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Wycombe District Council gives Bassetsbury Lane Allotments a reprieve
COUNCIL chiefs have given Bassetsbury Lane Allotments a reprieve by putting its future in the hands of the High Wycombe Town Committee.
Wycombe District Council Cabinet's decision to initially axe the allotments was called in by WDC’s Improvement and Review Commission.
Scrutiny members felt the decision to close the site was “rash” and should not have been taken out of the hands of the Town Committee.
At last night's Cabinet meeting, Cllr Ron Gaffney, chair of the I&R Commission said: "A clear majority accepted the call-in and wanted it referred back to the Town Committee."
The Committee is keen to conduct a £20,000 Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment (DQRA) to assess the levels of contamination and provide a clear picture of whether any plots could be saved.
It asked WDC as landowner to fund the test – either in its entirety or make a contribution – but this was rejected by Cabinet.
WDC leader Cllr Alex Collingwood said he still had concerns as to whether the council would be able to gain insurance for the site, even if some plots were clear from contamination.
He added he would rather new allotments were developed in places such as Castlefield instead of ploughing up to £700,000 into a DQRA and full remediation of Bassetsbury.
But Cabinet member for Community, Cllr Katrina Wood, was keen to give High Wycombe ward members the final say.
She said: "The situation has been going on a long time and we need to come to a final result on the allotments.
“I don't think wider district funds should be put towards this but if the Town Committee wants to look at this then we can refer it back to them."
The allotments were shut in February 2009 after it was discovered the site was contaminated with heavy metal and chemical element cadmium.
The Town Committee will now meet on September 25 to decide whether to fund the DQRA or shut the allotments down once and for all.
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