The Appeal Site, which is identified as ‘Local Open Space’ in the Local Plan, is comprised of allotments that have been in use since at least 1917 when the then Duke of Northumberland leased the land to the Council. In 2015, Northumberland Estates terminated the lease and resumed control of the allotments. The purpose of the proposed residential development was to secure an income stream for repairs to Syon House, a Grade I listed heritage asset and the historic London seat of the Dukes of Northumberland. However, in doing so, it would have reduced the allotments’ cultivation space by 79% with the remaining 21% of the Appeal Site to be used for allotments in small plots averaging 60sqm. This falls short of the National Allotment Society’s guidance that 250sqm represents the “standard” plot size.
The Inspector refused permission on the basis that the proposal would conflict with Local and London Plan policies which seek to prevent the loss of open space and encourage the continued use of allotments. He further concluded that replacement allotments would be inferior in both quantity and quality to those currently on site. In this regard, the Inspector held that the replacement plots proposed by the Appellant would be very constrained for cultivation and generally unsuitable for anyone other than beginners. The Inspector also had regard to the high demand for allotments in the area.
The Inspector further dismissed the Appeal on the basis that the proposal would result in less than substantial harm to a number of designated heritage assets.
Claire Nevin acted for the Rule 6 Party, Park Road Allotment Association.