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Thirty year wait for an allotment

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A COUNCILLOR is launching a campaign to force Warrington Borough Council into creating more allotments after being told he could wait 30 years to get his hands on one.
Paul Jackson, who is a member of Callands Parish Council, is currently one of 335 people on the waiting list for an allotment, but with the help of just five others, he could force the borough council create additional sites.
He said: “If I can just get six people to say that they want an allotment then by law the council have to deal with it. Fair enough, you may not think that it is high on many people’s lists of important issues, but when you consider it has been law since 1908 that councils must provide allotments it seems a little unfair. They have a duty to provide them.”
Council procedure states you must specify which of the eight allotment sites administered by the authority applicants would like to receive a plot on.
When Paul did this, he was surprised at the outcome.
“I was told by the council that for my first choice plot on Victoria Park I would have to wait 10 years for it, for my second choice, 30 years and they couldn’t even calculate the amount of time I would have to wait for my third choice!”
“Where I live, in Callands, our parish has made over 1000 acres of land available for development in the last few years alone but our whole parish has not a single square foot of allotment land which seems disgraceful given the amount of people living here and the obvious demand for such places.”
Westbrook councillor David Earl has raised the issue with the council and hopes to find a resolution to the problem soon.
He said: “I did make initial enquiries with the council and found the number of people on the waiting list was nearly as large of the number of allotments. There are totally insufficient numbers of allotments.
“We are looking into ways of solving the waiting problem. There is the possibility of creating a new plot in the Callands and Westbrook area and Paul himself has suggested sending out letters every year to keep the waiting list fresh and up to date, which I think is a good idea.”
A council spokesperson said: “Over the past five years applications for allotments have risen and the council is working with allotment associations to try and accommodate the new interest.
“There are 12 allotment sites across Warrington managed by various organisations in conjunction with the council and plots only become available when owners resign their tenure, or through bereavement and illness.”
Anyone interested in supporting Paul can contact him by e-mail at allotments@lycos.co.uk
A full list of all the allotment sites in Warrington is available at www.warrington.gov.uk/Leisureandculture/Parksandopenspaces/allotments

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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