‘Messy’ Sidmouth allotment will end up looking ‘lovely’, tenant reassures local residents

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:09 31 March 2020

The planters - a work in progress. Picture: Darren Crook

The planters - a work in progress. Picture: Darren Crook

Darren Crook

The tenant of a Sidmouth allotment that was described as an ‘eyesore’ by a person living nearby has reassured residents that the plot will eventually look ‘lovely’.

The allotment during the building work. Picture; Darren CrookThe allotment during the building work. Picture; Darren Crook

The concerned resident complained to East Devon District Council after Darren Crook started building some breezeblock structures on his site at Lawn Vista allotments.

A council officer visited the site and spoke to Mr Crook, who explained that he was creating a set of raised planters for an innovative gardening technique called hugelkultur, which uses little or no water.

The council said it was ‘fully supportive’ of the environment-friendly scheme.

Mr Crook admitted to the Herald that the allotment had looked ‘a bit messy’ for a while but said the building of the planters is now complete.

Logs in the planters will naturally break down and decay, providing nutrients for the plants. Picture: Darren CrookLogs in the planters will naturally break down and decay, providing nutrients for the plants. Picture: Darren Crook

They will be filled with compost and wood, with soil on top for planting.

The gradual decay of the wood provides a long-term source of nutrients for the plants, aerates the soil, and generates heat.

Mr Crook, an experienced gardener, will cultivate the allotment with the help of his wife and extended family.

He said: “The end result will be an allotment full of vegetables and fruit.

“I am also going to plant edible flowers and herbs.

“Once it’s started to grow it will look lovely.

“The planters are now in and the messy part of building them is over.

“We have now filled the planters three-quarters and just waiting on getting compost to finish off.

“We have put weed control sheets down, just in case we are in lockdown for a long time.”

A council spokesman said: “East Devon District Council has already identified climate change as a priority, and this is reflected in the Council Plan.

“We recognise that we have a role to play not only in ‘getting our own house in order’ by reducing our carbon footprint, but also by influencing and enabling our communities to do likewise.

“We have therefore given permission for (the tenants) to create six raised breeze block beds, surrounded by grass and access paths.

“An officer has inspected the works and is satisfied that once finished, the project will be aesthetically pleasing and an interesting experiment in a more sustainable method of gardening.”

Instagram users can follow Darren Crook’s progress with the allotment project at 3rdfromthegatealloment

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