The allotment regeneration project in Buxted is now complete providing better facilities for existing allotment holders. Over 20 families are now growing their own vegetables and fruit. For many years the allotments were mostly the domain of a small core of dedicated enthusiastic growers digging away, coping with one stand pipe and fighting off wildlife eager for easy pickings. But the allotment waiting list grew substantially last year so the Parish Council decided to take back the land for the community.
Following consultation with existing allotment holders and those on the waiting list, the Parish Council decided to regenerate the site, to satisfy its legal obligations to provide allotments for villagers and to meet the aspirations of allotment holders to create a vibrant site. After much deliberation and consideration of several quotes for various works on the land, the council agreed to fund improvements to water access and security for the site.
Following two rounds of tendering, three fencing contractors provided quotes. Although not the cheapest, the contractor was chosen for experience and reputation. Stock fencing plus deer and security fencing to two metres and rabbit-proof fencing are being installed around the perimeter of the site with locking vehicular and pedestrian gates along the front. This will hopefully deter wildlife from munching through crops and any petty thieving.
New water standpipes have also been put in throughout the site to make it easier for allotment holders to water their plants. The Parish Council has been very conscious of the funds required to carry out the improvements to the site and that it has a duty to ensure ‘best practice’ when spending public money. The work will, it is hoped, help make the site more manageable and useable for the benefit of local residents. In addition to Parish Council funding, we received a contribution from Wealden District Council under their ‘Cleaner, Greener, Brighter’ policy.
Allotment holders will, for the first time, be able to put up their own sheds, which is what the majority have said they want. The size, design, placement and materials used for sheds will need to be agreed before placement and allotment holders will take responsibility for the security of their own shed and its contents. Chickens and bees will also be permitted with written agreement. We hope, as with other schemes across the country, the Buxted scheme becomes a vibrant and important part of the Parish community.
Eight young pigs also moved in last year and another 11 this year. The pilot was successful last year and is continuing this year and is reviewed annually. The pigs are owned by a small syndicate of local residents who installed, at their own cost, the necessary fencing and are wholly responsible for their feeding and welfare for their six month stay on the land. See Community section for more on the pig syndicate.
There is a growing interest in opening up even more allotments. We are monitoring the scheme to assess interest and vibrancy. The council will then review its duty to provide sites in the Parish to meet demand. If needed, there are two further options – making more land available land at the Buxted site or opening up allotment land in High Hurstwood, currently let on a short term lease as a pony paddock.
If you would like to add your name to the waiting list, contact the Clerk, Malcolm Wilson.