Last month, The Coffee House reported on the plight of Manor Garden Allotments (‘Olympic’ Allotments Bulldozer Threat). With their century-old site due to be erased by construction work for the 2012 London Olympics, allotment holders have started legal proceedings against the London Development Agency for reneging on promises to provide an alternative site www.lifeisland.org.
Phil Michaels, Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth’s Rights & Justice Centre, said:
“This is an important case about broken promises and local communities. The LDA made clear and consistent promises to the community that their allotments would be relocated so that they could stay together. They have now decided to break that promise. Public authorities must deal honestly and straightforwardly with the public. That is particularly the case where they are proposing to break up communities and take away their land. If the authorities are not willing to honour their promises then the Court has to step in.”
Baroness Miller, Vice Chair of the House of Lords All Party Group Food and Health Forum, expressed her concern about the plight of this national treasure in the House of Lords during a debate about Olympic land acquisition on April 23rd. She questioned why there had not been any parliamentary discussion about the permanent demolition of the allotments to construct a footpath needed only for the four weeks of the Olympics. Baroness Miller has subsequently visited the site and met plotholders, and has declared her intention to raise the issue during the Greater London Assembly Bill debate starting 8th May.
It looks as if some momentum is building, but is it too little, too late? I feel a non-violent protest coming on. Now, where did I put Swampy’s phone number?