One of the facilities that a thriving village needs, and that is currently absent from Halton, is an area of land given over to allotments for use by the community. This is especially relevant now as the demand for allotments will likely increase in the Parish due to the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) inclusion of 1,000 homes (many of which being apartments without gardens), and concurrently an increasing societal awareness of personal well-being, environmental issues, and climate change. Furthermore, Parish Councils have a legal obligation, under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, to investigate the provision of land when certain criteria are triggered.
The RAF Halton site disposal by 2025 provides an opportunity for them to put this right. In 2017 the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) was made aware of our Allotments Initiative, and in March 2019 they requested that we set out the case for them appropriating land to the Parish Council for Allotment use.
The submission to the DIO can be found here. In summary it highlights:
- The legal/statutory responsibility to provide allotments
- The land area calculated to be circa 1 hectare (2.5 acres)
- Two possible locations within the parish, acknowledging this remains uncertain in the absence a Development Masterplan (required by the VALP)
- A need to acquire allotments early in the disposal process
We have now received feedback from the DIO which requests we review our suggested locations to take account of some further criteria (including being within a 10-minute walking distance of the current and future parish dwellings). We have also had feedback from some Halton residents who believe the locations to be sub-optimal.
The next steps for the Parish Council will be to obtain a full set of locational criteria from the DIO and to set up an Allotments Working Group which will be remitted to undertake an objective appraisal of all potential allotment locations by the end of this calendar year. This will enable a revised DIO Allotments Submission. If you would like to be involved in the Allotments Working Group, then please contact the Parish Clerk to register your interest.