Wickham Market seeks to protect Glebe Allotments from housing
Community leaders have announced plans to provide protective status to a century-old allotments site in east Suffolk in response to fears it could be developed as housing.
Wickham Market Parish Council agreed the move at its latest meeting in response to concerns raised by people living in the village about the future of the Glebe Allotments.
Parish council chairman Dick Jenkinson said “many locals” had already written to Suffolk Coastal District Council as part of the issues and options site allocation consultation, saying they did not want the Glebe Allotments to be built on.
Mr Jenkinson said that because the council was “under pressure” to deliver new housing, it was feared the allotments, which have been in use for more than 100 years, could be allocated for housing under the Local Plan.
He said the council would ask to have the allotments removed from the list of site allocations and register it as an asset of community value, which would give it protected status.
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“In essence we are trying everything we can to stop Suffolk Coastal building on the Glebe Allotments,” he added.
Parish clerk Jo Jones said the village’s allotments association had previously asked for the site to be registered as a community asset but the process had been delayed as it was feared it “may cause problems” with the Church, which owns the land.
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However, Mr Jenkinson said the Bishop of St Edmundsbury had been included in the correspondence with SCDC and was “well aware” of the views of local people who “don’t want the allotments that have been used for 100 years to be turned into houses”.
Councillor Michael Roseveare agreed that action should be taken to “reinforce our position”.
Given the need for new housing, Mr Jenkinson suggested that alternative sites may have to be provided.
The best site identified so far, he said was “to the west of Border Cot Lane, down by the telephone exchange”.
However, as the site was in the “special landscape area”, Mr Jenkinson acknowledged that it might not be appropriate and suggested a better option may be suggested if there was more time to consult.
A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said there were no plans to develop the allotment but it welcomed communities’ input on sites.
“As part of the Enabling Communities agenda we actively encourage communities to take an active role in shaping the future of development,” he added.