Reassurance for allotment holders at a special meeting called by landowner
Clinton Devon Estates has pledged to not only safeguard but to enhance Budleigh Salterton's allotment provision at a special meeting for Greenway Lane allotment holders in the town last week.
At the meeting, held at Venture Hall, Leigh Rix explained that the Greenway Lane site is being considered for development because it is identified within the East Devon Local Plan, published in 2006, as being suitable for development to meet the current local housing need. Mr Rix said: "This cannot be ignored at a time when local families are struggling to find homes and our proposals for this site are in line with a request from the Town Council in 2009. We would really encourage local people to put their energy into working with us to create a homes and allotments development that we can all be very proud of."
Leigh Rix explained: "From the outset, it has always been our intention to develop an exemplar housing and allotments scheme at Greenway Lane, to provide for people who need homes as well as those who need, and enjoy, their allotments. It has never been our intention to remove the Greenway Lane allotments, leaving the town's gardeners with nothing."
"Developing sustainable communities underpins all of our work at Clinton Devon Estates and with our interests in farming, the environment and tenant properties across East Devon, we fully recognise the importance of using land wisely and productively with the next generation in mind. Our provision of allotments for the primary schools at East Budleigh and Otterton demonstrate that commitment." added Leigh Rix.
At last week's meeting allotment holders were given an opportunity to discuss their own ideas for improved facilities at the Greenway Lane site via four facilitated round-table discussions. Among the allotment features discussed were a communal facility for storage with a toilet and tea-making facilities, water access points, raised beds, a community garden area, access and hard-standing for deliveries and new hedges and landscaping.
Clinton Devon Estates said that depending on the final design and layout of the proposed new development, any allotments that would need to be relocated, would move to fully cultivated plots and assistance with moving would also be provided. The Estates have also pledged to provide additional allotment space to help meet the Town Council's long waiting list. This would be achieved by cultivating new land and offering a range of plot sizes in consultation with the Allotment Committee.
Following the meeting Leigh Rix said; "The feedback from our four discussion groups, along with the feedback we received from our Open Day in March, will be used by our architects Lacey Hickie Caley to help produce new designs to go on display in the Public Hall on June 10th and 11th."
Concept designs for the site, which has been leased by Clinton Devon Estates to the Town Council for many years, were presented to the community at an Open Day last month.
On March 25th Clinton Devon Estates gave Budleigh Salterton Town Council 12 months notice on the tenure of the allotments, as a legal requirement and in line with their annual opportunity to give notice on this site. In turn, the Town Council is required to give three months notice to allotment holders. Clinton Devon Estates said the notice would be revoked if planning consent was not granted. However, Leigh Rix said the Estates would be pressing ahead with the plans for the site this year and will continue to liaise closely with the Town Council and with allotment holders.