Planting work is underway at Budleigh Salterton's new allotments
Allotment gardeners and their families joined members of Budleigh Salterton Town Council and Clinton Devon Estates to mark the official opening of the refurbished and extended Greenway Lane allotments.
Since the beginning of June, allotment holders - old and new - have been making the most of the good weather to start sowing their summer crops, turning out in force to plant their fruit, vegetables and flowers on the refurbished site, which is owned by Clinton Devon Estates and leased to Budleigh Salterton Town Council for allotments.
The refurbishment is part of a new homes and allotments development for the town, which received planning permission last year. The scheme has provided a total of 87 allotments including replacement plots for the established Greenway Lane allotment gardeners plus 31 new plots.
Leigh Rix, Head of Property and Land for Clinton Devon Estates said: "We've been delighted with the response to the new allotments and it's been really good to see so much activity here over the past few weeks. We've arranged for several deliveries of complimentary manure for the gardeners to help things along a little bit."
Mr Rix added: "Each allotment has its own shed, which we've sourced from a local shed building company, and its own water butt. In addition, the allotments have been grouped around mains water points to make watering the crops a lot easier than before."
The new layout and additional plots have enabled the Town Council to reduce their long allotment waiting list by 50 names.
One local family who have been on the waiting list for four years are Melanie and Blain Bishop who live in Greenway Lane, just a short walk away. Melanie, accompanied by her three and a half year old daughter Megan said: "We've been waiting four years for an allotment and we've been given one on the new piece of land that's been allocated. We've borrowed some gardening equipment and we're busy planting onions and leeks, strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. There's been such a good atmosphere here with the more experienced gardeners offering to help those of us who are less experienced and there have been lots of children working hard too."
Elinor Pepperell , who also lives in Greenway Lane with her family has just begun planting her allotment with her six year old son Tom, having waited four and a half years for a plot. She said: "This is so good for the children because they can experience where food comes from and also how to grow it and take care of it. We have a small rear concrete courtyard at home and we've been limited to growing a few things in the front garden so this is such a great opportunity for us. We're putting in a mix of veg and flowers including sweetcorn, onions, courgettes, spring onions, garlic and potatoes and we're really enjoying the social side of it too especially meeting lots of other families with children."
Town Mayor and East Devon District Councillor Steve Hall said: "We are surrounded by a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the sea so it has been a challenge to try and find land within the boundary of Budleigh Salterton to provide some much needed affordable housing. I am delighted that we've been able to cater for the housing as well as the allotments."
Former Town Mayor Courtney Richards said: "This is a very good, well ordered scheme and I am very pleased that we have achieved a good result for the community."
Torquay-based homebuilder Cavanna Homes - who are joint venture partners with Clinton Devon Estates on the housing scheme - will begin building work on the 48 new two, three and four bedroom properties later this month. For further details visit www.cavannahomes.co.uk .