Allotments face relocation after 40 years to make way for car parking
- Credit: Julie Johnson
A 93-year-old woman is one of 44 allotment holders facing being turfed off their plots to make way for car parking.
Holders have been told they have to abandon their allotments in Greenwood Park, Chiswell Green, to give way to car parking and a workshop for the grounds maintenance vehicles, and relocate to a green space at North Close, which was only recently earmarked as a community orchard and reflective garden.
St Stephen's Parish Council's fixed assets committee have agreed to commence the long process of re-locating the 42 allotments currently at the entrance to the park as part of what they say will be a comprehensive improvement and efficiency plan for the parish.
But allotment holder Julie Johnson said: "They have allocated another piece of land which is totally unsuitable as it has large trees and a six foot drop as well as being isolated and will take many years to improve the soil to the standard we already have. The current allotments have been there for 40 years and one of the ladies - aged 91 - has been there since the beginning.
"We have been told that the car parking is needed for weekend football, salsa classes and events that are run in the community centre. The current car parking has no markings and therefore is underused due to poor parking. Whilst we can accept that extra parking may be necessary there are better ways the current car parks could be utilised or extended.
"This all seems to go against encouraging us to 'grow our own' and given that gardening has proved to one of the most beneficial forms of exercise for physical and mental health seems strange. Why should we be encouraging more car use in our parks and green spaces?"
"This might seem trivial with so many other things going on in the world but as the council vision is to support local communities, encourage inclusion and diversity also to protect and enhance the environment, I think it goes against those values."
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Chair of the parish council David Parry said: “We appreciate that what we are doing is disruptive for the 42 allotment holders but we are determined to do all we can to make this move as painless as possible and ultimately create better facilities for them, as well as provide the wider benefits to the parish.”
A meeting on the proposals is due to take place on March 24 from 7pm in the Orton Hall at Greenwood Park community centre.