Demonstrators hopeful of saving Aylesbury allotments after uncovering covenant in deeds
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The bid to save popular allotments in Aylesbury from becoming a burial site has received what campaigners believe to be a vital boost.
Aylesbury Town Council, which owns the grounds, unveiled plans to expand Tring Road Cemetery by using the nearby allotments as an area for further tombstones.
Some members of the 94-person group who use the allotments presented the town council with the Deeds from the Land Registry Office.
In documentation presented to council officials at a meeting on Thursday 13 July, a convenant states that the area can be used for allotments only.
The 2004 document states: “The town to the intent and so as to bind (so far as is practical) the property hereby conveyed and each and every part thereof into whosoever hands the same way may come and to benefit and protect adjoining and neighbouring land (the cemetery) belonging to the district and each and every part thereof hereby covenants with the district that neither the town nor those deriving title under will at any time either in the whole or in part or permit the property to be used for any other purpose than allotments.”
A meeting allowing residents to comment on the potential allotments closure was organised by the town council after each member of the Tring Road Allotments received a letter stating that all residents would have to vacate the area by December 2024 if plans were pushed through.
Aylesbury Town Council declined to provide further comment to The Bucks Herald. Previously, the authority has stated the need for more burial spots in Aylesbury and the six other allotments in the town as key reasons behind the eviction notice.
Also, the town council has stated the decision to remove the allotments by 2024 “was not taken lightly”. The town council states there is an ‘urgent’ need for more tombstone space in Aylesbury and that demand has been increasing steadily.
Also the council believes without the extension, Tring Road Cemetery will have to close prematurely.
As well as presenting legal documentation to the council, allotment group members also set up a petition challenging the motion, which can be viewed online here. At the time of writing just under 2,500 residents have signed up.
Members of the Tring Road allotment group also protested in Aylesbury town centre on Sunday (23 July).
Peaceful protesters brought along produce from the allotments and discussed the notice with people moving through the town centre.
One demonstrator stated she was “overwhelmed” with the amount of support her and her fellow gardeners received from the Aylesbury community.
Whilst demonstrators acknowledge there are six other allotments in the town, they are concerned due to the age of some of the group, as to how people would cope with buying gardening space elsewhere.
In the petition the community nature of the group and the friendships members have forged over 40 years was also brought up.
Arden Marshall, a retired psychiatric nurse who wrote the petition, said: “For many this is where we come each day to see the people we consider our second family - Our Allotment Family.
"For others it is the only regular daily social contact they have in their lives.”
A decision is expected in the coming days.