brookfield allotment - pic by Espresso Addict, creative commons

Gardeners in Stapeley can now apply for allotments after a deal was struck between their parish council and Nantwich Town Council.

The two authorities have come to a financial agreement so Stapeley residents can now apply for allotments in Nantwich town boundary.

Stapeley currently does not have an allotment site but has a growing population with hundreds of new homes built in the parish over the last two decades.

Many new residents are keen gardeners and have been calling for the provision of allotments in the parish.

Nantwich Town Council took over responsibility for allotments from Cheshire East Council in 2012, and since then Stapeley Council has been working to create its own allotments site.

Now the parish council has agreed to pay £1,000 a year to allow its residents to apply for Nantwich sites.

Stapeley and District Parish Council Chairman Matthew Theobald said the parish was suffering from severe growing pains.

He added: “Things are changing fast for Stapeley and we have been caught in a trap.

“New housing growth has pumped up the population and the enthusiasm for allotments, but our investigations into buying an allotment site has been frustrated.

“This has put us in an impossible position.

“But now we have achieved a compromise to enable our residents to take up empty plots over the border.

“It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Stapeley resident and Brookfield allotmenteer Martin Bale took up his plot in Nantwich before the change in regulations in 2012.

Martin said: “The natural geography of the parish boundaries has been wiped out by new housing.

“Now many residents in Stapeley’s Cronkinson’s Farm estate are closer to Brookfields than most Nantwich residents but haven’t been able to cross the border.”

Nantwich Town Councillor Peter Groves said: “This is one of those situations where we all wanted a solution – but both councils have a duty to their tax payers to ensure that we are spending scarce public funds carefully.

“I am delighted we have all been able to work together to get people back on the land.”

Other parishes surrounding the town also face a similar situation.

Martin and the Brookfield Allotment Association are calling for change at a national level.

He added: “Allotment management and funding in the UK is a total mess.

“Allotments provide major health and welfare benefits for society.

“They help people stay fit, eat well and keep happy. They build community resilience.

“They cut costs to the NHS and improve the environment too.

“But funding for allotments is constantly slashed, sites are under pressure from housing growth, and councils are struggling to deliver basic services on all fronts.

“We need a rethink on allotments at a national level. Growing food is essential to all our lives. We need to get connected again.”

(brookfield allotment – pic by Espresso Addict, creative commons)

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