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January 26, 2011

Councils in denial over allotments

Councils have a legal duty to provide allotments. But the law is vague and easy to ignore – to the extent that several Councils report that they have no allotments and therefore have no waiting lists. In the rest of the country there are 4465 plots – a number that could easily be doubled to meet the demand. Current waiting lists stand at 5849. Some communities have tired of waiting and have set about creating their own

MOMENTUM is growing in Blanefield for an effort to create a community allotment.
Strathblanefield Community Development Trust has submitted an application to Stirling Council, seeking permission to create allotments and a community garden. The site, which would also include parking for three cars and one disabled parking space, is south of Netherblane, Dumbrock Drive, Strathblane.
The proposals would see the development trust hold the lease for the land, put its name to funding applications, deal with the development funds and hire a temporary development worker.
The site would be run by Blane Valley Allotments Group, which would set up a formal consultation and rename itself as the Blane Community Allotments Association.
Planning agent Alan Sim and Mary Brailey, chair of Blane Valley Allotments Group, said is screened from a house to the north and is currently unused.
There would be at least 23 allotments and a community garden with space to form a further 10 allotments.
Each plot would get a standard hut, optional greenhouse, compost bins, rainwater butts and a wire boundary fence. Low-carbon site design and growing methods would be used, including rainwater harvesting.
There would be no mains power or mains water but a composting toilet would be installed.
They said: “With public support it is intended that the site should become a focus for community events like open days and harvest festivals.
“It is proposed to form a community garden with raised beds for schoolchildren and people with special needs, a community hut for storage and shelter, a greenhouse, communal composting bays and internal paths suitable for disabled access as required to meet the needs of individual users.”
The trust is seeking £60,000 from the Leader fund and other sources and has been promised voluntary contributions of skills, time and materials.
The group says the project could be open by this summer.