Starkholmes Allotments is in survival mode. It's serious. A Fighting Fund of £55,000 is required! The Eviction date is dangerously close. On the 29th September 2022, we will be forced to vacate and our site, lost at the hands of the private land owner. Forever. Unless… We raise enough funds to support the best possible chance of a lifeline, through a successful Compulsory Purchase/Hire Order Application taken to the Secretary of State.
We’ve tried our best to appeal to the landowner, to navigate a positive path through and allow the community to continue to benefit from this listed Asset of Community Value, but to no avail.
Here’s the facts…
- The UK has declared a Climate Emergency - it would be a travesty to allow this established nature haven to be destroyed.
- We are a group of allotment users - younger, older, parents, children, retired, working, living with all the usual stresses of life, who simply want to grow our own food, quietly, courteously and in harmony with nature, as those before have done, and to leave the soil to those that come after.
- We have been excellent tenants and maintained a good relationship with the land owner until the eviction was served.
- We have been willing to negotiate a price with the land owner to buy the site for the community.
- Evidence shows the site is likely to hold many serious challenges for developers, given the extensive old mine shafts beneath the allotment plots.
- The site is perfect for allotments, the soil is rich and fertile and brimming in biodiversity from years of sensitive investment from plot holders for around 100 years.
- There are no identified appropriate alternative sites to relocate the allotments for Starkholmes residents.
- Even with the site having been listed as an Asset of Community Value, this isn't enough to protect us from eviction or a successful planning application.
- Matlock Town Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council have both contributed £5,000 each from their limited funds to start the ‘Fighting Fund’. Derbyshire Dales District Council have now started the Compulsory Purchase/Hire Order application.
- A successful Compulsory Purchase/Hire Order application is the only possible way now to save this site.
How it began… Our allotments are around 100 years old, founded by a local land owner and resident, Captain John Joseph Lynch (1859-1944). What a man! His obituary said “…a man who gave unstintingly of his services for the benefit of the locality.’ How devastated he would be to hear of the potential destruction facing his legacy now.
Site ownership stayed in the Lynch family… Until 2007 when the last remaining family member sold it to a local business man, our current landlord. All was well until July 2021, then - Notice to vacate and clear the site was served to Starkholmes Allotment Association, by September 29th 2022!!!
How will your donation to the Fighting Fund help?
- It will give us hope and strength to continue the fight, it really will.
- It will help pay for the legal costs to complete the Compulsory Purchase/Hire Order process.
- It will help pay for supporting reports and surveys required to complete the Compulsory Purchase/Hire Order process.
- It will help pay for any further appeals brought forward by the landowner or by other Stakeholders.
- Surplus funds will be used to help buy the land if the Compulsory Purchase Order application is successful or if the land owner agrees to sell the land to us.
- Surplus funds will be donated to similar organisations and causes if the Compulsory Purchase/Hire Order application is unsuccessful.
We will however continue to explore ways to engage the land owner in an attempt to agree the purchase of the land by the allotment association, in trust, for the community.
Saving this site is morally the right thing to do. We know this. Thank you, fellow custodians for your contribution, giving Starkholmes Allotments the best possible chance of survival. Together, retaining this site will be our legacy. Once its gone, its gone.
For offline donations and queries, please contact saveours[email protected]