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26/08/2009

Setback for Widdrington allotment holders


allotments, planning permission

FED-UP allotment holders are facing a further setback to reclaim their land after being told they need planning permission for raised beds.

Last month there was fresh hope that the saga could be at an end with news that landlor

d Castle Morpeth Housing was working on plans to restore the plots by building them up with topsoil.

But now the allotment holders have been dealt another blow after they were told the scheme will require planning permission.

Tenant Sheila Frazer said: "The allotment saga is still ongoing.

"They are now saying that we need planning permission to put raised beds in and I can't seem to get in touch with any planners to check.

"There just seems to be a whole series of setbacks."

Mrs Frazer also hit out at Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council for a lack of support following comments by Chairman David Baron that he would not support the authority taking over the plots.

"You are letting us down by saying things like that. You are not being helpful to our cause. We need somebody to help us along and we are not getting any support at all. You are leaving us on a limb," she said.

Coun Baron said he stood by his statement as it was still unclear whether the allotments were contaminated and clearing them could involve large costs.

However, members were critical of the latest development.

Coun Joe Sennett said: "To say this will require planning permission is a disgrace. It is just not on. There are gardens up and down the country that are built up and they haven't got planning permission."

And Northumberland County councillor David Towns said he was looking into the situation.

"I have asked planning officers to clarify whether planning permission would be needed for raised beds. My gut feeling is that it wouldn't be, but I have asked them to clarify that and I will let everybody know the result of that," he said.

The allotment holders have already fought off plans for a car park and housing at the plots, as well as going through a change of landlord.

A spokesman for Castle Morpeth Housing said: "The handing back of the Margaret Street allotments has not yet been agreed.

"We have held a number of meetings with the Council and the allotment tenants and there is an outstanding issue with planning permission for the site which needs to be resolved before the allotments can be cultivated again."

Article Source: Morpeth Herald

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