Meeting to decide whether council commits to spending £50,000 on land for more allotments

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 July 2018

Around 80 people in Honiton are waiting for the opportunity to cultivate their own allotment. Photo: Getty Images

Around 80 people in Honiton are waiting for the opportunity to cultivate their own allotment. Photo: Getty Images

rachel dewis

More allotments could be coming to Honiton - but the town council would have to commit nearly half of its reserves to make it happen.

Town clerk Mark Tredwin said that a winning bid from the council in an upcoming auction for land at Merryfield (Roundball Lane) could leave the council’s reserves dangerously low.

The land has a guide price of £30,000 plus fixed fees of £660.

But in a report to the council, Mr Tredwin said councillors need to decide whether the authority should commit around £50,000 of its reserves it currently has to secure the land.

The figure is almost half of the council’s current reserves, which at the end of the financial year is £104,895.

An extraordinary meeting of the council will be held next week so members can discuss the possibility of bidding for land at Merryfield to use for additional allotments.

In his report, Mr Tredwin warned the council could be left ‘vulnerable’ if it wishes to commit to purchasing the land.

Mr Tredwin said: “With a guide price of £30,000 plus fixed fees of £600 for the land, this will mean each allotment will cost a minimum of £3,000 per allotment just for land alone.

“There will then be the costs entailed at some point for the preparation of the land and the management of the additional allotments.

“Whilst these costs are unlikely to be as high as for the Combe Estate allotments, they are going to be significant – potentially around £20,000.”

The town council is already working to bring allotments to Honiton, having submitted a planning application for the provision of 30 last month.

The proposed site for the allotments is a strip of grassland running alongside The Gissage river beside Battishorne Way.

Although the land it owned by Combe Estate, the council is currently in the process of finalising a lease agreement.

There is currently a lengthy waiting list in Honiton for allotments – with some 80 people pushing for the amenity to be provided.

However, Mr Tredwin said the town council could be left in the lurch if an emergency presented itself after the authority committed £50,000 towards purchasing the land at Merryfield.

He added: “Whilst appreciating that suitable land is rarely placed on the market, it is for this council to decide at this point it wishes to commit around £50,000 of the reserves it currently has.

“This would potentially leave the council vulnerable should there be a need for the council to call its reserves for other matters.”

In a separate report to the council, Cllr Roy Coombs said: “Even though there are large areas of countryside in Honiton Parish, including land in two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other land outside the built-up area boundary of the town, it has been very difficult over the years to acquire land for allotment gardens provision.

“This is due in part to land that could be suitable rarely being offered for sale.”

According to Cllr Coombs report, there was several chances for allotments to be developed in town - but all faced difficulties.

Allotment gardens at Newlands and Silver Street were developed for housing, even though they were described as Features of Special Importance in the 1999 Honiton Conservation Area Appraisal.

In 2007, the town council was outbid at auction for land in Combe Raleigh.

The land was being considered as no land seemed to be available in Honiton.

Another blow was dealt in 2011, when land at Honiton Bottom Road was declared as a town green by Devon County Council, preventing use in part by the council for allotment gardens.

In 2013, the council would be outbid again - this time by South West Water - for surplus land.

Councillors will resolve whether to bid for land at Merryfield at an extraordinary meeting being held next Monday at the Beehive, starting at 7pm.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories


Healthy eating charity HALFF will help parents and carers prepare tasty and nutritious meals for families

Read more

The parents of a Cranbrook schoolboy who died from flu in January this year are calling on mums and dads to vaccinate their children.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Court hears how around half a kilo of heroin and cocaine were driven into East Devon

Read more
Yesterday, 15:01

Societry members see some ‘sacred cow challenging’ moments

Read more
Yesterday, 10:30

Greggs could open a new store in Honiton as early as next year, the Herald can report.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:01

Special production will celebrate the South Wessex Organ Society’s first anniversary

Read more
Thu, 17:00

A pair of care homes close to Honiton have been rated ‘good’ by the UK’s health watchdog.

Read more
Thu, 15:01

Planning gain 106 money gives local scheme a big boost

Read more
Thu, 12:01

The public will have the chance to have their say on Honiton’s high street at a meeting being held next month.

Read more
Thu, 07:01

It is also rated the top overall secondary school in the South West - Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Midweek Herald twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications