Hartlepool allotment holders to have their say to end 'Chinese whispers'

Councillors have stressed every allotment holder in Hartlepool will get the chance to have their say as part of their plans to draw up a new strategy for the "phenomenal" service.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:42 pm
Chester Road allotments in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s adult and community based services committee has now approved an allotment communication strategy.

This will allow holders on the 1,000 council-managed plots and those on the waiting list to have their say on the service.

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Cllr John Riddle with allotment owners father and son Graeme, right, and John Horn at Chester Road allotments earlier this month.

The consultation will take place from mid-August to the end of September with initial results shared in November.

Cllr Tim Fleming, chair of the committee, said the consultation will help lead to positive change.

He said: “We’re going to get in touch with as many holders of allotments as we can, all means will be used. It’s not just online, it’s not just by written communication.

“We’re going to work out what’s best for the allotment holders.

Cllr Sue Little said the questionnaire seeks to end any "Chinese whispers" surrounding the town's allotment service.

“The way things used to be is finished, it’s going to be finished, we’re going to move forward.”

Cllr Sue Little, vice chair, added the strategy was a “brilliant idea” and will help put an end to “Chinese whispers” which would previously circulate around feedback from allotment focus group meetings.

Consultation will include hard and electronic copies of questionnaires and drop-in sessions on allotment sites and at central locations.

The council will also directly approach voluntary and community groups, including allotment associations, and carry out a social media campaign.

Gemma Ptak, assistant director for preventative and community based services, stressed it will be a transparent process which everyone can get involved with.

She said: “We acknowledge we could do communication better.

“We really want this to be a good, proactive and positive experience because the asset that we have there is phenomenal.”

The strategy will also look at anti-social behaviour within allotments sites and work to prevent such issues.

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