Council accused of 'dropping the ball' over allotments promise

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hevingham and Spixworth. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hevingham and Spixworth. Pic: Liberal Democrats. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

A council has been accused of "dropping the ball" over its failure to make sure a promise for allotments with a housing development is kept.

In December 2015, permission was granted for St Mary's Court, a development of homes for the over-55s off North Walsham in Spixworth, which included a 20-plot allotment in the package.

More than five years on and the homes have been built and are now occupied - but the land where the allotments were meant to be added remains untouched - with Broadland Council insisting legal discussions remain a sticking point..

Dan Roper, who represents the Spixworth with St Faiths ward on the council, has said the wait has gone long enough.

The Liberal Democrat councillor said a range of disputes had prevented the development of the site and that despite the best efforts of Spixworth Parish Council to smooth the waters, a solution could not yet be reached.

He said: "In my view, Broadland Council has completely dropped the ball on this issue. There has been a lot of toing and froing over the years and I have been trying to arrange meetings about it for the best part of six months.

"It is disgraceful that these allotments have just been left and residents are right to feel let down."

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Much of the hold-up has been as a result of complications over how the allotments would be accessed - either through the village hall or via Rosa Close.

In 2019, a meeting was held at which the Rosa Close option was ruled out, but there has been no movement since then, with the land becoming overgrown and disused.

Mr Roper added: "At a meeting in 2019 it was agreed there would be a gate on Rosa Close but the access would be through the village hall. We thought that would be the end of it."

Carolyn Lake, clerk to Spixworth Parish Council, added: "We entirely share the frustration of residents."

A Broadland spokesman said: "This is a long-running issue and Broadland District Council is seeking to secure community facilities in Spixworth. The provision of allotments in the village is still subject to legal discussions but the Council is continuing to work with the interested parties to ensure that all the planning requirements are met."