Allotments Feature in a House of Lords debate

The following statement was made by Lord Greaves during a debate in the House of Lords on 7th July.  Lord Greaves is a Liberal Democrat peer based in Lancashire and is a local councillor for a Lancashire ward, but his remarks are as applicable to Scotland as to England:
I wish to relate one more anecdote. There is a piece of former wasteland in the ward I represent that has been wasteland for 40 years. For a lot of that time we have wondered what on earth could be done about it. It has now been transformed by a partnership between local residents, the borough council and the town council into new allotments and a new mini park. It is a brilliant scheme-the sort of scheme that everyone would look at and say, “It is a wonderful, south-facing site, superb for new allotments”. Why did it never happen before? That is because the resources were not there to do it. Why has it now happened? That is because it happened to be part of an area that was included in a housing market renewal priority area and we were given money to carry out environmental schemes as part of the housing market renewal work. It was possible because public money and public resources were put into it and made it happen. I hope that it will be a brilliant scheme for the next 100 years. There is no way on God’s earth that the local community in areas that are in the top 5 or 10 per cent of deprived areas will be able to raise whatever it costs-say, £35,000-to remodel that land completely and put up new fencing. The resources are simply not there; they are poor areas.

If that piece of land was situated in a rich suburban village, the community may have been able to renovate it, but having a system tht is useful only in richer areas full of retired professional people who can devote their time to such projects is no good. A system must apply across the country in the inner cities, suburbs and former textile towns such as the one where I live. This proposal has very little to offer to the kind of areas in which I live and represent on the council.

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