Town's allotments plan 'Not in right place'

PUBLISHED: 09:32 22 June 2009 | UPDATED: 21:48 31 May 2010

DESPITE a high demand for allotments in Saffron Walden, councillors have rejected a plan to provide an additional 20 plots in the town. A proposal to convert the strip of land adjacent to Peal Road into allotments was thrown out a meeting of Saffron Walde

DESPITE a high demand for allotments in Saffron Walden, councillors have rejected a plan to provide an additional 20 plots in the town.

A proposal to convert the strip of land adjacent to Peal Road into allotments was thrown out a meeting of Saffron Walden Town Council last Wednesday.

Cllr Jim Ketteridge said: "I accept that there is a huge demand for allotments at the moment, but that demand comes and goes in waves.

"We do need to look at the provision of more allotments, but the linear strip is not the right place."

The motion to reject the allotment plan was put forward by Cllr Ketteridge, Cllr Sandra Eden, Cllr Keith Eden, Cllr Raza Anjum and Cllr David Watson.

The land, which is at the rear of the Lord Butler Leisure Centre, is currently used for recreational use such as dog walking and the councillors did not think this facility should be taken away.

Cllr Richard Freeman strongly disagreed with the decision saying that one of the town council's only responsibilities was to provide allotments if there was a demand for them.

He said: "No one wants things outside their own front door, but our challenge is to do what is best for the town, not just the people in the local vicinity."

The town council currently lets 66 plots at two different sites; one on Byrds Farm Lane and the other on Little Walden Road. There is a waiting list of about 80 people.

Town Clerk Malcolm White reminded members that it was a statutory requirement to meet the demand for allotments.

Allotment holder Cllr Mike Hibbs said that the town was faced with few options when it came to providing additional allotments.

"Because of car parking issues it is fair to say that the Peal Road site is not the best place," he said. "However it is hard to identify any suitable space - wherever you put it there will be questions of access in this medieval town.

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