Decision due on spending £600,000 on new allotments in Cheltenham
A DECISION is set to be made on plans to spend £600,000 on creating new allotments in Cheltenham.
Borough councillors will decide on whether or not to set aside cash from the sale of the Midwinter site to provide around 290 extra plots across Cheltenham when they meet on Friday.
The funding is one of 11 recommendations made by a council committee which was set up to review the use of allotments in the borough, following complaints over the high waiting list for plots.
A report by the committee said the waiting list in Cheltenham was in line with national figures, with an average of 57 people waiting for every 100 plots. There are currently a total of 846 plots in the borough.
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Steve Bick, the voluntary warden at Hayden Road allotments in Swindon Village, welcomed the potential cash injection. He said: "£600,000 is a lot of money, but there is a long waiting list for allotments in the borough so I would think the new plots would be taken up quickly. It seems the council is just trying to meet the demand."
But not everybody was so pleased.
Fiona Berry, from Up Hatherley, said: "I know there is a need for allotments, but that seems like a lot of money. Is that amount really necessary?"
The report said allotments "play an important role in the community and contribute to a healthy diet and exercise; a means of producing food cheaply and the development of social activity".
Another recommendation is to revise the current tenancy agreement for allotment holders to give the council more power to remove wayward tenants. Currently, if an allotment warden notices that a tenant is ignoring their plot without a good reason, the council sends them a warning notice. If the tenant has not begun working the plot within a month, the council can remove them.