More allotments to be created in Scarborough after post-lockdown surge in demand to grow food sees waiting list rise to 200

Scarborough councillors have backed calls for more allotment space to be created in the town in order to deal with a waiting list that has shot up during the pandemic.

Sandybed allotments, Scarborough

The borough council’s Places and Homes Overview and Scrutiny Committee today agreed to set up a task group to examine how and where new plots could be provided as more than 200 people are currently waiting for a site to come free.

The borough council currently operates allotment sites at Woodlands and Quarry Mount and both are full with between 150-250 on the list for one of the 97 available plots.

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At the meeting, councillors heard that Scarborough Council is only responsible for provision in the town of Scarborough as it does not have a parish or town authority.

Allotment provision in the town was last looked at 10 years ago when a report went before the then council’s cabinet calling for more plots to be created but cabinet decided against supporting the proposal, the committee were told.

Coun Bill Chatt said that more plots, particularly for the growing of food, needed to be provided.

He said: “I would like to see the provision for people to grow crops increase, I wouldn’t necessarily like to see more for pigeons and fowls because I think that they are well catered for at the moment, but I may be wrong.

“But I do think the idea of people being out there growing their own cabbages and whatever is a fantastic idea.

“Last year, during the lockdown, I made my own jams out of fruit from my own garden, which is absolutely fantastic.

“I really loved it and it kept me busy for quite a while.”

Committee chairman Coun David Jeffels said that it would be good for people’s physical and mental health to spend more time outdoors.

He added: “I think the benefit to mental health is particularly important in considering the provision of more allotments as it helps to give people a real purpose in life and gets them out into the fresh air, meeting other gardeners and chatting.”

The cost of an allotment is £52 a year and a task and finish group will now be created to look at allotment provision.