Duke of Northumberland loses battle to develop allotments into apartments

Park Road Allotment holders in Isleworth have fought off proposals for the development of apartment complexes on the treasured site.

Park Road Allotments
credit: Park Road Allotments

The three-acre site is owned by Northumberland Estates, which manages the property of Ralph Percy, the 12th Duke of Northumberland. The land was leased to the council in 1917 to provide food for recovering soldiers injured in the First World War, and has been used as allotments ever since. Proposals for development submitted (from 2015) have been rejected by both the council and Planning Inspectorate. The Duke has appealed since, even offering the local gardeners smaller allotments on the estate.

The long-running saga ended this week, when John Longmuir the planning inspector dismissed the Duke’s appeal on the grounds that the development would: lead to the loss of local space; be detrimental to heritage assets (listed buildings) in the park; and that it would undermine the pressing need for allotments in Isleworth and Brentford.

Salman Shaheen, Councillor for Isleworth and Cabinet Member for Public Spaces on Hounslow Council, said, “Today’s decision preserves allotments that have been worked and loved by the people of Isleworth for over a century and will safeguard our little patch of paradise for generations to come. Demand for allotments has only surged in the wake of the pandemic. And this planning inquiry has proven that we need more green space to grow food, not less. This site must be maintained as allotments for the good of the people of Isleworth in perpetuity and I look forward to discussing with Northumberland Estates how this can be facilitated.”

Stephen Hurton, chair of Park Road Allotment Association, welcomed the decision. Hurton said: “Park Road Allotment Association is delighted that the appeal has been rejected. It is a great cause for celebration that the allotment site will be retained as local open space for the wider benefit of all locals and wildlife. These allotments have brought such joy to plot holders. They have been a place of sanctuary and community where people, young and old, can come together to grow food and be amongst nature”.

Hurton hopes that the association and Northumberland Estates can work together to maintain the site as allotments.