Environmental justice and a mighty victory for the Park Road Allotments, Isleworth – (David and Goliath doesn’t come close)

At the beginning of the year ELF was approached by the Isleworth Society. Having secured Rule 6 Status at a forthcoming public inquiry in October 2018 they were looking for some pro-bono assistance. ELF was lucky enough to secure for them through the ELF scheme Charlotte Gilmartin and Jonathan Metzer, both of 1 Crown Office Row.

Following a planning inquiry that lasted 8 days during October, the team for the Rule 6 Isleworth Society, with amazing input from the Society, and that of the ELF barristers and experts, we yesterday learnt that both appeals had been dismissed. This is amazing news for the whole of the community and was a matter of particularly distaste given the proposals.

The planning appeals concerned proposals by the Northumberland Estate (Duke of Northumberland) of two linked planning applications, refused at committee though recommended for approval by the local planning authority. The first application was for the construction of 80 plus private rented homes (no affordable housing) and significant car parking to be built on the Isleworth allotments site, some of the oldest allotments in London. The justification for the house building scheme was that the historic Syon House, also owned by the Duke needed upkeep going forward and that this development would pay for it. Some £9 million was said to be required to bring the house back into good repair. The second linked application proposed relocating the allotments into the Grade 1 listed Syon Park, within the grounds of Syon House.

The allotments had been taken back into management by Northumberland Estates and run down, 6 month tenancies offered and such other cynical tactics. Local residents were distressed at the prospect of losing the historic 1stworld war allotments that made up part of the local green corridor, located within a Conservation Area. There was also some unrest expressed, not least because there has already been significant commercialization of Syon Park, and despite the applicant already having had previous s106 obligations for the maintenance of the house on previous commercial development in the Park, concerns were widely expressed that such obligations have not been met.

Charlotte Gilmartin and Jonathan Metzer, both in David’s Hart’s team at 1 Crown Office Row, with Charlotte leading have done a first class job. ELF is extremely grateful to them as young ELF professional members who do so much to promote access to environmental justice for communities