New allotments could come to village

ALLOTMENT holders who face losing their plots after 30 years as the land is sold for up to £550,000 may be offered plots elsewhere within the community.

ALLOTMENT holders who face losing their plots after 30 years as the land is sold for up to £550,000 may be offered plots elsewhere within the community.

Mid Suffolk District Council, which owns the site in Harleston, near Stowmarket, has been considering whether to build six three and four bedroom homes on the plot, making the site very valuable in cash terms to the authority.

The land was valued earlier in the year at well in excess of half a million pounds and the Executive Committee, meeting at the council's Needham Market chambers debated the sale.

Roy Barker, a Conservative district councillor who has taken on the responsibility for resolving the matter, said he hopes it can be developed, possibly providing affordable housing for the community, and new allotment land can then be created.


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And Mr Barker said no developers would move in before the gardeners had had the opportunity to harvest their crops and a parish meeting would be held to discuss the way forward.

He said: “We are looking to see if we can create a fresh allotment site and use this plot for affordable housing. I think we can make this a win/win situation for the community.”

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Andrew Stringer, a Green district councillor who insisted on a report from officers to Executive on the matter, said: “There will now be consultations held to try and resolve this.

“If Mid Suffolk District Council has to realize this asset, it has been valued at £550,000, with the cost of agricultural land being reasonable we should look at creating a new site for gardeners. This is a small community with no facilities. We can only hope that common sense prevails.”

The authority has never charged rent or formalised the land as allotments, but the site has been in use for years with seven plots there.

Gardeners who use the site find it invaluable with the current cost of food and believe it is better to see the area used instead of falling into an unsightly piece of wasteland ahead of any development, which could be tough to start in the current uncertain economic credit crunch climate.

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