Allotment sell-off for new low cost homes?

PUBLISHED: 07:23 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 24 May 2010

ALLOTMENTS in Weston could be sold off to private developers to make way for housing in a deal worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. The land that could be put up for sale is next to Windwhistle Primary School on the Bournville estate. Weston Town Counci

ALLOTMENTS in Weston could be sold off to private developers to make way for housing in a deal worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.The land that could be put up for sale is next to Windwhistle Primary School on the Bournville estate.Weston Town Council, which has owned the land since 2000, has approved the decision to sell off the large plot because it says the site is currently abandoned and overgrown. The sale would net the town council a large windfall.Initially, the sale was delayed as it was thought Network Rail wanted to create an extension to the railway line on the land. But the deal was put back on track when the rail company confirmed it had no such plans.At a policy and resources meeting on Monday, the town council decided to apply for planning permission to build housing on the plot before any sale in order to increase the land's value.Green-fingered residents could also benefit from the initiative after a community group put in a bid for a share of the land to use as a community garden. It is proposed that people could grow fruit and vegetables there as part of a healthier lifestyle initiative.Jenny Hendy, project leader for the For All Health Living Company, in Lonsdale Avenue, has asked to meet the town council to talk about dividing the site 'for the maximum benefit of the community'.In a letter, Ms Hendy said she was confident the group could raise funding for the community garden.The town council has agreed to discuss the idea with the group.Weston south councillor Ian Parker said: "The idea to provide fresh fruit and vegetables from a community garden is to be welcomed."If the project can provide a mixture of houses and a garden I think that should go ahead."The town council's policy and resources committee chairman, David Evans, said he wanted affordable homes for rent to be built on the land and also backed the community garden proposal.He said: "There are a lot of people in the town who have been on the housing register for years. We could help some of them with this scheme."The Government has told us we can sell the land. I think a mixture of social housing and the community garden could mean the project would benefit everybody.

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