Demand grows for gardens at Barnard Castle allotment sites
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
GROWING demand for allotments in Barnard Castle has town councillors wondering if they need to create more plots.
The town council’s services committee heard that more applications had been received since members met in December and the waiting list now stood at 32.
Of these, 23 were from people living within the parish and nine were from out of town.
Town clerk Martin Clark told the committee that the rise might be attributed to people wanting “to grow things and do things” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Committee chairwoman Cllr Kelly Blissett agreed pointing out that the waiting list is now longer than it had been in many years.
This spurred Cllr Laura Drew to ask what could be done to accommodate more people.
She said: “At what point does that mean that we need to find new allotment space?
“It is just because that waiting list is now quite large, I just wondered if there is any obligation on us.”
Mr Clark said he would research the rules governing allotments but believed there may only be an obligation if someone specifically asks for more plots.
He said: “If we were asked to supply more allotments, the difficulty would be where and how much. No one has actually asked yet.”
Cllr Drew responded: “To be honest I think it is about how long you are on the waiting list, not how long the list is. We had an allotment down south and I think we had to wait about 18 months.”
Mr Clark said the town’s allotments had been quite well managed in the past and random inspections continue to be conducted.
He said: “With allotments you find that often people don’t give them up.
“This council is very good at keeping an eye on who is working them and who is not working them, because obviously it is not fair if someone is not working theirs and they are just keeping hold of it.
“Then we go through the process, but that process of removing someone is a lengthy process.”
The council agreed to postpone considering its improvement programme for the allotments until Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.