Walsall could be set for an allotments revolution

A celebrity chef and keen gardeners could spark an allotment revolution in Walsall, as council bosses praised the impact of the pastime.

The entrance to Borneo Street allotments in Walsall. Photo: Google Street View
The entrance to Borneo Street allotments in Walsall. Photo: Google Street View

Members of Walsall Council’s scrutiny committee were told how an audit is taking place looking into the security of facilities across the borough with an intention to put more money into allotments.

A meeting on Tuesday heard how Borneo Street allotments and others around the borough had helped relieve stress and got people active, especially during the coronavirus lockdown.

And council leader Mike Bird cited food campaigner Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s hugely successful Landshare scheme, that gave people without access to gardens the chance to grow their own vegetables, as an example of the impact they have on communities.

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He said: “We are now doing an audit of all the allotments to make sure they are secure because they do suffer from theft, mainly of machinery or materials owned by individual plot holders.

“It will then be my intention to put money into the allotment movement to across the borough to enable it to be expanded.

“I am also looking for other growing land as there is a lot that is vacant.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, many years ago, provided a facility where people could go and grow their own vegetables in little plots of land and the local community could then take free of charge.

“I thought that was a great idea and it caught on.”

Councillor Oliver Butler, portfolio holder for clean and green, added: “I’ve been to Borneo Street to meet the group there and they do terrific work with all members of the community.

“We will definitely support this in future, looking to expand allotments and seeing what funds we can provide to support them.”

And Walsall Labour group leader Aftab Nawaz said: “The group in the Butts do a wonderful job and have done a lot of hard work to reach out to people in the community, encouraging people to get out and get active.”

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