Update: 2nd May 2010

I have been heartened to write an update to the allotments campaign page having received a comprehensive and useful reply to my e-mail to  John Matthissen, mid Suffolk councillor and Green Party councillor for Stowmarket and District.

Dear Karl

Thanks for getting in touch about your problem with allotments. There has been another upsurge in demand over the last couple of years and for many years most plots have been well subscribed. I raised this issue at Mid Suffolk about a year ago and a paper to committee was duly produced extolling the virtues of allotments and pointing out that provision was a responsibility of Town and Parish Councils, not the District Council. After some pressure a letter did go out to all Parish and Town Councils setting out what help Mid Suffolk could provide, and confirming that when new development takes place Developer contributions (known as Section 106 money) could be used to provide new allotments.
Of course, Cedars Park was planned and largely built long before this, and finding space now will be difficult as the Developer has permission to build houses almost everywhere north of the spine road [Note: I assume that he means Gun Cotton way here]. The land to the south is designated for employment purposes but as you say remains undeveloped,  presumably because the owners hope to one day gain permission for houses which would be more lucrative. The Council, with Green Party support, is resisting this change and there has been a recent policy shift to designate further land east of the A1120 for employment purposes, calling the future of the Cedars Park land somewhat into question. No doubt allotment use would be resisted by the landowners, but it is worth a try and I will explore the possibility.  There will be various “green space uses” E of the A1120 so I will also try to get some allotment land allocated there.
If you are prepared to travel a little I do know that Buxhall Parish, in my Ward, has a very large allotment site which has plenty of space at present. I can get you some details if this is of interest.
In the longer term further development in Stowmarket should include new allotment sites funded through Section 106 to the north, south and west of the town but this is inevitably several years away.
Regretfully, housing land values are such that allotments would have to be rented at £1000 plus a year to make them economic for the land owner.  Forming an association to maintain pressure on the Town Council and seek possible agricultural land near Cedars Park is an excellent idea which the Green Party would be happy to support, and I can also put you in touch with Karen Kenny who is the regional ‘allotments queen’ and has good links with the media.

So as you can see he is keen to support us in the ongoing “more allotments for Stowmarket” campaign and has come up with some additional ideas.  Thanks very much John, your support is appreciated!   I think the next step is to form an association and get ourselves known to Stowmarket Town Council.  Please let me know if you are interested by leaving a comments in the form at the bottom of this page – please include an e-mail address so I can contact you.

Update: 19th April 2010

Today I took the opportunity to look around the Combs ford allotment.  My main aim was to identify any possible redundant plots or spot any peripheral areas which could be brought into use.  I did see one area where a whole load of waste branches and wood had been dumped.  I briefly thought that a team of people with a chainsaw and a bark chipper and half a day to spare could clear the land and possibly make it available.  I guess I need to approach Richard Maize who is the allotment keeper and see if he would be amenable to the idea.  I found out from one of the allotment holders that he can be found on site at about 9 o’clock in the morning near his plot.  I did notice one plot in the middle near the road which appeared to be fallow.  So I will be making enquiries about that one.   On a final note I saw that there is a belt of land between Co-op solar and the allotment, albeit somewhat covered in trees.  Another possible avenue for exploration?

Update: 12th April 2010

I went to see the person who manages the allotment list at Stowmarket town council today, Sarah Page.  I found out several things, most of them not particularly encouraging.

Firstly the council have been trying to get a new site for an allotment for quite some time.  The problem with the Cedars park area is that most available land, e.g. that between the newly named “Gun cotton way” formerly known as the Cedars link road and the railway has been zoned for development or employment land. See the Stowmarket master plan for more details (see page 6 for the planned land use).  Unfortunately this seems to mean that the land is not available for anything other than commercial buildings.  This is ironic as that land has lain completely idle since I moved to Stowmarket in 2000.  Sarah also mentioned that most of the farmers in local area have been approached.  I guess that the farmers would get a better price selling land to a developer than for an allotment.

Secondly, as far as the town council managed allotments are concerned there is a very small ray of hope.  There are approximately 40 names on the waiting list.  There are 54 plots between the two sites: Hospital fields by the A14 next to the entrance to Chilton road and Cemetery fields site by the new cemetery in Violet Hill road.  About 1 or 2 people a year give up their plots. I’m second from bottom on the list, so that’s about a 20 year wait for an allotment then!  There is also the possibility of people being unable to manage a whole plot and so half plots being doled out to the next name on the list.  I hopefully enquired about any peripheral plots being available – i.e. taking a bit of waste land on the edge of the site and bringing it into use, but it appears that the sites are totally full.

If anyone knows a landowner that would be willing to give over some land for an allotment, please leave me a comment at the bottom of this page!

Update: 7th April 2010

I’ve managed to get in touch with the Combs ford allotment “keeper” and found he has also got a waiting list.

I’ve found in the small holdings and allotments act 1908 an extract which says:

“On a representation in writing to the council of any borough, urban district, or parish, by any six registered parliamentary electors or[F2persons who are liable to pay an amount in respect of council tax] resident in the borough, urban district, or parish, that the circumstances of the borough, urban district, or parish are such that it is the duty of the council to take proceedings under this Part of this Act therein, the council shall take such representation into consideration.”

So far four people from the Stowupland allotment waiting list have got in touch with me via the parish council clerk. So only two more to go. Well just one if you include me. However – the more the merrier – the bigger the list the more likely the town council are to take us seriously.

My next step is to find out who looks after the Cedar’s park notice boards and get a flyer on there to see if it generates some more names.

Update: 16th February 2010

I am currently looking for an allotment in the Stowmarket area.

So far I have only managed to get onto the Town Council waiting list, which means 2 -3 years of waiting.

I have also found that there are 14 people on the waiting list for an allotment at Stowupland.

I’ve got myself on the waiting list for the Newton road allotment, but  forgot to ask how long the list was!

If anyone knows a contact for the Combs Ford allotment I would be very grateful.  Please just add a comment to this post.

Apart from that, my only hope is to get enough people together to lobby the Town council to create some  more allotments.


3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Allotment update « Tanuki  |  April 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    […] Allotment […]

  • 2. Caroline Knights  |  April 18, 2010 at 7:03 am

    We live on Cedars Park and we are also desperate for an allotment, preferably in Stowupland. We are happy to be added to your list.
    It seems a shame that the waiting list is so long. I wish that people who do not maintain their allotments would give them up! Perhaps the council should check the ones that are not maintained and contacted the holders. If this is not possible then perhaps we should carry out a private survey?

  • 3. malene godson  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Hi there,
    Very interested in finding out about the Buxhall allotments. Grateful for any contact details.


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