AN ongoing dispute over the ownership of allotments in Hughenden Parish looks as if it is drawing to a close.

Over the last few years various meetings have been held between Hughenden Parish Council (HPC) and a local charity called the Allotments for the Labouring Poor (AfLP).

Most details from these meetings have been confidential since they have involved legal matters.

But now they have reached a key moment in their discussions and future meetings between the two will be open, so the press and public can attend.

They will be listed on HPC's website.

The discussions have been about the ownership of the following land within the parish: the Common Road amenity land plus a strip of land at Great Kingshill's Recreation Ground including the junior and senior play areas, together with four of eight allotment sites - Louches Lane, North Dean, Walter's Ash and Windmill Lane.

In the future it is hoped these sites will continue to be managed by HPC, but on behalf of the AfLP.

The council has released a statement which reads: "The true ownership of these properties (the beneficial interest) has been obscured by the long passage of time, but has been correctly and properly recognised by HPC, who have been requested by the AfLP to transfer legal ownership to the Official Custodian of Charities as soon as possible.

"Holders of allotment plots will be concerned about ongoing arrangements for rent, management and maintenance, so we will also need to reach fair and reasonable lease-back agreements so that the day-to-day management of the sites can continue to be a service provided by HPC to the community.

"There have been some difficulties in our discussions, some of which arose out of the sale of land decades ago at Brimmers Hill, as part of the process of building Widmer End Combined School.

"As yet there has been no agreement on whether HPC was entitled to retain the proceeds of sale to apply to the benefit of the parish as a whole. HPC's advice from specialist legal counsel concludes that there was no breach of trust by HPC and that no damages or compensation for loss of use arose in respect of the land.

"The key aim of HPC is to ensure the continued availability of allotments and recreational facilities for our community. HPC remains open to further discussions with the AfLP so that we can continue to offer the services expected by our local community."

Further information is available from the clerk to the council, Peter Wetherman, by calling 01494 715296 or by emailing