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Syon House: allotment holders offer to buy land from the Duke of Northumberland in ‘peasants’ revolt’ row

·2-min read
House repairs: the Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, has submitted an application to build 80 homes on the site near Syon House (Bruce Adams)
House repairs: the Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, has submitted an application to build 80 homes on the site near Syon House (Bruce Adams)

The allotment holders behind the “peasants’ revolt” over plans to build homes on the land that they tend near Syon House have offered to buy it from owner the Duke of Northumberland.

They have written to him saying they are “willing to make a fair offer for the land based on its current use as agricultural land”. Local councillor Salman Shaheen said on that basis it would be worth around £30,000.

It is the latest twist in a five-year planning row over the three-acre Park Road site near the Thames in Isleworth, which has been used for allotments for more than a century.

The duke has submitted a planning application to build 80 homes on the land, keeping less than a third of it as allotments. Under the plans, the 37 plots would be converted into 38 smaller ones.

Proceeds from the development would be used to fund repairs to the Percy family’s Grade I-listed London home, which has been used as a setting for many films and TV dramas including Bridgerton and Downton Abbey. The proposal was rejected by Hounslow council in February but last week the duke lodged an appeal against the decision with the Planning Inspectorate.

The letter from law firm Buckles representing “local interested parties, including allotment holders and residents” said a sale would “generate a cash-lump sum which could benefit the Syon Estate, eliminate on-going costs incurred by Northumberland Estates in managing the land, and secure the site as a green open space, in a way that would win considerable praise from the local community”.

However, Colin Barnes, director of Northumberland Estates said the bid was not a “practical solution” as there were no plans to sell the site.

He said: “The scheme we are proposing preserves allotments for local people long into the future and maintains significant open green space. The site has never been used by the general public and in recent years only about a third of the allotments were in use. We have offered new allotments to previous licence holders as we believe their needs can be satisfied in terms of plot sizes, sheds and water supply, and if not taken up could provide these to others who do not have access to a garden.”

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