Bath Voice News: campaign steps up with legal action to save the Combe Down Allotments as 60 pack meeting to hear the latest news on the threatened site (a gardening paradise since 1895)

By Harry Mottram: the campaign to save the Combe Down Allotments from developers took a new turn during a meeting held at the community’s primary school on March 18, 2024. Cllr Dr. Bharat Pankhania, spoke about the strong support that he had received from Bath and North East Council and that currently they are taking legal action to secure the lease of the allotments.

The meeting held by the supporters, allotment holders, the local councillor and Friends of Combe Down Allotments heard how there was the possibility of the allotments being run by a self-management set up, also the latest on the allotments becoming an Asset of Community Value and news in general to save the allotments.

Cllr Dr. Bharat Pankhania spoke at the meeting

Notes taken by the Friends at the Public Meeting Supporting Combe Down Allotment held at Combe reported: “Along with the designated Local Green Space, it was explained that action also needs to be taken by the local community in helping to nominate the allotment site as an Asset of Community Value and requests were made for the audience to write a short statement saying why they personally valued the Combe Down Allotments. Many statements from individuals are required in order for the application to be considered by the Council so the requests for these are ongoing.”

There was also an appeal by organisers for more people to join the Friends of Combe Down Allotments group which will be an unincorporated group with a constitution and will enable future actions such as self-management and fundraising to take place.

The organisers also reported: “It was explained how the potential of self-management is currently being explored and what needs to be put in place if any future opportunities develop. The group are arranging a Zoom meeting with the National Allotment Society South West representative to learn more about self-management and once confirmed will be open for all.”

By an accident of history, the large allotment site at Combe Down has been held in leasehold since 1895. The site, along with the adjacent quarry and the Monkton School playing fields, is owned by a distant relative of the original landowner, who is not a resident of Bath. The site was originally procured by the Monkton Combe Parish Council to serve the workers in the Bath stone mines but, following city boundary changes in 1967, became the responsibility of Bath City Council. The Council has held rolling leases since that time. Unfortunately, the owner of the land has recently given advance notice of his intention to end the lease in 2025.

The B&NES Allotments Association (AA) represents the interests of over 600 allotment users in the city of Bath. There are 24 Council run allotments sites, with over 1,000 plot holders (more counting families and friends). There is an ever-growing waiting list for plots – now running at around 600 people. This reflects the national resurgence of interest in local food growing and local food security, as well as in the many social and well-being benefits of outdoor horticulture. Notably more young people and women are joining the movement. Parish councils run the sites in rural areas, and there are also some privately run sites in the city.

A petition to save the allotments has been signed by thousands of Bathonians. To sign visit

For more visit: The Bath Allotments Association:

See also Crop Drop charity:

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