April 11, 2022 8.00 pm

Campaigners fighting plans to develop allotment land to hold open day

Developers say new village centre will help meet future needs

Campaigners fighting plans to build a shop, community centre and plant “growing centre” on a number of Long Leys allotments in Lincoln are holding a public open day next week.

Long Leys Residents Association (LLRA) wants to use an acre of land off Long Leys road to create a “village centre” development which it believes will address some of the community’s needs for the next 20 to 40 years.

The project would be built using the government’s new Community Right to Build legislation – the first in the city to do so.

However, the project’s use of up to 10 plots has sparked objection from the Long Leys Allotment Holders who said there had been a lack of consultation so far and raised concerns over a loss of space, wildlife habitat and years of devoted work cultivating their land.

They plan to hold the open day on Easter Monday (April 18) from 11am to 3pm.

Nick Wiles, who rents two allotments, one of which would disappear as a result of the plans, said: “These plans have devastated and infuriated allotment holders on Long Leys Road, where  allotments have been cultivated for 100 years.

“Under this plan one of my allotments and all my fruit trees would be taken, so I’m particularly affected, but as far as I know most on the site are opposed to the project.”

He said there would be months or years of disruption, noise and pollution caused by the building work. 

Mr Wiles said there were mental health benefits from allotments which had been emphasised by the pandemic. He said COVID-19 had resulted in a surge of interest and a waiting list for plots.

The day will also raise money for Dementia UK, inspired by a plot holders affected by the early stages of dementia. 

The 10 affected allotments take up 4.5% of the 223 existing plots at Long Leys Road and the proposed building site takes up one of the 22 acres of land.

Jon Davies, secretary for the LLRA, said the project had “huge support” from Long Leys residents and said it had included mitigation for those affected.

They included offering alternative plots to affected holders, preserving mature trees, assistance to relocate mature bushes, scrubs and temporary buildings and access to toilet facilities.

He said the majority of allotment tenants come from outside the Long Leys area, with around 20 coming from outside the city entirely.

LLRA welcomed feedback, and said the views of allotment holders were easily accessible from the North Lincolnshire Horticultural Society.

He added: ” LLRA would welcome the formation of a properly constituted allotment association at the Long Leys Road allotments, provided it is organised to reflect the views of all tenants on the site rather than just those wanting to oppose the project.”

He said it was not the case that the development would set precedent for other allotment sites.

“LLRA has previously expressed the view that the condition of many of the allotment plots across Lincoln has declined during the pandemic for understandable reasons and any focus on encouraging new growers is to be welcomed.

“Sadly, there is poor allotment provision in many wards in Lincoln.

“LLRA is in dialogue with Lincolnshire Food Partnership to include a variety of elements (such as healthy eating initiatives and community supported agriculture) within the overall village centre project and would suggest that there is the opportunity to boost poor allotment provision in Birchwood and Hartsholme wards as part of the city council’s Western Growth Corridor development. ”

For more information on the campaign email [email protected] or visit the Facebook group Save Our  Allotments – Long Leys Road, Lincoln.

For details on the project itself click here.