Losing the plot over allotments

Photo Ian Robinson'Chorley Aerials'''Castle Drive and Balmoral and The Common Adlington
Photo Ian Robinson'Chorley Aerials'''Castle Drive and Balmoral and The Common Adlington

A long-running campaign to create extra allotment spaces in Chorley has sparked a furious response from residents who don’t want it.

People in Chorley currently face a wait of several years for a plot in the borough - which prompted Chorley Council to unveil plans for 54 allotment spaces on land at The Common, in Adlington.

The council’s parks and open space team want to create a car park and access route to the site but now more than 100 people have objected to the scheme.

The plots are on greenbelt land and the application is set to be decided tonight (Tuesday) by the Development Control Committee at what promises to be a fiery meeting.

A total of 114 letters of objection have been sent against the plans, and 52 people have signed a petition because they’re worried about road safety and traffic congestion.

Residents in the village have been campaigning for allotments for years, but are unhappy at the site the council has earmarked for development.

Coun Peter Wilson, who represents Adlington at Chorley Council, said: “The primary concern is volume of traffic, because 700 properties are already accessed down Park Road, which leads to The Common.

“We believe that more vehicles will put extra pressure on the roads.

“Also, the plans only ask for 20 car parking spaces for the 54 allotments, and residents are worried that people will have to leave their cars on the side of the road, especially if it gets busy at weekends.”

Residents would prefer for an allotment site to be created off Harrison Road instead, because people already drive there to visit the nearby cemetery.

“We have been campaigning for allotments for many years,” Coun Wilson added. “But we think other sites are more suitable.

“The Common is on greenbelt land, so some people are also concerned that it will damage wildlife in the area, such as newts.”

The creation of allotment plots does not require planning permission, but an application is needed for the car park and highways access.

The plans also include the erection of a 1.2m high post and wire fence, and compost and wood chip bays.

Coun Cath Hoyle, who has been working with residents and Coun Wilson, added: “People are really not happy about this.

“A lot walk their dogs, and ride their bikes or horses around there.

“Children also play outside, so an increase in traffic will affect that.”

However, Chorley Council does not believe the allotment site will have such a negative impact.

Coun John Walker, who oversees allotments in the Chorley borough, said: “There remains a big demand for allotments in Chorley and the council has carried out numerous site investigations and consultation across the borough to identify suitable sites.

“The piece of land known as ‘The Common’ has been put forward for a number of reasons including the fact that the work will cause minimal disruption to the surrounding area and local residents. We have considered other land and will be meeting with local councillors to discuss suggestions.

“The planning application for access to the site and the car park was due to be considered at Development Control Committee on August 9 along with the results of the consultation.”

The plans have been recommended for approval by officers but the final decision will be down to councillors.