Riddlesdown Residents Association
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Message started by Trevor on Apr 20th, 2012 at 4:08pm

Title: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Apr 20th, 2012 at 4:08pm
Croydon Council has closed it's waiting list for allotments. The waiting list is currently 3-4 years.

The old horse field on Mitchley Hill (the one that is Green Belt land but was being sold as speculative building plots) could be turned into a large number of allotments very easily.

Is anyone else interested in having an allotment plot nearby? Is there any other unused land that could be used for allotments?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 10th, 2012 at 12:49pm
no interest?
is the RRA interested in any way? or would they object to it?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Phil_Thomas on Sep 10th, 2012 at 4:04pm
Hi Trevor - I don't think you'll get any joy with the former grazing field as there are now so many owners for these plots!

I'm not aware there  is any other land suitable at present in our area and the RRA would not be interested in running/managing as such. It is something that a private allotment society would have to run instead  of the Council. There are a number of private allotments in the Borough. Have you tried one of these, who may have some availability, instead of the Council, whose land/allotments are very limited?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 12th, 2012 at 9:43am
Hi Phil
I'm not asking the RRA to run anything, just asking if the RRA would support something like this rather than object to it.

There is a lot of unused land in Croydon - that field in Mitchley Hill is unused - there is nothing to stop a compulsory purchase of the land by Croydon Council to allow it to be used as allotments. This would help Croydon council go some way towards fulfilling it's legal obligations to provide land for allotments. Croydon council doesn't need to actually run any new allotments, they just need to provide land as they are legally obliged to.

All allotment sites in Croydon, both council run and privately run, are full. Croydon council has closed their waiting lists and the parks department refuse to add anyone else to the waiting lists.

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 12th, 2012 at 3:58pm
And I've just spotted that RRA want that field tidied up ...

Allotments will tidy the field up ....

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Phil_Thomas on Sep 13th, 2012 at 8:37am
Trevor - the RRA would certainly welcome anything to improve the appearance of the land but as it is green belt, the options for it's use are very limited. However you have got over 30 owners to deal with, some of whom live locally!

We have asked the Council to CPO this and the agriculture land that will become available in Sept 2013 but to no avail, to date. We are constantly being told by our local Councillors that there is no money available in capital budgets.

You can try taking it up as an individual with Cllr Tim Pollard, his contact details are on our website under "Council Information & Tel nos".

I see under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, that if Councils believe that there is a demand for allotments; they have a statutory duty to provide a sufficient number of plots. Do you have names locally that could prove this? If not then you may have trouble convincing the Council

Presumably you have seen this website?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 13th, 2012 at 10:05am
Thanks Phil

Yes, I'm aware of the act and various information / websites - I'm sure I can get several names together - I was hoping a few locals would show an interest via the forums, but sadly not the case - I can get a list of names together from elsewhere.

I would like to see the RRA formally backing the use of land as allotments - this can add weight to campaigns and it will be good to know we wouldn't face opposition from the RRA.

The council's "lack of finance" argument doesn't work - they have money to throw at other things. They can secure finance from external bodies. They don't need to purchase land, they can compulsarily rent the land. And they will of course, receive rent from the plot holders.

The only thing standing in the way is a lack of willpower from Croydon council.

Do you have any evidence of the field being used for agriculture at any time in the past? If so, this will mean there is no need for any planning permission changes.

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Phil_Thomas on Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:03am
We can certainly discuss this proposal at our next committee meeting.

Any planning evidence would have to come from the Council. Certainly in all my many years living in the area, it was always grazing land. However I'm pretty certain the Council put an Article 4 on the land a few years ago and this could have consequences for any building and fencing erected. You would certainly need high, stout fencing with all the deer and rabbits around, eating the produce!! You would need to speak to the Planners on this.

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 13th, 2012 at 5:00pm
Thanks Phil.
Are you able to tell me when the next committee meeting is?

Any suggestionsns on how we get historical planning evidence from Croydon council? They are quite good at ignoring requests for information ....

Could you explain exactly what article 4 is?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Phil_Thomas on Sep 14th, 2012 at 9:15am
Our meeting is next Wednesday.

Re the Article 4 - Local planning authorities make an Article 4 direction only in exceptional circumstances where evidence suggests that the exercise of permitted development rights would harm local amenity or the proper planning of the area. In this case it was useful in safeguarding the visual amenity of the green belt by removing any entitlement to undertake development that would ordinarily not require planning permission. The land was being sold off in plots and the Council wanted to protect it's status as Green Belt. Translated, this means that basically any new building, use, high fences etc, now needs planning permission.

Further info http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/1759738.pdf

Planning registers are public documents. I would suggest you e-mail/write/phone Croydon's Planning Department and ask them. If they fail, complain to the Director and/or Councillors.

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 14th, 2012 at 4:54pm
Thanks Phil, very helpful.

From reading the Article 4 document, it appears that the council could modify the article 4 directions, thereby bypassing any potential needs for planning permission. We will need to take a very careful look at the planning register and other things to find out the proper legal positions. It does look like it will all rely on Croydon council's willingness to do something useful rather than their usual "can't be arsed" attitude.

Please let us know on here about any decisions made in the meeting.

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Phil_Thomas on Sep 20th, 2012 at 9:10am
Trevor - we discussed this last night and in principal the RRA would have no objection with allotments. However we would not be happy if anything was done that would contravene the Article 4 on the land: ie sheds, structures, high fences etc. We think you have your work cut out, in dealing with so many owners and the Council but good luck!

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 22nd, 2012 at 8:11am
Thanks Phil
Is the RRA's opposition to contravention of Article 4 based on "breaching planning guidelines" or "unsightly sheds" etc?
Croydon council *could* amend article 4 to allow sheds, fences and anything that would normally be found on allotments. Would RRA oppose that?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Margo on Sep 23rd, 2012 at 3:26pm
I was told a few weeks ago that there were several places available at an allotment in Sanderstead -Purley Oaks Road I think.

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Phil_Thomas on Sep 23rd, 2012 at 3:38pm
Trevor - The RRA would not be happy if sheds, toilets, high fences were erected, as it would damage the openness of the Green Belt as the site does slope up from the road and would be clearly seen. It would also be seen from properties up the hill. The Article 4 was added as an additional safeguard of the GB. If the Council wish to remove this, then the RRA would have to discuss this again

However the Planning Inspector did recently reject an appeal in Merseyside on 6 July 2012 - "Allotment sheds harm green belt - The conversion of a field on Merseyside to 73 private allotments with a small shed on each plot was rejected because it would harm the openness of the green belt."

Perhaps you now need to sound out the Council's Planners, and all the land owners if you are serious with this proposal?

Title: Re: Allotments - land in Mitchley Hill
Post by Trevor on Sep 23rd, 2012 at 4:25pm
Margo - Croydon council has several hundred people on it's waiting list - the current waiting time for plots is 3-4 years - we visited the Sanderstead allotments a few weeks ago, and saw several untended plots - Croydon council are in the process of transferring these to new tenants - this will cross a few names off the list, but still hundreds more to go

Phil - that's disappointing about the RRA not wanting "anything visible" on the land - it's an unsightly scruffy scrubland at the moment - wasteland - fortunately very few houses overlook this piece of land

I won't be taking up your challenge to discuss this with the council's planners or land owners just yet - I'm just looking at options and finding out if the RRA would support or object to use of land in this way - at some point, there will be a serious proposal - it might be regarding this field, it might be somewhere else - it all takes time ....

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