Allotments joy

RUNDOWN: The Westfield Road site before new fencing was installed.
RUNDOWN: The Westfield Road site before new fencing was installed.

ALLOTMENTS in Heckmondwike have had a facelift as part of a £1m Kirklees Council programme.

The site in Westfield Road has been given new metal fencing to replace the old and broken wooden ones and improve security.

UPGRADED: The new fencing at the Westfield Road allotments site.

UPGRADED: The new fencing at the Westfield Road allotments site.

The council has also had a shake up of how sites are managed, switching from individual secretaries to a centralised computer system, to keep up-to-date details of let and vacant plots, and all 100 allotment sites in Kirklees will be regularly inspected to make sure they are being properly used.

Julian Faulkner, Kirklees allotment officer, said: “We now have over 1,940 workable plots across Kirklees. We had over 200 plots that we couldn’t let because of their condition, being badly overgrown or covered in dumped materials.”

In other areas, a new allotment site has been created, derelict areas have been improved and others brought back into use.

Mr Faulkner will visit sites on a six week rota. Any plot found to be uncultivated will be given 28 days to start work on it or risk losing it.

There will also be stricter control over what is allowed on site.

The improvement programme and government and NHS healthy eating programmes had increased interest in running allotments, with more families and young people taking them up, he said.

He said it was hoped training courses could be started to help people learn about managing a plot.

He added: “There is a wealth of knowledge among the older plotholders and they are always willing to pass on tips.”