CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Northfields Allotments from development have the backing of Labour MP Rupa Huq.

More than 3,700 people have signed a petition for the preservation of Northfields Allotments in Ealing – London’s oldest allotment which opened in 1832.

Plotholders have been told that Pathways, who own the allotments, want to build affordable homes on the site, meaning sections could be lost.

Re-elected Ealing Central and Acton MP Dr Huq vowed to continue supporting Northfields Allotments.

She said: “I have recently been re-elected on a pledge to fight for greater environmental protections so I understand just how important Ealing's natural heritage is to local residents.

“Social housing is very important, however the planned development also includes several townhouses for private sale so the charity is essentially aiming to sell off green space on the open market.

“I urge the charity to consider other options.”

Allotments are known for their therapeutic effect on mental and physical health and for many are an antidote to fast-paced city life. 

Northfields Allotments plotholder Jude Tither said: “I work from home in my first-floor flat where I don’t have a garden so my plot is a true sanctuary.

“Three years ago I developed a rheumatic problem which affected my shoulders, hips and arms, and means I can no longer do any vigorous digging.

“However, my allotment is more than just somewhere to grow vegetables.

“It’s my place where I can sit on the bench from my old dad's garden and watch the birds and animals and just relax and reflect.

“I find the idea of having my plot taken from me truly upsetting as I would be lost without it.”

The development could not only affect plotholders, but also the wider community.

Ealing Dean Allotment Society chairman Christina Fox, said: “It isn't only plotholders who will be affected by the proposed development since the allotments are also enjoyed by the wider community.

“Our last open day was hugely popular and saw us welcome some 2,000 Ealing residents onto the site, while the environmental benefits for those living in the vicinity of the site are obvious.”

A Pathways spokesperson said: “Current surveys show that Pathways will only require around 4% of the allotment site.

“On this basis we believe that only five plotholders will be affected and they will be offered an alternative plot on the Northfields site. 

“Using a very small proportion of the allotment site, while leaving 96% unaffected, allows Pathways to deliver significant benefits for older people in Ealing. 

“Income from any private sale properties will all be reinvested into the provision of new social homes and improved services for our residents. 

“The new affordable housing will be genuinely affordable for the people in Ealing who need them.”