Duke of Northumberland loses bid to build on green space in Isleworth

Image above: Park Road Allotments

Victory for local campaigners in long running battle

The Duke of Northumberland’s bid to turn a green space in Isleworth, where currently there are allotments, into a housing development has been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.

‘Save the Park Road Allotments’ campaigners have been fighting a protracted battle to stop the Duke developing the site for several years. The land has been used as allotments for over 100 years after the 7th Duke of Northumberland, owner of Syon Park, leased it to Heston and Isleworth Urban District Council for the local community, including soldiers returning from the First World War, to grow food.

The land is now managed by Northumberland Estates on behalf of the current Duke, who also owns Alnwick Castle and 120,000 acres in Northumberland and the Albury Estate in Surrey. The Duke is one of a handful of aristocrats richer than the King, with a net worth estimated at £370 million.

Plans to build 80 properties on the three acre site were turned down by Hounslow Council’s planning committee in October 2021. The Duke appealed against the decision, but on Tuesday 12 December the Planning Inspectorate rejected the plans on grounds that it would harm protected local open space and heritage assets, and would be detrimental to allotment provision in an area where demand outstripped supply.

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth said via ‘X’:

“A huge victory for local residents in Isleworth in their David v Goliath battle to save the Park Road Allotments.”

Image above: Councillor Salman Shaheen (L) protesting two years ago

Result “could not have been better” – Cllr Salman Shaheen

Councillor Salman Shaheen, a key figure in the fight against the development, told the Chiswick Calendar:

“This result couldn’t have been better. The plans were resoundingly rejected and there were no grey areas in the final decision. The site is now clearly protected.

“The plans were detrimental to the green space and when the Council has already pledged to building 1,000 new council homes in the current administration, the same number we built in our previous administration, these new flats wouldn’t have had any green spaces and that’s not what we want. The Council wants more green spaces, not less.

“I think this now puts to and end any plans for any development and if the Duke was to come back with a new plan I think that would be rejected.”

Image above: Park Rd Allotments

Allotments are key part of community and green future

One of the plot owners previously told the Chiswick Calendar:

“We understand how frustrating this is for the Estates but rather than just close the allotments, which is what they plan to do, we really hope to be able to work together to find a mutually acceptable solution so that we can continue to cultivate and grow.

“The allotments continue to teach me and my family the power of community and give me hope for a better greener future for all.”

Local MP Ruth Cadbury has supported the campaigners throughout. In 2021 she said:

“Allotments play such an underrated role in our society by providing a space to grow cheap food, a space for people without large gardens to enjoy the outdoors as well as being a green lung for our local area.”

She emphasised that the pandemic had underscored the importance of preserving green spaces for public use and questioned the need to sacrifice the allotments.

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