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Paul Rabbitts – Parks and Open Spaces Section Head

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Paul Rabbitts – Parks and Open Spaces Section Head Purpose of presentation – Relocation Options for Farm Terrace. Why was the study commissioned ? “To look at the options of relocation on the basis that there may be a requirement to relocate tenants from this site to a new site elsewhere”

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Paul Rabbitts – Parks and Open Spaces Section Head

Purpose of presentation – Relocation Options for Farm Terrace


Why was the study commissioned ?

  • “To look at the options of relocation on the basis that there may be a requirement to relocate tenants from this site to a new site elsewhere”
  • The study considered the following issues
  • Actual relocation of 95 tenants and how this would be best achieved to new site(s)
  • Identification of new site(s)
  • Planning Issues
  • Opposition from residents adjacent to proposed new sites
  • Adequacy of new site(s)
  • Mitigation (soils, plants transplanted, compensation issues, accessibility issues
  • Timescales
  • Impact of construction
  • Costs

Assessment Methodology

  • Influenced by a number of key factors:-
  • The relocation should meet or exceed the existing area of plots at Farm Terrace Allotments; (2.34ha)
  • Planning Issues must be taken into consideration;
  • Likely level of opposition from residents adjacent to any proposed sites must be taken into consideration;
  • New site(s) must be technically feasible for use as allotments.

Selecting Sites for Assessment

  • A desktop review of all green spaces south of Cassiobury Park and included…..
  • Public and Private sites
  • Sites outside of WBC boundary close to Farm Terrace
  • 47 green spaces reviewed
  • 17 short-listed for further consideration after many were rejected due to being too small, other land uses and high sports value.

Developing the Assessment Approach - Criteria used

  • Key Criteria
  • Distance to Farm Terrace Allotments and centre of demand
  • Current land use
  • Known soil quality
  • Potential number of plots
  • Water and flood risk
  • Likely timescale of availability

Developing the Assessment Approach - Criteria used

  • Secondary Criteria
  • Ownership constraints
  • Known previous land use
  • Availability of utilities
  • Proximity to public transport
  • Vehicular access
  • Site designations / protected species
  • Neighbour issues
  • Complementary use of adjacent space
  • Topography constraints
  • Impact on views

Developing the Assessment Approach – Comments on distance

  • Section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925 states that:
  • Where a local authority has purchased (or appropriated) land for use as allotments the local authority shall not sell, appropriate, use or dispose of the land for any purpose other than use for allotments without the consent of the Secretary of State for the Environment and such consent (may be given unconditionally or subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State thinks fit, but) shall not be given unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that adequate provision will be made for allotment holders displaced by the action of the local authority or that such provision is unnecessary or not reasonably practicable,

Developing the Assessment Approach – Comments on distance

  • The Governments Response to the future of Allotments Inquiry Report 1998
  • Replacement sites have been provided in only two of the 51 'statutory' sites lost since 7 May 1997. Given the inevitable and progressive loss of private and 'temporary' allotment sites, such a low replacement rate is alarming and unacceptable. Within the context of other measures to encourage greater demand for allotments generally, we recommend that every endeavour should be made to provide a replacement site. The alternative site should be:
    • of similar size and quality;
    • within reasonable walking distance from existing plot-holders' houses; and
    • given 'statutory' protection.
  • Where no suitable replacement site can be offered, we recommend that a significant proportion of the proceeds from the sale of the original site be used to provide improvements to other allotment sites within the authority's area.

Weighting to key criteria

  • Distance of alternative site(s) from Farm Terrace allotments X4
  • Current land Use, potential number of plots, water and flood risk X3
  • Soil quality and timescale X2


  • Holywell allotments has the capacity to increase the number of plots within the existing boundary
  • Paddock Road is the only viable option to offset any loss to the total area based on the redundant allotment land to the SE of the existing allotment land and the redevelopment of the existing nursery and depot
  • Oxhey Park Sports Ground – is only viable if the link road mitigates against the site being a known flood risk and there is provision made for vehicular access from the new link road
  • Callowland Allotments scores highly but distance from Farm Terrace is a major negative factor so has been discounted
  • Watford Fields Recreation Ground is unacceptable due to proximity to residential properties and likely strong local objections


  • Holywell Allotments (distance 0.5 miles)
  • Paddock Road (distance 1.2 miles)
  • Oxhey Park Sports Ground (subject to road alignment) (distance 0.4 miles)
  • Recommendations
  • To redevelop Paddock Road option covering 2.56ha which equates to more than existing Farm Terrace Site
  • Consider accommodation of between 8 and 21 further plots at Holywell Allotments
  • Costs to redevelop
  • Paddock Road Circa £700,000
  • Holywell Allotments £70-140,000 (depending on size of plots)

The report also considered the following:-

  • Impact of Construction on Farm Terrace Allotments
  • Case Studies
  • Comparative Costs

Impact of Construction on Farm Terrace Allotments

  • Soil and ground contamination
  • Ground and underground water contamination
  • Hazardous construction and demolition waste
  • Noise and vibration
  • Dust, hazardous emissions and odours
  • Traffic increase or interference outside of the site
  • Lack of parking spaces locally
  • Wildlife and natural features impacts
  • Visual impact
  • Health and safety risks from transport and other activities

The Vision

“To maintain and where appropriate, improve the quality, management and promotion of all Watford Borough Councilallotment sites, and to offer access to this unique leisure activity to all members of the community”.


Feedback on the draft strategy was:-

  • It was not investment focussed enough
  • It lacked sufficient detail on what was an acceptable quality standard for allotments
  • It lacked detail of “by when, and how much and how?”

Outcome to date

  • Allotment Stakeholder Panel set up
  • Has met 3 times
  • Detailed discussions on investment and needs for allotments
  • Quality standards

To follow

  • Allotment Stakeholder Panel further meetings planned to discuss
  • FAQ’s and Tenancy agreement to review
  • Self Management
  • Maintenance standards
  • Final Strategy review

What do Watford’s allotments need?

From the sublime to the extreme?

We need something in between

And something we can all afford…..!


Lavatory Facilities

  • Access
  • Water supply
  • Sheds, greenhouses and poly-tunnels
  • Paths and roads
  • Fences and hedges




Site surveys carried out by Parks Team in Sept 2012

  • Costs developed for all sites based on needs of each site and outcome of stakeholder panel discussions
  • Priorities discussed with stakeholder panel – Fences the no.1 priority


  • Toilets
  • Fencing
  • Notice-boards
  • Access improvements
  • Plot markers
  • Tanks
  • Manure stores
  • Vacant plot clearance
  • Compost bins
  • New locks and keys

The Way Forward and Process

  • Budget setting process – what funding is available overall? (in progress)
  • Engagement with site users and supervisors and Strategy stakeholder panel (in progress)
  • Identify the resource to deliver (in progress)
  • Determine delivery plan and timescales
  • “Big bang” or site by site? List priorities!