Allotment holders can have their say

ALLOTMENT holders are being urged to have their say on the future of their plots.

A three-month consultation exercise is to be carried out on the future of allotments across Hartlepool, with council officials keen to improve the standard of the town’s 1,012 plots which are spread over 16 sites.

But before any changes go ahead, they want the views of allotment holders, local residents and key organisations such as the police, fire brigade and RSPCA as to the best way forward.

The main focus of the consultation exercise will be to identify problems affecting allotment sites – and then to consider whether current rental income is sufficient to address them.

In 2010-11, the charge for an average-sized allotment was £36.10, or 70p per week.

A condition survey of the town’s allotments carried out in 2009 highlighted the need for essential repairs to roads, fencing, water pipes and general grounds maintenance to prevent serious deterioration of the fabric of the service.

A number of other issues, including fly-tipping, illegal burning of waste, illegal commercial activity and the keeping of animals, also have a detrimental impact on both allotment sites and the wider community.

Councillor Hilary Thompson, the Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “Having attended the allotment holders’ forum, I am aware that there are some quite emotive issues. I am sure allotment holders will be glad of this opportunity to discuss the issues that affect their use and enjoyment of allotments.

“Following the consultation, we should be in a position to draw up a plan of action.”

Allotment holders, residents or other organisations wanting further information about the consultation exercise should call (01429) 523406 or email: