EXPANSION plans by a community allotment project have been backed.
The Waverley Allotment Project helps vulnerable and socially excluded adults make a “valuable contribution” to society at its site in Hartlepool.
Leaders at the project applied to extend their site in Waverley Terrace, which is owned by Hartlepool Borough Council.
Labour councillor Robbie Payne, portfolio holder for finance and procurement, agreed to hand over the empty land rent-free for three years at a recent meeting.
The expansion - which is subject to planning permission - will also help tackle a fly-tipping problem in the area.
As part of the deal, the Waverley Allotments Project will be responsible for repairs and running costs for the three-year period.
Coun Payne described it as a “brilliant” scheme, which would bring unused land back into use.
A range of people use the site including people with learning disabilities, adults with a history of substance misuse, offenders and those at risk of offending.
The allotment land which the project is looking to extend on to is currently empty and council officers say it is a target for fly-tipping.
Coun Payne said he was also impressed that the project had managed to secure a range of funding.
Project leaders have secured funding including £16,000 from the Crime and Disorder Partnership for fencing, £1,500 from Pride of Hartlepool, £30,000 from the adult and community service for green house and infrastructure works and £10,000 from NHS Hartlepool.
It has also been awarded £3,000 from Hartlepool Learning Disability Partnership Board for tools and equipment and £10,000 from Communities Health Funding Grant for compost toilets.
The project’s current site is about 1.25 acres.
Ahead of the meeting, talks had taken place between the park and countryside section that control the council’s allotments within the town and it was fully behind the project.