COME ALONG: An open day at Gainford allotments could be held in the summer
COME ALONG: An open day at Gainford allotments could be held in the summer

THE skills of allotment holders in a dale village could be showcased to the wider public if an idea for a summer open day takes root.
Plans for an open allotments event at the plots in Gainford came up during a general discussion about the area at the village’s January parish council meeting.
Resident Louise Westmarland said although there had been “quite a lot of negative things” reported about the allotments, good things were happening.
“I was one of the original members when the plots were measured out. This year has been about the best year.”
Ms Westmarland said due to Covid-19, people had spent a lot more time at the allotments and there had been a community atmosphere, with other people having a walk around the plots to see what was going on.
“It’s been nice that people looking for somewhere to walk have been saying hello.”
However, dog walkers not picking up after their pets had been a negative point, she added. “It would be nice for the summer to have something to look forward to. We said we would have a summer event to involve people in.”
Cllr Richard Roff said he liked the idea of an open allotments-type event, while chairwoman Cllr Lisa Johnstone said she was pleased to hear Ms Westmarland’s positive comments.
The allotments, which are situated on land next to the former St Peter’s School site, were set up about a decade ago.
The parish council took over management for the 40-plus plots early last year after the allotments committee folded, introducing an online payment system for rents.
Ms Westmarland asked what arrangements the council had in place for those unable to pay online.
Parish clerk Martin Clark confirmed that all rents had been collected satisfactorily using the new system.
Ms Westmarland also asked if anyone had any ideas on how to improve communications both between the allotment holders and with the wider village.
“I don’t know who is running the allotments at the moment. Could we talk about some sort of communications system that is not on Facebook?”
Cllr Johnstone said communications with allotment holders had been discussed at a meeting late last year.
“The option of having a noticeboard was discussed and something we were in favour of,” she said. However, Ms Westmarland cautioned: “But would it not get vandalised? And if we were to have an event, how would we let people know?”
Cllr Roff added: “I was as concerned as you about how long a noticeboard might last. The Parish News is as good a vehicle to get to everybody.”
The possibility of a summer event or open allotments day will be discussed at a future meeting.