Allotment issue to be addressed

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Crawley Borough Council is to look into the way allotments are allocated and maintained in an attempt to improve the service.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the full council by Cllr Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges).

Cllr Burgess said concerns had been raised by allotment users in Gales Drive who felt it was taking too long to give plots to new growers and not enough was being done to stop unused plots from growing wild.

Cllr Chris Mullins, cabinet member for leisure and culture, acknowledged Cllr Burgess’ points and highlighted a spate of vandalism at allotments, particularly in the Gossops Green area.

Regarding the allotment service, he said: “It’s something we are actively looking at. We do feel there are organisational changes needed to the way allotments are run.”

Cllr Mullins said he planned to invite all allotment holders to a meeting in the new year to discuss how the service offered by the council could be improved.

He also raised the idea of forming an allotment society for the town.

He added: “Allotments are an absolutely vital part of our society.

“People who are growing vegetables are doing a lot of good for themselves and their families by growing healthy food.”

Cllr Burgess also asked what could be done to help growers who found themselves with a surplus of harvest and wanted to use them for the good of the town – such as giving them to Crawley Open House.

Cllr Mullins pointed out the rules prohibited allotment users from selling their produce; but he welcomed the idea of a system being set up to distribute surplus goods.

Cllr Burgess asked for the points raised to be put before a review of the allotments service, which will be held in January.