Council extends allotment subsidy scheme to Almondsbury

Proprietor Oakleigh Wood pictured on a plot at Hortham Farm Allotments.A new opportunity has arisen for Bradley Stoke residents to rent an allotment – and the Town Council says it is prepared to subsidise the cost by up to £40.

With no current allotment provision in Bradley Stoke, residents have traditionally taken allotments in neighbouring areas such as Patchway or Stoke Gifford. However, both of these areas now have a policy of giving priority to their own residents when assigning available plots.

In 2008, Patchway allotments introduced a policy of charging a higher rent to non-residents, which prompted Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC) to offer to refund the ‘uplift’ for Bradley Stoke residents.

BSTC has been looking for potential allotment land of its own since it received a petition from a group of local electors in 2008, which it was obliged to consider under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908.

However, an advertisement placed in the Western Daily Press in 2010 failed to attract any approaches from local landowners.

A potential solution to the problem has now arisen with the opening of a commercially-run allotment site at Hortham Farm in Almondsbury [map], where 30 new plots were released in March.

The first ‘allotmenteers’, including some from Bradley Stoke, have already benefited from their harvest and proprietor Oakleigh Wood says he is keen to find tenants for the remaining handful of vacant plots.

Mr Wood told The Journal:

“Allotments are not just for older guys with flat caps. Hortham Farm allotment holders include parents, children, grandparents, singles and young couples. I’ve seen toddlers digging holes and making mud pies (great fun), whilst older children have been spied leaving their e-games to eat berries straight off the bush.”

BSTC’s Finance Committee agreed last week that the ‘uplift’ refund of £40 currently offered to Bradley Stoke residents who rent a plot at Patchway’s Pretoria Road site would also be offered to “any Bradley Stoke resident who pays for a recognised allotment plot in any surrounding area within a five mile radius of Bradley Stoke”, which means it is applicable to the Hortham Farm site.

Photo: Proprietor Oakleigh Wood at the Hortham Farm allotments.

The nearby Almondsbury Garden Centre also rents an allotment at Hortham Farm and has decided to sponsor a second allotment for a local community group. Richard Truscott of Almondsbury Garden Centre said:

“The allotments are a great opportunity for anyone to get outdoors and learn new skills. There is simply nothing better than growing your own fruit and vegetables. Whether it be your first potato, carrot or onion, there is a real sense of achievement and pride when you are all tucking in and enjoying the fruits of your labour!”

For more information, visit the Hortham Farm Allotments webpage or contact Mr Wood on 01454 612451.

Pretoria Road allotments, Patchway, Bristol.

Photo: Pretoria Road Allotments in Patchway. Charges at this site form the basis of Bradley Stoke Town Council’s residents’ refund policy. [Photo: © Patchway Journal]

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