History of Mill Lane Allotments
The Mill Lane allotments site has been Parish property since 1952, when it was bought from Balliol College on a mortgage from the County Council. The Parish allotments had previously been situated on rented land which was to be no longer available and a Parish meeting decided to buy the Mill Lane site to provide allotments for the parishioners.
Initially the site was fully occupied with a waiting list, but towards the end of the century many plots became unused. Thinking the Parish would want the land developed, the Parish Council initiated a planning application, which was finally refused late in 1997, perhaps fortunately, because a Parish meeting earlier that year resolved emphatically that the allotment site should not be developed.
The site is now managed by the Old Marston Mill Lane Allotments Association (OMMLAA), which has a generous long-term agreement with the Parish Council. Membership of OMMLAA is increasing and should continue to do so.
The land is highly fertile, although a bit wet in winter. Anyone wishing to join is guaranteed a plot given its first cultivation by O.M.M.L.A.A., and a welcome from existing members. Any effort put in is amply rewarded and there is nothing more enjoyable than home grown vegetables, harvest fresh.
Mill Lane Allotments - Clerk's Report April 2006
This repot was requested at the April Meeting of Council
Prior to the purchase for the Mill Lane land the Parish allotments were at The Butts (the area where the archers developed their skills) off Church lane towards St Nicholas Caravan Site. The owner required the land for other purposes and a new site was sought. The present allotment site was purchased from Brasenose College on 25 March 1952.
The land was freehold with vacant possession with no restriction to future use that is at the discretion of the Parish Council restricted only by the law of the land. It is clear from the minutes at that time that the intention was to use the land for allotments. (Minute Book and a copy of conveyance will be available for inspection before the meeting.)
The law of the land relating to the site is found in:
The Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 that states "If the council of any parish are of opinion that there is a demand for allotments in the parish, the council shall provide sufficient number of allotments, and shall let such allotments to persons resident in the parish.... desiring to take the same." Where a council are of the opinion that any land acquired by them is for allotments....is not needed for....allotments....may sell....superfluous or unsuitable land.
The Allotments Act 1922 covers determination of tenancies.
The Allotments Act 1925 precludes the disposal of the land or any part of it without the consent of the Secretary of State.
The Allotments Act 1950 deals with compensation for disturbance.
Planning Consent is required for any change of use.
In 1996/7 it was decided to sell the site, an official approach to the Secretary of State resulted in the Council being permitted to sell the site and conditional planning consent was granted. There was difficulty in getting the City Solicitor to provide a correct version of the conditions: for example, he continually referred to the bridge that did not exist. The matter dragged on and eventually the City Council withdrew its consent with objection from the Parish Council. It is known that a resident made an unofficial approach to the Secretary of State and had a different response.
The letter obtained by Mr Cann as to the position, circulated at the March meeting is advisory only having been issued by The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd.
The position regarding decisions taken by the council from time to time is that they are only effective until a later decision determines a different policy. It is generally called the supremacy of Parliament. What one Parliament does the next Parliament can undo.
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