Huddersfield Allotments Saved – Thanks To Council Records From 85 Years Ago

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon May 13 23:24:39 BST 2019

Council Plan To Bulldoze Huddersfield Allotments 
Stopped – Thanks To Their Own Records From 85 Years Ago

Council plan to bulldoze allotments stopped – 
thanks to their own records from 85 years ago

Kirklees wanted to make way for a school but 
campaigners fought the plan – and have won a High Court battle

By James Brewster and Lauren Ballinger – 09 MAY 2019

Tenants of Cemetery Road Allotments, in 
Huddersfield, with supporters from the National 
Allotment Society, at the High Court in Leeds for 
a judicial review into Kirklees Councils plan to 
take their plots as part of plans for a new primary school.

A battling allotment holder has scored a High 
Court triumph in his fight to stop 
Council taking over his prized plots for construction of a new primary school.

Jonathan Adamson, who cultivates four plots at 
the Cemetery Road allotments in 
, was served with notice to quit by the 
metropolitan borough council in September last year.

He was told his plots were needed to provide 
playing fields and car parking space for the 
primary school, on which work is due to start imminently.

Mr Adamson supports the new school, but wants the 
plans reconfigured so as to spare his allotments, London’s High Court heard.

Although he and other allotment holders have been 
offered alternative plots, they are “not 
satisfied” with them, said top judge, Mr Justice Kerr.

Mr Adamson argued in person that he could not be 
deprived of his plots without permission from 
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and 
Local Government, James Brokenshire.
Debby Fulgoni and Isaac Romain , plot holders on the Cemetery R

Debby Fulgoni and Isaac Romain , plot holders on the Cemetery Road Allotments

The council fought his judicial review challenge 
tooth and nail – but now Mr Adamson has been 
handed a stunning victory by the judge.

The council’s September 2018 decision to 
“appropriate” the allotments for education purposes was overturned.

And Mr Adamson, together with 13 other allotment 
holders who supported him, had their notices to quit quashed.

An aerial view of Birkby from 1949 showing 
allotment space. The pink areas have since been 
lost to housing. The yellow area indicates the 
size of the current allotment site at Cemetery Road.

The judge’s ruling involved an in-depth survey of 
the history of allotments in Huddersfield going 
back to 1920, long before the council came into existence.

It was in that year that an Act of Parliament 
authorised the council’s predecessor, the 
Huddersfield Corporation, to purchase the Ramsden 
Estate – of which the allotments now form part – 
for £1.36 million, payable over 80 years.

The council denied that the Corporation had ever 
formally appropriated the land for use as 
allotments and that the Secretary of State’s 
consent was therefore not required.

But, after analysing Corporation minutes going 
back decades, Mr Justice Kerr found that it had 
done just that when the land was “zoned for allotments” at a meeting in 1935.

The allotments had been described as “permanent” 
at the time and the Corporation had directed that 
local maps be amended to show them.
Cemetery Road Allotments, Birkby.

Cemetery Road Allotments, Birkby. (Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

The allotment holders therefore had “security of 
tenure” and, under the Allotments Act 1925, they 
could not be stripped of their plots without the Secretary of State’s say so.

The judge rejected council arguments that Mr 
Adamson had delayed too long in bringing his case to court.

And Kirklees’s plea that Mr Brokenshire was 
“highly likely” to approve the appropriation of 
the allotments for the new school also fell on fallow ground.

The judge paid tribute to the “skill and 
courtesy” with which Mr Adamson presented his 
case and ordered the council to pay his legal costs – which came to £12,199.

Kirklees Council said it was “disappointed” with the decision.

They added: “A new primary school is needed in 
this area to meet the demands for places.

“As a council we’re committed to ensuring all 
children in Kirklees have access to the same high 
standard of education. This school is an important part of this.

“This decision will delay us in providing the new 
school local children deserve.

“We will be presenting additional information to 
the judge and hope this decision will be 
reviewed. We will also be seeking permission from 
the Secretary of State to proceed with the development following this decision.

“Allotments are part of our local communities and 
it’s important that we have enough spaces for those that want them.

“The amount of unused space on this site means 
that it is possible to have both a fantastic new 
school and a vibrant allotment site.

“Affected allotment plot holders were offered new 
plots in the same allotment where work has been 
done to bring them up to a very high standard 
with new paths, edging, and access to water, so 
tenants can get straight into the art of growing.”

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