#Local Government
Nottingham City Council
United Kingdom

Stonebridge City Farm is being pressured by the city council to give up of 10% of the farms land as a condition of renewing the lease for the farm. The council wants the land to be used by the farms neighbours to park cars in front of their houses.

A Facebook about this situation has been created and can be found at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=247195272869

After a "consultation" with 31 neighbours next to the farm it is said that 15 neighbours wanted this parking scheme. Were the 10,000 visitors to the farm last year consulted? It appears not...

Stonebridge City Farm has been developed under often stressful conditions to get funding over many years. A lot of work and commitment has gone into bringing green skills and values into the city. It encourages local food growing and draws in vulnerable people into that task. The city council should be really grateful for that. It should be celebrating that. Yet they seem to take it for granted and are now acting in a way that undermines it. It appears that they think nothing of undermining the work of generations of people. Stonebridge City Farm is an institution whose longevity against the funding odds is to be congratulated, not cut back for car parks.

The City Council tells us that it supports sustainability, it assures us that it is working against climate change. We are led to believe that you are working to help prepare the people of Nottingham for peak oil. It passes resolutions. It styles itself as the place which issued the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change. It should live up to its words.

The development of local urban food sources, skilling up local people and drawing in vulnerable people are all a major part of giving tangible expression to what needs to be done in the face of energy problems in the future. Nottingham needs all the community gardens it can get and the city council should be giving them all the support that it can. That means giving them secure tenancies and not undermining their long run security. They are vital to the future of the city, to training in DIY cultivation and food skills, for setting examples to people which will ultimately be key to the maintenance of public health in this city. Around the city Transition Groups are trying to encourage local food growing and community gardens. This is not the message that the city council should be sending out - that after the effort has been put in over many years they will think nothing of putting people's work under tarmac.

They want to take this land away to develop a car park! What does this tell us? It tells us that the City Council have a shallow understanding of climate change and peak oil and the important of secure places to cultivate in the city. It tells us that the city council are not reliable partners. It tells people that if they spend years of time and effort developing a community garden politicians can and will undermine their work if it seems expedient to do so - so why should they bother? It is a very ugly and discouraging message and we want it changed.

We the undersigned, being friends and/or users of Stonebridge City Farm,

(1) are aware that the farm needs to renew its lease to enable future grant applications and note that the city council is pressuring it to agree to give up 10% of the land used by the Farm to be put under tarmac for a car park

(2) notes that without renewal of its lease the farm will not be able to put in future grant applications

(3) believes that the city council should renew the lease for the existing land at the very least - and even better would do an asset transfer of the land to the farm instead of it being held on a lease so that work by the farm is secure

(4)believes that the city council should not make the lease conditional on the car park to solve the estate design problems of the Leicester Housing Association who should be told to go back to the drawing board

(5) remind the city council of their commitment to action against climate change which makes it important that local people cultivate local food supplies and do not have their efforts undermined by having land taken away from them.

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The Hands off the land at Stonebridge City Farm petition to Nottingham City Council was written by Brian Davey and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.