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Stalemate after crunch Wellesbourne allotments meeting

Allotment holders are determined to carry on growing on the present site in Wellesbourne. Photo: Mark Williamson
Allotment holders are determined to carry on growing on the present site in Wellesbourne. Photo: Mark Williamson

THE future of Wellesbourne's allotments remains hanging in the balance after a meeting this week of the Glebe Committee, which is responsible for the management of the land owned by the Coventry Diocese.

A campaign was launched last year to save the allotment site on Kineton Road following surprise moves by the diocese to sell it off for housing.

But following Tuesday's meeting of the Glebe Committee in which a final decision was expected, it appears that the matter is no closer to being resolved.

The diocese said all the issues raised by the parties involved in the possible disposal of the diocese’s land had been considered and that the committee agreed to continue to look at ways to address the allotment holders' concerns.

The statement from the diocese added: “One possible option may involve the allotment association remaining, with increased security, on a single site which would include the majority of their existing site.

"This and other possible options will be explored further with representatives of the allotment association in the coming weeks.”

Sharon Underhill, a member of the association's committee, said: “The only reason they’re prepared to compromise like that is because of the public pressure and the damage to the reputation of the church.”

The row has raged since last summer when the Diocese of Coventry announced it was looking at ways to raise cash at various locations around Warwickshire, including the allotments site in Wellesbourne.

Ms Underhill said it appears the diocese may now only a small part of the allotments to build an access road to the rest of the land surrounding the allotments.

She added: “If they keep the majority of us there and move some of us it would just be a stay of execution. Once we’re surrounded houses their phase two would be to build on our allotments.

“They can’t just give us a piece of land and say 'there you go'. The reason why we do not want to relocate is number one they cannot give us the type of soil we have at the moment.

"They cannot replace fruit trees, fruit bushes, asparagus beds all these plants that take decades to mature. Secondly, a lot of the people cannot physically recreate their allotments again.

“They have always offered us relocation. The issue is the land people have been working on the allotments site there for over 180 years. We also argue it’s not theirs to sell.”

For more on this story see next week's Herald.

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