Cliffe and Cliffe Woods Parish Council
Allotments for the Community
One of the responsibilities of a Parish Council is the provision of allotments to local residents where need is identified and Cliffe & Cliffe Woods Parish Council have provided an area next to the Recreation Ground and behind the Children’s Play Area. The popularity of allotments has risen and fallen over the years and is currently again very popular. It is not that long ago that the parish offered free allotments in an attempt to use up all the plots and get them used rather than overgrown with weeds and affecting neighbouring plots. In recent years we have built up a waiting list.
Between 2007 and early 2010 former councillor Janet Keates (along with her husband Andy and fellow allotment holders) carried out a lot of improvements with a water supply and fencing provided. She also managed to get a number of grants for improvements and managed to get support from organisations such as E-ON and Hewdens.
In 2010 Councillors Lisa Mills and Julie Moss took over as the Parish Council’s Allotment Committee and their first task was to try and allocate the few, but overgrown, plots and to reduce the waiting list. With the help of the caretaker and with the knowledge of some long standing allotment tenants they eventually managed to accomplish the task. Some plots which appeared to be unworkable have now got new tenants and are beginning to take shape. There is currently a waiting list, but none have been waiting longer than a few months. Since Lisa and Julie left the Parish Council, Dave Green and Ray Letheren took over the responsibility. Dave Green has also resigned with Peter Clements taking on the role.
There are now allotment holder’s meetings on an ad-hoc basis, and the parish also produce a newsletter on an ad-hoc basis. The meetings are totally informal and allotment tenants are encouraged to discuss any issues they think are relevant.
There has been a review the rent for each allotment. Some of the plots differ in size to others by quite a substantial amount, so the plots were measured and rental charge is based on size; this seems to be a much fairer way to do this. Tenants were notified of the reviewed rental charges in time for the April 2011 invoices, charges remained the same in 2013 .
Renting an allotment is a great way to experience the ‘good life’ and when we visit them we are always amazed at the plethora of vegetables and fruit that is grown. Last weekend we saw cabbages far bigger than any I have seen in the shops – how gratifying that must be to sit down at your own table eating the vegetables you have nurtured and picked yourself. We do know it is hard work and, at times, back breaking, the tenants have my utmost respect for the amount of effort they put into their plots.
If you think you might be interested then please contact the Parish Council Clerk for more information. We can always arrange for you to visit the allotments to have a look around.