Landmark Day for Allotments in Crewe

The Town Council welcomes the opportunity to update the town on progress in taking forward plans to improve allotments across the whole of Crewe. Work is ongoing at a variety of sites to address an historic lack of investment. By the end of 2015/6 the Town Council will have invested £65k in the allotments. The money has been allocated to sites via the Crewe Town Allotment Federation who are going from strength to strength.

The relationship between the Council and the Federation has been further cemented and the Council is pleased to announce that allotment sites have been leased on a 50-year basis to the Federation who are now able to sub-lease the sites to the individual site associations.

Cllrs Suzanne Brookfield and Terry Beard made the following joint statement as the lead members on allotments.

‘This is a defining moment and we recall the approach from the allotments in 2013 after we inherited the sites from Cheshire East on our formation. The allotment holders wanted to have control and autonomy. We have enabled that for all the eleven sites that were so active and instrumental in the formation of the Federation. Our action now provides the security of tenure for plot holders and ensures that clearly defined communication channels exist from the Council to the Federation and from the Federation to the Associations.’

‘Money is being wisely spent and we as a Council are committed to supporting the Federation in helping to move the allotments in Crewe from a state of historic neglect, to adequate and on to exemplary. That will take time but we are behind the Federation all the way.’

‘It would be remiss of us to duck previous questions from three sites in particular. We consulted with those sites at Christmas and explained again our plans. Those sites, though initially, extremely supportive of the Federation had asked for an alternative approach, but the Council did not wish to create a myriad of individual relationships for reasons of efficiency. We have therefore done exactly what the eleven sites wanted when the Federation was formed in 2013/4.'

'Those three remaining sites are encouraged to join the Federation, but they have free will in such matters. They do need however to take a sub-lease from the Federation. That sub-lease will be granted on EXACTLY the same terms as will be granted to associations in Membership of the Federation. As such the Council is acting equitably and treating all sites in the same way. There is no question of unfairness.’

‘We as a Council need to protect the individual plot holders occupying Council land. As things stand only the Federation may levy a rent on the land that is not held by an Association via a sub-lease. While the debate goes on between the three associations, the Federation and the Council we are putting in place measures to allow plot holders at Walker Street, Hulme Street and Ford Lane to pay their annual rent to the Council who will hold that money on behalf of the Federation. The monies will be given to associations once they have legal entitlement to levy a rent. In turn the Federation will issue plot holders with a tenancy agreement that can be subsequently transferred to the relevant association’

‘We therefore encourage the three Associations to talk to the Federation and secure a sub-lease before the end of March. If this isn’t possible then we invite all plot holders to make contact with the Council to secure their interest in their plots for 2015/6. Traditionally, plots are deemed to have been vacated if payment is not received within three or four weeks. We will follow that policy and ask that payments to the Council are made by 1st May.'

ENDS

16/03/2015

Editorial Notes:

1) Payments are being made to the Council as it has the infrastructure readily in place to manage the monies. Technically the money belongs to the Federation.

2) Plot holders at Walker Street, Hulme Street and Ford Lane are encouraged to pay their annual fees by cheque made out to ‘Crewe Town Council’ as soon as possible.

3) Plot holders are asked to pay the same fee as in 2014/5. Any increase/decrease in rental fees will be managed once the three Associations have legal entitlement to charge a rent.

4) For further information please contact the Town Clerk, Steve McQuade on 01270 756975.

5) The first picture below shows the result of investment at Electricity Street Allotment in Crewe, piles of rubbish were removed from against the old fence line, the area around the brook was tidied up to improve the habitat/the general outlook and the new fence has gone in. The second two picture relate to the creation of hard standing at Manor Way Allotments.

419 Electricty St fencing  11 Feb 2015380. Manor Way  car park 13 Jan 2015399. Frizells at Manor Way 7 Feb 2015

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