A big thank you has been sent from the B&NES Allotments Association – and the allotment holders of Bath – to the Council and in particular the staff of the Parks and Green Spaces Service, for keeping all twenty-four of its cherished community growing spaces open during the lockdown period.
Jack Wilkinson wrote to tell me: ‘Allotment holders have been able to take full advantage of the warm spring weather to get out on their plots doing their daily exercise and escaping from the sense of enclosure, giving them vital mental and physical benefits, especially for those without any gardens at all. Not only that, but the plots have benefited from the extra attention being paid to them too.
Never has there been so much springtime digging, planting and weeding. We all hope there will be a good crop to reward these efforts. There is nothing like fresh, mostly organic seasonal produce! In addition to the benefits for health and well-being, this locally grown harvest will also help contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the whole community.
Our communities are emerging from the lockdown with a greater understanding of the value of our local green spaces and will be urging more support to help us all lead a healthier and less environmentally wasteful lifestyle. The allotments, community gardens and orchards in Bath and in the parishes will have a vital part to play. The importance of green spaces, especially allotments, close to our homes has never been so apparent than in these last few weeks.
The Council has been given money specifically and only for allotments in the area through the Community Infrastructure Levy on the development of new houses. This cannot be spent on any other Council activity. With growing waiting lists now more than ever is the time to ensure the best use of this money.
Whilst allotments have been part of the English urban scene under statute for at least one hundred years, there are older historic sites in Bath. The Church Road allotments in Combe Down were set up in 1894 and have been in continuous use benefiting working families in Combe Down and Monkton Combe ever since.
Unfortunately, this site is not owned by B&NES and is currently on a very short lease, with less than 4 years now to go. There is a waiting list of over 2 years in the area, showing how keen people are to start growing! The Council is trying to get a longer lease and the Combe Down Allotments’ Users’ Group, supported by the Association, is determined to work positively with all concerned to help secure the long-term future for this much-loved site.’
For more information about the Council’s allotments visit:https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/sport-leisure-and-parks/allotments