Delight as new Wigan allotment scheme is a huge success
Despite the passing of decades, many folks still frown at expanses of allotments, dubbing them as eye-sores.
But the 50 new allotments on land off Vicarage Lane at Shevington have already won fine plaudits and high praise.
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And since work began just a handful of months ago, there are already peas swarming up sticks of wigwams, flowers in full bloom, vegetables ready for the pan and neat sheds all painted the same colour.
All but one of the allotments have been hired out to locals – and the general view is that they have given gardeners a new lease of green-fingered life.
The land was bought by Shevington Parish Council and the district’s active Gardening Club has put energy and enthusiasm into the lettings.
Chairman Andrew Moakes said: “The scheme has only just got off the ground but has proved a great success. A committee was set up to decide how the land should occupied ... and allotments came out top. It was no-contest really.
“The allotments were allocated on a first come, first served basis and even we were surprised at how fast they were snapped up. Now we’ll have to have a waiting list of people ready to hire when one leaves.”
His wife Carol said: “As long as we all work together, things will be fine.”
As yet, money is needed to bring fresh water to the allotments, and meanwhile owners are ferrying their own.
He added: “Many people seem to want to grow their own vegetables because it’s the healthy option. And the rent is just Â£50 a year. Not bad at all. The new owners spend several hours a week cultivating. It’s a marvellous hobby – and totally relaxing.”
Husband and wife Greg and Yashode Bate agreed: “Yes there are elements of hard work. We are improving the soil and already eating produce we’ve grown.”
Husband and wife Keith and Karen Glover said that spending many hours a week after work was an ideal way of getting back to nature.
Some gardeners have already created raised beds to make allotment life a bit easier. These are especially helpful to the disabled.
The “back to basics approach” seems to be the keynote but all the gardeners said they were hoping for the end of the drought and the installing of a running water supply.
Emma and Andy Atherton, and their two children Lucy, four, and two-year-old Harry said their allotment had given them a new lease of life. Emma also stressed the importance of introducing the children to the growing healthy produce.
Ben and Pauline Johnson commented: “Gardening here is hard work but it seems to be really keeping us fit. We are concentrating on fruit and veg and already the results are very encouraging.”
Further information is available from Andrew Moakes on 07710 635075.