Watford Council wants to close Farm Terrace Allotments and move the allotment holders to other locations around the place. Why? So they can build 69 new homes and maybe extend the hospital and provide a spanking new car park too, according to campaigners.
If the council get their way it means turfing out the allotment holders, some of whom have been there for 40 years or more. In an attempt to stop that happening the Save Farm Terrace campaign has been fighting the council all the way to the High Court, where they appeared this week.
What is it about holding an allotment that makes it so special? Campaigners claim it's not just about growing your own food and produce, although that's important; it's about having a connection to the land that you are cultivating, it's about pursuing a healthy lifestyle, fighting obesity and inactivity, rolling back stress and providing an antidote to the myriad distractions and irritations of a life led at breakneck speed.
Watford Council claim to be sympathetic but say this development is vital. They have allocated an £810,000 investment programme to support 10 allotments around the borough and point out that affected allotment holders can move to one or other of those.
But it's not easy to simply up-sticks on land you have been cultivating for years and to walk away from the comradery and fellowship of likeminded neighbours. Allotment campaigners claim that if Save Farm Terrace fails in its appeal to the High Court this will be the thin end of the wedge and other allotments around the country will soon follow and end up under tarmac and new developments.
So what's more important do you think? New homes and enhanced developments or protecting some of the spaces that we hold dear?
Can we do both? What do you think?