A positive aspect to allotment debate

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HAVING followed your recent reporting of allotment matters I feel compelled to write to offer an alternative perspective to some of the negative coverage relating to the town’s council-run sites.

In particular, I wish to address the implied ‘work camp’ ethos and the fact that this might discourage some of your readers from considering an allotment.

Both the current allotment strategy and tenancy agreements were developed in consultation with representatives from the allotment community.

The main aims were to enhance the quality of these spaces for tenants (and neighbours), to improve cultivation levels, improve security, optimise the amount of available land used, and to make the management and maintenance of allotments less resource intensive (and therefore less costly to the local taxpayer). These aims continue today.

I have been involved with others working voluntarily at Bos Field in Elphinstone Road since before 2007 and we would not have achieved any of the site enhancements (for example moving from less than 50 per cent to 100 per cent tenancy levels) unless we had worked with the council rather than against it. For the record, in my experience the council officers have always been courteous, efficient and professional in any discussions I have had. Furthermore, from my experience most tenants enjoy their time on allotments, are happy to abide by the terms of their tenancy agreements and work together to resolve any issues as they arise.

There is a good sense of community that has taken a number of years to establish and I am sure this is replicated on other allotments within the borough.

We now have a workable solution that provides for the needs of current tenants, prospective tenants and council officers alike. In my view our tenancy agreements are generally fair, equitably enforced and for most help to improve the quality of the time spent cultivating their plots with families, partners and friends.

So let’s talk up rather than put down the allotments within the town.

HARVEY ELLS

Woodbrook Road,

Site Secretary at Bos Field Allotments