Expansion plans for allotments

Robbie Payne.
Robbie Payne.

A COMMUNITY allotment project is looking to expand with the help of council bosses.

The Waverley Allotment Project helps vulnerable and socially excluded adults make a “valuable contribution” to society at its site in Hartlepool.

Project leaders are looking to extend their site in Waverley Terrace, which is owned by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Their plans, which would also help tackle a fly-tipping problem, are set to be discussed at a meeting later this week.

The council’s estates manager has been approached by the project, which currently occupies about 1.25 acres, to see if it would be possible to extend their site.

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 wants to extend onto is currently empty and council officers say it is a target for flytipping.

Talks have taken place between the park and countryside section that control the council’s allotments within the town and they are fully behind the project.

The plan is for the project to occupy the land for three years, rent free, and it would be responsible for any running costs and repairs required at the site, including the fencing.

Labour councillor Robbie Payne, portfolio holder for finance and procurement, is due to discuss the scheme on Thursday.

A report by James Cuthbert, the council’s estates and valuation surveyor, said: “The project will take on the maintenance and utilities costs associated with the site thus reducing the burden on the council’s maintenance budgets including the removal of flytipping at the site.”

Project leaders have secured a range of 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 meeting will be held at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, at 10am.