Council land made available for allotments

Gardeners may soon be able to grow fruit and vegetables on council-owned land around Belper.

And a £200,000 fund has also been launched to buy private land and turn that into allotments to meet a national shortage.

The two moves were backed by members of Belper Town Council at their December meeting. They agreed to write to Derbyshire County Council to see if it has suitable sites.

Town council leader John Nelson said:”I have been trying for the last couple of years to secure land in Belper without success.

“At the moment, I am negotiating for a possible piece of land for the use of Belper residents but it takes time to come to fruition.

“Lots of people are asking for allotments and it’s something we have got do so somehow,” he told the meeting.

Members received a letter from the county council’s principal asset management officer Stephen Walters, who gave details of the £200,000 scheme to help buy plots of land.

“Our grants may also be available to help local groups set up their allotments on county council owned land,” he wrote.

“The letter urged people to get in touch if they could identify a site owned by the council.

Cllr Alan Cox warned landowners against trying to make an excessive profit and said:”It is not ‘buy at any price.’ It would be a very reasonable price we would pay.”

Cllr Debbie Biss said former allotments were being advertised as a development site, although it had no planning permission for a new use.

Cllr Nelson said he had made enquiries about that for allotments again and was told the asking price was £1.2million.