Allotment waiting list will be eased

TWO areas of land in Scarborough could help ease an estimated 10 year waiting list for people who would like to have an allotment.

It has been revealed that Scarborough Council is considering getting permission for land off Cornelian Drive and Woodlands Drive to be used for new allotments to help ease a waiting list of 120 people.

And, as part of the same process, the authority would have to ask permission from a secretary of state for land containing disused allotments, off Prospect Mount, be decomissioned so it could be put to better use.

Cllr Jonathan Dixon – the portfolio holder property maintenance – highlighted the issue at yesterday’s cabinet meeting and said he had first been asked to investigate the matter in 2006 by a resident.

He said: “He was concerned by the amount of time he’d spent on the waiting list. He’d seen other people jump the queue and asked me to find out what was going on.”

There are currently 79 council allotments in Barrowcliff and a further 12 plots off Seamer Road but Cllr Dixon said that those on the current waiting list could face a 10 year wait – allowing for a 15 per cent turnover. He added: “It is growing all the time.”

Historically the land at Prospect Mount fell into disuse because it was blighted with vandalism but it cannot be used for anything else because it is classified as a statutory allotment. Cllr Dixon said: “We would need to apply to the secretary of state to free it up.”

Cllr Guy Smith, the chairman of the task group which was set up to look into the situation, said it was good to see some progress because it had taken some time to get to this stage.

Members of the task group visited other areas, such as York, and he had been impressed with measures put in place for disabled access and pointed out that people from sheltered accommodation near the Woodlands Drive site could take advantage of the new plots – if adequate wheelchair access was provided.

Cllr Dixon added that it would be wrong to assume that people who already had a garden would not want an allotment. He said: “Most of the people who do want allotments do have gardens as well.”

According to a report which was presented to cabinet it would cost £20,745 to develop the two sites. There would be 46 new plots created at the Woodlands Drive site and an extra 86 plots created at the Cornelian Drive site.

Cllr Geoff Evans said that it was important for education because traditional skills were being lost. He said: “There are a lot of people that don’t have experience in gardening.”

Members of the cabinet voted to accept the report’s recommendations.