Sites for Sidmouth allotments sought by Vision Group

PUBLISHED: 20:03 27 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 18 June 2010

COMPLAINTS from Sidmouth residents over lack of allotments and four-year-long waiting lists, has prompted the Vision Group for Sidmouth to petition EDDC to provide more.

COMPLAINTS from Sidmouth residents over lack of allotments and four-year-long waiting lists, has prompted the Vision Group for Sidmouth to petition EDDC to provide more.

Now East Devon District Council's chief executive Mark Williams has challenged the VGS's Food Action Group to earmark sites that could be assessed for use.

Currently there are 68 temporary plots - leased by EDDC - catering for a population of 14,000.

These are at Lawn Vista, Lymebourne and Peaslands and are rented out at just under £50 a year.

The petition was signed by 36 VGS members and handed to EDDC last month.

VGS believes a mix of positive health benefits from 'allotmenting' and increasing food prices has led to a countrywide surge of people wanting to grow their own.

Mr Williams offered a "quick and positive response", saying it was a matter the council had been looking into because of increasing interest in allotments.

Now VGS would like to hear from anyone who knows of land - ideally owned by EDDC or the town council - which could be used as allotments.

"This will help to alleviate a huge waiting list and allow people to benefit from an increased amenity," said Vision member Michael Horsnell.

Secretary Jeremy Woodward added: "We wished to signal to EDDC that we were well aware of their statutory obligations. (under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908)

"However, we do not wish to be confrontational but to engage with the authorities, which is why we've made a start with a couple of projects; one to set up a Garden Share Scheme - combining forces with Sidmouth Help Link, the other to look for possible plots around the town which could become allotments or even a community garden."

Those wishing to grow their own food would be put in touch with someone willing to share some of their garden in exchange for fresh produce.

It is hoped the garden share scheme can be set up by the summer.

Suggestions should go to Joe Canti, chairman of the Food Group (01395) 597269 or Mr Woodward at jaydoubleyou@onetel.com.

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