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Councillors demand more information on Allotment Sites

November 5, 2010 11:08 AM
Allotment site

Alexandra allotment site is the largest in the borough

Lib Dem councillors have asked for more information on new allotment sites to be brought forward for discussion. A meeting of the council's Leisure Committee debated a new agreement for self-managed allotment sites and prompted a discussion on the potential for new sites around the borough.

Cllr Jonathan Lees, himself an allotment holder in West Ewell, said "We really need to get on and identify new sites. The development coming on-stream at West Park has earmarked an area as suitable but there's no agreement as to how a new allotment site would be made suitable for use and who would pay for this. Residents of these new hospital cluster developments including those at recently occupied Parkviews (formerly St Ebba's hospital) are desperate for allotment facilities and the council's waiting list is going through the roof. We are one of few boroughs who have a real opportunity to lead the way in creating more allotments. We just need the political will and a funding stream to get things up and running but I see no reason why a developer should not contribute."

The council is intending to involve current "site representatives" in making sure vacant plots are taken up quickly. Self-managed sites are likely to have to cover their water charges as the council now pays £7,800 in water charges for its allotments - 13% of its total water bill each year. The meeting also heard how one of the council's allotment sites, at Stones Road, had been disused for years because of vandalism problems. There is hope that this site can be re-opened in the future but there's now a further delay because the county council has run out of money to complete the Stones Road tunnel works.