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'Final' soil test for Bassetsbury Lane Allotments after committee's ruling
THE future of Bassetsbury Lane Allotments looks a little brighter after councillors agreed to a “final” soil study in a bid to save the site from closure.
High Wycombe Town Committee members commissioned a £20,000 Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment (DQRA) which would take several samples from across the allotments and test for contamination.
The results will give a clear picture about the safety of the site and enable council bosses to finally make a definitive decision about its future.
Cllr Trevor Snaith said: “If we can get through this test and find there’s minimal or no-contamination, we can get some of those allotments reopened and then look at other areas of the site.
“If the DQRA comes back saying it is contaminated, I put up, shut up and go away. If it can be reopened, I will be fighting for it all the way.”
Cllr Lesley Clarke joked: “The thought of spending £20,000 to make Cllr Snaith shut up and go away has a real ring to it – but we should go for the DQRA, we owe it to the tenants.”
The site was indefinitely closed in February 2009 by Wycombe District Council after traces of heavy metal contamination were discovered during a series of soil tests.
Disappointed tenants did not feel the level of contamination warranted closure, sparking the formation of the Bassetsbury Lane Allotments Group (BLAG) and a campaign to get the site reopened once again.
The saga looked to have come to an abrupt halt in April this year after council chiefs announced they would be recommending permanent closure to WDC’s Cabinet after “exhausting every option”.
But following further discussions with BLAG, council bosses performed a U-Turn last month and put the future of the allotments in to the hands of the town committee - which voted for “one final survey” last night.
The committee will ask WDC, as landowner, to pay for the £19,725 DQRA or demand at least some kind of donation towards the cost.
The decision was met with warm applause by a number of delighted allotment tenants in the public gallery of the Council Chamber.
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