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The Duke of Northumberland has been defeated in his attempt to develop on a green area in the western part of London.

Community activists in west London have successfully defended a 1.2-hectare area from being developed into housing by an ancient aristocratic family, marking a win in their ongoing battle.

The Planning Inspectorate denied the development proposal to cover a large portion of the Park Road allotments in Isleworth on Tuesday. This decision was made due to concerns that it would damage protected local green areas and historical landmarks, as well as negatively impact allotment availability in an area with high demand.

Salman Shaheen, a councillor in Isleworth, has been collaborating with the community for an extended period of time to protect the area. He expressed satisfaction with the recent decision to maintain the allotments, which have been cherished and cultivated by Isleworth residents for more than 100 years. This will ensure that our small piece of paradise remains protected for future generations.

The pandemic has caused an increase in demand for allotments. The planning inquiry has demonstrated the importance of having more green areas for growing food, rather than reducing them.

The land at Syon Park estate, owned by the 12th Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, is classified as Grade I and was initially utilized as allotments following World War I. The duke’s predecessors leased the land to the council to aid in the cultivation of vegetables.

In 2015, the Percy family terminated the lease and regained authority from Hounslow council. They had intentions to construct on the property, but their proposals were ultimately denied.

In August, the Northumberland Estates development company began their latest appeal for a second application to construct 80 apartments. However, in October 2021, the council rejected this application due to over 900 objections from residents in the area.

The suggested design for the eco-friendly area would have only allocated a small portion of the land for current users. The property owners claimed that the advantages of the proposed construction, such as providing affordable housing and homes for healthcare workers, would outweigh the minor reduction of land and redistribution of the allotments.

Colin Barnes, the planning and development director of Northumberland Estates, said: “We are disappointed that this scheme, which would have provided much-needed affordable housing while retaining green space and allotments, has not been approved. We will take some time to consider our options.”

The residents of the area who utilize the allocated land expressed their disappointment with the proposed development, stating that it lacked consideration for the biodiversity and significance of the land to the community.

In response to the rejection on Tuesday, Stephen Hurton, the allotment holder and chair of the Park Road Allotment Association, stated that the members were pleased with the outcome.

“The plot-holders have found great delight in these allotments. They serve as a refuge and a gathering place for people of all ages to cultivate crops and connect with nature,” he stated.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with Northumberland Estates in order to preserve the site as allotments.”

Source: theguardian.com