AN initiative to turn a disused concreted area into a fertile haven for would-be gardeners is set to be launched in Sudbury.

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Council greenhouses once stood on the plot, which is part of the Newton Road allotments, but because of the hard footings the area cannot be cultivated.

There are 80 people in Sudbury on a five-year waiting list for council-owned allotments. So Sudbury in Bloom chairman Nick Irwin came up with an idea to use the wasted space and provide a solution to the veggie patch shortage.

He said: “As the area had a concrete base, we’ve been unable to use it for growing, so it was suggested we create raised beds instead.

“We have now built nine, which will be filled with top soil so they can be used as mini-allotments.”

He added: “Gardening has become quite popular again and it is a very good form of relaxation.

“However, modern planning means gardens are getting smaller and smaller so there is an increasing demand for allotments.”

Volunteers from Delphi Diesel Systems helped build the beds with concrete blocks and Mr Irwin has been at the site every morning shovelling nearly 20 tonnes of top soil into the new structures.

He eventually hopes to add a picnic area with benches, and is hoping to get wheelchair access.

According to Mr Irwin, the new beds would be ideal for growing winter salads, and they could even be turned into polytunnels.

He added: “Many people don’t realise how much hard work is involved in keeping an allotment.

“It is not just like popping out into your garden – you have to make an effort to go there and work. So the idea is that people will be able to take on one of the raised beds and have a go at growing before they commit themselves to a bigger area.”

Deputy town clerk Jacqui Howells said when the beds were ready, they would be offered to people on a waiting list for allotments until bigger ones became available.

She added: “Running an allotment can be virtually a full-time hobby so these beds will give people an introduction to gardening. People who haven’t used one before will be able to see if they take to it.”

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