Baldock allotment group takeover plans

AN ALLOTMENT group which feels a council’s actions have “artificially reduced waiting lists” hope to take over two sites.

The Baldock Allotment and Leisure Gardener’s Association has entered into negotiations with North Herts District Council to take over the running of allotments in North Road and Clothall Road.

The association is also in discussion with Hertfordshire County Council about leasing more land for plots in Clothall Road.

The move comes amid increasing waiting lists across the area, but the association must demonstrate there is sufficient demand if their plans are to be successful.

At Clothall Road the waiting list has never fallen below 10 people, and the association has said many wait two years for a plot.

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In a letter sent to residents, the association’s general secretary Phil Charsley said: “We believe that actions by North Herts District Council has artificially reduced waiting lists – actions such as only letting half plots, only letting to one person per household, and raising rents by 100 per cent.

“We cannot guarantee to provide a plot to everyone who wants one, but without knowing there is an unsatisfied demand, we will not be able to move forward.”

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Cllr Ian Knighton, NHDC’s portfolio holder for leisure, said: “There are two allotment sites in North Herts with long waiting times, and that is simply down to the demand for plots in those areas.

“There are other sites with waiting times of less than a year and seven sites within Baldock, Hitchin and Letchworth that currently have vacant plots.

“Plots are allocated ‘sold as seen’ and they may require some work before they are ready for planting. We continue to work with the Baldock Allotments Association, and for those interested in a site in Baldock, they are offering help to new tenants who want to prepare plots.”

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