, and company limited by guarantee, registered in England, number 04443278

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