Growers in the Lee Valley have reacted with anger at proposals, contained in a consultation document published by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, which could see them forced out of the area.
The consultation, which closes on 12 February 2015, includes proposals to ‘resist significant expansion of existing glasshouse businesses or the location of new glasshouse businesses’ and bring ‘existing or historical horticultural glasshouse sites within the Wetland Park…into recreational or leisure use in the longer term through the use of the Authority’s land purchasing powers if necessary.’
Lea Valley Growers Association (LVGA) Secretary Lee Stiles said, “Is the authority seriously suggesting it’s a sensible use of taxpayers’ money to buy successful horticultural businesses and close them down, particularly with the pressures currently facing frontline services such as our police, hospitals and schools?
“These proposals have come out of the blue, without any prior consultation. They are ill-conceived, illogical and an insult to horticultural businesses that have been an intrinsic part of the Lee Valley for generations, long before the park authority was founded.
“We have just discovered that the authority has already committed to use its compulsory purchase powers against Horticultural businesses in one area of the Park, without any consultation with the Association or the businesses affected.
“Merely publishing the proposals could have an adverse effect on the businesses the authority wants to restrict and ultimately close down. We have lodged a formal complaint and we’re seeking the withdrawal of the consultation & the previously adopted proposals that were conducted without consultation before damage is done.”