HUNDREDS of green-fingered people in South Tyneside could soon be given a chance to live the ‘good life’, it has emerged.
There are more than 700 people on the council’s waiting list for gardens, with the average waiting time 3.3 years.
The council manages 22 allotment sites across the borough, containing 1,341 individual garden plots.
But demand for plots far outstrips demand and new plots have been earmarked this year at the existing Green Lane Allotments, South Shields, and in at Hebburn’s School Street.
The allotment plan forms part of a new council push to make South Tyneside a ‘green and pleasant land’.
The council’s cabinet is to endorse a new ‘green infrastructure strategy’ next week and the ‘go green’ approach includes improving our public parks and open spaces, playing fields, sports pitches and footpaths.
Work to raise standards at our beaches, river corridors and mineral lines are also high on the agenda.
Potential ‘reserve’ allotment sites have also been identified on land at the former Temple Park Junior School and the south of Chuter Ede playing fields, both in South Shields.
Those two areas may be required for playing fields but, if that proves not to be the case in the next three years, their use as allotments would be considered.
Members of the council’s decision-making cabinet is to discuss the proposals as part of the authority’s new ‘Open Space Strategy’, which is to be considered next Wednesday.
Allotment sites range in size from Holder House in South Shields with 226 gardens, to Ash Grove in Whitburn, with just five.
In addition to growing flowers and vegetables, allotment holders at a number of sites are permitted to keep livestock, including pigeons and poultry, while others, specifically ex-National Coal Board sites in Boldon Colliery, are allowed to stable horses.
A report to the committee, by David Cramond, the council’s corporate director of economic regeneration, says: “Public consultation to inform our Open Space Strategy highlighted the significant value of allotments and their popularity within the borough.
“However, even if all the sites are developed there would still be a shortage of plots to meet the identified need.”