Mapped - The sites in Ipswich with allotment vacancies
PUBLISHED: 16:12 29 October 2018
Green fingered residents are taking a fresh interest in Ipswich's allotments - just months after fears were raised over dwindling demand.
Earlier this year it emerged only 80% of plots were let to tenants against a target of 98%, according to Ipswich Borough Council figures for the end of 2017/18.
That meant one in five were not in use, and sparked concern in the community.
However, since then a surge in interest has led to 90% now being occupied – but council chiefs say there are plenty of plots still available, and are they are looking for more people to sign up.
Allotments officer Richard Sharp said: “Allotments are for everyone of every age and not as expensive as people think.
“It costs about 80p a week – less for older people and concessionary groups – to rent a plot and you will save a lot more than that by growing your own.
“Add in the fact that allotment gardening keeps you fit and that you will meet some nice fellow plot-holders and you’ve got a lot of reasons to get involved.
“We are also interested to hear from community groups or friends who would like to come together to rent a plot – they can then share the work and the produce. There has been a rise recently in community applications for our allotments.”
The council runs 16 allotment fields in Ipswich, with around 2,100 plots in total. While many are full and have waiting lists, the council has reported 10 or more vacant plots at its sites in Aster Road, Back Hamlet, Bramford Lane, London Road, Maidenhall, Norwich Road, Colchester Road, Northgate and Whitton Church Lane.
At the borough council’s latest scrutiny committee, councillor Phil Smart, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said plans were in the pipeline to keep allotment figures in line with population increases.
“Because the population is increasing we are looking at Ipswich Garden Suburb and looking to introduce more allotment land in that development so we are planning some kind of proportion to the population,” he said. “I am told there is a shortage [of available plots] in east Ipswich, and that has historically been the case.”
It is not clear yet how many plots may be created at the Garden Suburb site, or where on the estate they would be.