Garden share scheme mooted as anti allotment site campaigners target council

PUBLISHED: 15:50 14 April 2009 | UPDATED: 23:22 15 June 2010

AS campaigners pressed town councillors to justify their reasons for pursuing plans to provide allotments on a controversial site in Honiton, it emerged two potential new sites for allotments have been identified.

AS campaigners pressed town councillors to justify their reasons for pursuing plans to provide allotments on a controversial site in Honiton, it emerged two potential new sites for allotments have been identified.Town and district councillor Peter Halse has come up with the possible new sites, but the town council is still backing plans for allotments in Echo Field, off Honiton Bottom Road. They say, the new sites could provide additional plots for those on a waiting list.It is not yet known if the unidentified sites will ever get the go-ahead for allotments.Local residents Mike Allen and Alan Kimbell put councillors on the spot during a public question time last week.They asked questions filling a total of two A4 pages at the council's April meeting.How has Honiton Town Council consulted on its plans? Why has the council not taken any notice of a petition against proposed allotments in Echo Field? Why aren't plans of the allotment development available? Just some of the questions.Former mayor, Councillor Vernon Whitlock answered the questions on behalf of councillors.He said public consultation was carried out at Honiton Show in 2007 and through the council's newsletter, Talk of the Town.The petition had not been ignored, he assured the campaigners. However, councillors also had to take notice of those who want allotments.Plans for the allotments were not available because an application to designate Echo Field a town green meant work could not progress until the outcome was known.MEANWHILE, local Conservative Phil Twiss thinks he has found the perfect answer to the controversy - why not let gardeners make the most of under-utilised space in existing gardens?He is mooting a garden share project for Honiton, after noticing how some garden owners could do with some help while he was out electioneering recently."The deal might be that, in return for sharing the owner's garden, you either keep the other bit of the garden tidy or share the produce that is grown," said Mr Twiss."There are a number of benefits to this scheme, particularly for the elderly and less-able who would have the added benefit of someone visiting, sharing a cup of tea and, indirectly, keeping an eye on them."Mr Twiss is concerned food could be being produced in an abandoned garden behind the Nat West bank, in Honiton. "It is currently a bit of an eyesore," he said.

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