October 30 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 30, 2014
There have been “promising” talks in an attempt to find a way forward in a dispute between a parish council and the Church of England.
According to Stonham Parva’s parish council chairman, Ivan Richardson, residents have been calling to use the village allotments since 2011, but have been turned down.
He said the village, near Stowmarket, has some 20 plots but only two are currently managed. The rest are said to be “overgrown” with some blocking footpaths.
The church, which owns the allotment land, said the council had been offered the plots before to manage.
Mr Richardson said: “There’s been promising talks with the estate agents. Something seems to be moving we have got some positive response from them.
“And it means there will be talks with the church to try to arrange something. They should be on to take over the allotments and the running of them. That is something that we would like to see happen.
“Lots of people had been asking why we couldn’t rent them.”
A survey had been sent to residents to see how many wanted to use the allotments.
Mr Richardson added there was “strong demand” for the plots to be used.
John Howard, spokesman for the Church of England in Suffolk, said: “As a charity, the trustees of the church have a duty to manage land they are responsible for, to ensure the best financial return for the charity, and this includes the allotments at Stonham Parva.
“The income from allotment land is relatively small and it is therefore not cost-effective for the trustees to let to individual allotment holders.
“However, in recognition of the value and importance to community life allotments have, this land has previously been offered for let in its entirety to the parish council to manage for the benefit of the villagers.
“We understand the parish council has a statutory responsibility to provide allotments if there is sufficient demand. It would then be a matter for the council to let the allotments to individuals.
“This option has been offered but declined and as far as we are aware there have been no recent requests from the parish council.”