WBC meets growing demand
For the first time in over 25 years, Woking Borough Council (WBC) is developing a new, fully equipped large allotment site to cope with
increasing demand for plots.
To be situated in the north of the borough at Carthouse Lane, and known as Littlewicks, it will join with the existing, heavily oversubscribed Horsell site. Planned with 76 standard five rod plots, it has been carefully laid out so that some of the plots could be divided in half to meet the needs of those who want to either start small or do not feel the need for a large plot. Equipped with a site hut, electricity, toilets, car parking and bicycle racks, it aims to cater for all.
This has come about following a remark I made to local Councillor, Ann-Marie Barker regarding allotment provision in 2008. She tabled a series of questions which resulted in Geoff Ward (Cultural and Community Development Manager of the Council) compiling a detailed questionnaire which was sent to all existing allotment holders and those on the waiting lists of the eight sites in the local area. In fairness, Councillor Barker was pushing at a partly open door as it had long been recognised that more provision was needed.
Most of the sites were full, with waiting lists. Indeed, Horsell had already closed its list at 60 applicants, which meant at least a five-year wait for a plot. The questionnaire yielded interesting results, such as time spent on the plot, distance travelled and distance willing to travel.
However, in a need to establish more starter industrial units to boost the local economy, other parts of the Council were looking for land. A suggestion was made that the existing site in Bullbeggars Lane be moved to a new site at Carthouse Lane and its land be redeveloped for light industrial use. Vociferous local opposition, supported by councillors, coincided with the publication of the questionnaire results, which clearly endorsed the need for an extra site.
In a brilliant piece of lateral thinking by WBC, a solution was found whereby a realignment of the boundary of the existing Horsell site, combined with a redrawn Carthouse Lane adding six adjacent light industrial starter units, meant that all aims could be met.
Development of the starter units has commenced and there have been several expressions of interest. If all goes to plan, the new Littlewicks allotment site should open in April. It will be run as self-managed by the existing committee at Horsell, with representatives (volunteered or arm-twisted as required) from Littlewicks. Plots will be allocated first to those on the existing waiting lists of Horsell and the next nearest sites of Knaphill and Brookwood. Any remaining vacancies will then be opened up across Woking.
David Inns Chairman, Horsell Allotment Association, horsellalots.wordpress.com
Littlewicks Allotment Site: David Inns 07732503313 firstname.lastname@example.org
Littlewicks Starter Units: Richard Newsam or David Gawne, Curchod & Co 01932 823610 email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org