Council Remains Committed to Allotments in Morpeth

Council remains committed to Allotments

Following a recent meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee of the Town Council, the Committee unanimously reaffirmed its commitment to local allotments.

Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee Cllr David Bawn said “The Council would like to reassure residents and allotment holders that whatever the outcome of the negotiations with the Tommy’s Field Allotment Association, save for the 0.46 hectares required for the proposed roundabout, Tommy’s Field will remain allotments in perpetuity and enjoy the full statutory protection of allotments and that the occupation and rights of individual allotment holders will not be prejudiced.”

Cllr Nic Best the Mayor of Morpeth added “It is inevitable that discussions regarding an important legal document such as the proposed lease to the Allotment Association need to go through the proper legal channels and may take some time, however, with good will on both sides we are confident that a satisfactory agreement can be reached.”

In July 2017 the Department for Communities and Local Government gave consent for the release of 0.46 hectares of the land at Tommy’s Field Allotment to create a roundabout which will significantly increase the capacity at the junction at the bottom of Whorral Bank.

Creating a roundabout will improve access to the new St George’s development site the new St George’s Park Hospital, and also the NHS Primary Care Trust Health Centre who have repeatedly requested that the junction be improved due to safety concerns. The NHS Trust have also made a significant financial contribution towards the upgrade of this junction as part of the a S106 agreement when the Health Centre was approved.

Morpeth Town Council regrets the loss of any community facility as we are fully committed to developing and improving services, however we support the creation of a new roundabout at this location as we feel that it is essential for the safety and continued growth of the whole town.

The statutory protection of allotments requires that new allotments should be provided in place of any allotment land lost. In this case, the developer, Galliford Try, is creating 24 new allotments at East Riding which will be given to the Town Council to compensate for the loss of the 0.46ha from Tommy’s Field. Without this scheme there are no other proposals to increase allotment provision.

The Council became aware of problems with the validity of the current management agreement with Tommy’s Field Allotment Association in July 2017. Negotiations are currently ongoing with the Association with regards to the management of the allotment site.

The Council would like to make clear that these negotiations have no bearing on the individual allotment holders at Tommy’s Field other than those who are directly affected by the loss of the 0.46ha. The Council remain fully committed to ensuring that the remaining allotments which are all safeguarded by statutory status continue to be cultivated and enjoyed by the people of Morpeth long into the future.