Fwd: Allotments win against golf club

Massimo A. Allamandola suburbanstudio at runbox.com
Wed May 21 01:00:54 BST 2008

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Sent: Tue, 20 May 2008 13:00:54 +0100
From: "Karen Leach" <karen at localisewestmidlands.org.uk>

Subject: Allotments win against golf club

Excuse me for posting about this again when it's not entirely relevant,
but having pestered people for specialist advice last week, I wanted to
share the good news. Karen

Golfers left in the rough in fight over allotment land

By Shahid Naqvi, B'ham Post, May 20th 08

Allotment holders in a Birmingham suburb are celebrating the reclamation
of some of their land after seeing off another expansion bid by an
exclusive golf club.

Moseley Golf Club has been in a longrunning battle to expand on to
Billesley Lane Allotments, which is located on land it acquired at the
start of the Second World War.

A decade ago the club, in Kings Heath, announced it wanted to terminate
allotment leases on the land because it wanted to build a golf driving

Birmingham City Council, however, stepped in to save plot holders by
using special powers to compulsorily purchase the land in a bid to
protect it from development.

A public inquiry followed after the golf club contested the order and a
compromise was eventually reached which saw about two thirds of the
allotment – enough for 35 plots – taken back by the club three years

The land was left to go fallow until last year when the club put in a
planning application for change of use on the site, a move which was
taken by the remaining holders as a clear indication of intent to develop
on the two-acre site.

City planners rejected the application in September, but the golfers
appealed against the decision. Yesterday, the club announced it was
withdrawing the appeal, giving fresh hope to the allotment holders that
the lost land could now be returned back to use for growing.

Geoff Bainbridge, chairman of Billesley Lane Allotments Association,
said: "This gives us a bit of hope that we may be able to get it back one
day. It also sends a message to developers everywhere they can't take
over allotment land because it will be protected under planning laws."

Mr Bainbridge said demand for allotment land was far greater in the local
area than that for golfing.

"We have more people on waiting lists than we have tenants," he said.

"Most of the sites around here have large waiting lists. We have had huge
community support. If you compare allotments and golf courses there is no
comparison in terms of green issues and sustainability."

Allotment holder and campaigner Mark Jackson added: "The demand for
allotments here is as high as it is anywhere in the country.

"If we couldn't defend it here it would be impossible to defend it

Moseley Golf Club, which has about 400 members, last night said it had
withdrawn the application after receiving legal advice.

Martin Knowles, club secretary, said: "The legal advice was we probably
wouldn't win the appeal. We were advised not to proceed with it.

The land will probably have to go back to allotments. I am not sure what
the long term plan is."

The club has got hundreds of members who live in the local area. We
wanted to extend our practice facility and we can't do that now," said Mr
Knowles. "It is a shame. We are not against the allotment holders. But
locally there seem to be many allotments."

___________________ Karen Leach
Localise West Midlands
The Warehouse
54-57 Allison Street
Digbeth B5 5TH
0121 685 1155

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