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Wellington Field Allotments Hixon


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Red Tape And Bureaucracy.

The Borough Council put lots of obstacles in the way for our Parish Council when they wanted to set up allotments in my home village. It seemed crazy at the time with the Government wanting everyone to “Grow Their Own,” fruit and vegetables to encourage a healthier lifestyle amongst the population generally. However, they did, but in the end everything was sorted out and the allotments were set up late last spring. A private landowner tried to set up a small commercial allotment site on a “Brownfield,” site, nearby, without official permission. Everything was O.K. for a while until the family put up a “Mobile,” temporary, stable, on the site, for 2 horses that were in an adjacent field. The council spotted it and immediately told them to clear the site.

The renting of plots had stopped earlier, but a couple of the plots were being used by the landowners family and a couple by me and my mate, so we decided to dig up everything that was worth saving and just abandon the rest. There was no point in trying to dig up dozens of vegetable seedlings, but we did spend several hours digging up all the fruit trees, bushes, rhubarb, bay trees and raspberry canes, as well as removing all the runner and climbing bean canes, as canes are so expensive. We actually left half of the raspberry plants in because they had started to multiply and there was far more than I would need to set up again elsewhere if another site became available.

The owner, of the now closed site, is “Exploring his options,” as to what to do with it and I don’t know where to go for another plot. We still have one site in my village, but now that it is getting more popular and established it has a growing waiting list as does just about every other allotment site in the country. The next village of Great Haywood has a long waiting list as well and as with most allotments, the plot-holders have to live within the Parish boundaries anyway. (Remembering that my village site is operated through the council strict limitations were put on plot-holders for sheds.) There is another fairly new commercial site a few miles away, that has been set up by a friend of the owner of the closed one and he has had his own problems with officialdom. It is a large site that had official planning, but plot-holders put up lots of small sheds and greenhouses, too many in the council’s eyes and they have been ordered to remove most of them. The locals are in uproar and can’t understand the objections as although the site is in a village type area, it is partly built up with houses and all types of industry close by. The Council are doing themselves no favours with the local voters because I have heard that the council’s own allotment site, also close by, is going to close to make way for more building. Then there will be even more disgruntled allotment holders and voters! However, the owner concerned is soldiering on, has just opened another large site at the far end of the built up area and is advertising plots at one pound a week. There seem to be scores of plots to let, but they are too far for me to even think about taking one.

Prices and sizes seem to vary tremendously for plots around the country. His are smallish plots, but at only one pound a week they are the same as we pay in my village, but one of the large garden centre chains are experimenting with luxury gardening allotments for £5 a week which gets you a basic plot and £10 for one complete with water tub and shed plus greenhouse, but you only get 90 square metres of plot.

The official recommended size for an allotment plot is a “10 pole Plot,” or 1/16th acre, which is 300 square yards, or 250 square metres. On the site that closed I was paying £100 a year for 50 x 20ft, and the Hixon site is £52 for about ½ of the National Allotments recommended plot size.