As well as enabling people to grow
nutritious food, allotments improve the fitness of allotment holders and
develop a sense of community. Community gardens provide budding
horticulturalists and other residents the opportunity to beautify our towns and
villages and provide places to relax. Uttlesford Labour wants to expand
allotment provision and provide support for the development of community
Residents working on allotments and community gardens get to mix with people of different ages, with very different social backgrounds. Sharing advice and guidance and just getting to know each other means they play an important role in tackling isolation and loneliness. This can provide the foundation for other communal activities such as parties and outings.
Allotments also play an important role in healthy living. Just 30 minutes of gardening can burn around 150 calories. This is the same as a work out in the gym or aerobics, but outside, in the fresh air.
Allotments and community gardens serve the district by looking attractive and appealing. They can also provide habitats for all forms of wildlife. By cultivating and planting an allotment, gardeners help keep biodiversity levels up, protecting the ecosystem, and improving crop yields.
We want all residents in the district to have the opportunity to have an allotment and participate in community gardens.
Uttlesford Labour is fully committed to increasing the number of allotments to meet demand and support the creation of community gardens, if groups emerge. Allotments owned and managed by UDC and various parish councils have waiting lists that are often larger than the number of plots. Applicants can wait for years to get an allotment, indicating there is strong demand for more. The existing waiting lists coupled with high population growth justify the doubling or more of allotment provision over the next decade.
Uttlesford Labour also seeks to establish community gardens in the spirit of Saffron Walden’s 19th century Quaker benefactors the Gibson family who created Bridge End Gardens, the ornamental gardens and maze that the town’s residents have enjoyed for well over a century. We will work with any community groups that put forward proposals that demonstrate they can turn derelict land into a public amenity.
Allotments and community gardens should be a central aspect of the design of the new garden communities as well as funded by contributions from developments elsewhere in the district and UDC funding.