Allotments - demand high due tocost of food

PUBLISHED: 16:42 11 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:28 10 June 2010

MONDAY, AUGUST 11: RECORD numbers of Exmothians are growing their own food as the credit crunch bites, says the chairman of the Exmouth and District Allotment association. After years of neglect, allotments have seen a major resurgence in popularity, says John Patrick. Mr

RECORD numbers of Exmothians are growing their own food as the credit crunch bites, says the chairman of the Exmouth and District Allotment association.After years of neglect, allotments have seen a major resurgence in popularity, says John Patrick. Mr Patrick, 75, says that the two town-council administered sites at Hamilton Lane and Pound Lane have nearly 390 plots - and a record three to four year waiting list, as an unprecedented 70 people are waiting to grow their own food. He said: "It's gone absolutely mad. It's the price of food."All types of people want one - men, women, those on low incomes, middle class people who have just moved to the area and have an interest in organic food." He said crops included salad greens, carrots and potatoes: "One plot holder even wanted to keep pigs. But we didn't allow that. They would have eaten and wrecked everybody else's crops."The association is the second largest in the country, second only to Birmingham, and the number of plots has increased from around 350 in just a few years as they have tried to keep pace by splicing some in half.But he said they may have to go further: "There aren't enough to go round. Our plots are an average 10 rods in size (16 feet square). Birmingham's are only about six rods."He urged: "If people aren't using their allotments, they should give them up."Member of the allotments sub-committee on the Town Council, Cllr Jean Mitchell, said: "We just don't have anywhere to put more plots. "We do not have any spare land that hasn't already been earmarked and Exmouth is built up to the boundaries. "If some land were to become available of course we would support more."Cllr Richard Turner, also on the sub-committee, has been campaigning for EDDC to allow a 40ft long strip near the King George V playing field, to be turned into allotments.But the former railway sidings are part of the Exmouth Local Nature Reserve. A spokesman added: "EDDC is not responsible for the management of allotments in Exmouth; these are the responsibility of Exmouth Town Council. We would be happy to enter discussions with Exmouth Town Council about an increased provision of allotments in the town, recognising that land availability and cost will be major factors in any decision taken.

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