Welcome to Hockley Parish Council's website. If you look to the tabs on the left, you will find information about what the council is and does; I hope you will find it interesting. If you would like to know more, meetings take place at the Old Fire Station, normally on a Monday evening. You are welcome to attend, as there is a 15 minute public question time at the start of the meeting, but if you have a specific question, it can sometimes be easier to let us know in advance.
Clerk to the council
Hockley Parish Council and Allotments
The Parish Council has a duty in law to provide allotments for residents if asked, and last year it received a petition requesting that a site is made available for allotment holders to cultivate. Knowing the property prices in the parish, you will not be surprised to learn that few people are willing to sell their land or offer it on a long lease for use as allotments. There are currently two sites under consideration and one of them is the land at the rear of Plumberow Mount. Access is restricted and the land would need draining so it is not the most favoured site, but it is already owned by the District Council and leased by the Parish Council and so it must be seen as a potential place for allotments.
At the moment, two sites are being investigated and there are advantages and disadvantages to both, but the development of allotments is a long-term project that will be expensive to set-up, so the council wants to think very carefully before starting any work and spending public money; they do not want to rush-ahead and accept the first thing they are offered. This project is still at the evaluation stage and until there is a clear reason to favour one site over another, there is no point in producing detailed plans for roads, car parks or anything else.
Whatever site is chosen, it will have to meet certain conditions and it will have to be designed to avoid the need to fell mature or treasured trees. It will have to accommodate at least twenty-five allotments, two of which will be adapted for disabled use. There will be road access and parking for perhaps five cars and there will also be a need for security fencing that will be proof against two and four legged raiders. When established, the allotment holders could be allowed to have small toolsheds or glasshouses, but no other buildings will be permitted. Bonfires will not be allowed and the tenants will be required to keep their sites neat and tidy. The Council is aware that some people have been talking about major development with shops or a café, this project is simply about providing allotments; nothing more. Although it can be difficult to see the benefits of something new, allotments and housing exist side-by-side in many other communities and there is no reason to think that it would be any different in Hockley.
To summarise. At present, there is no firm proposal to develop allotments at Plumberow Avenue. It has to be considered, but other, better sites may become available. If no other land is available to lease or buy, then the council will have to see if it is practicable to put the allotments on this site. Should this be necessary, then the council would submit a planning application to the District Council for public comment and discussion. This would be the fairest way to balance the needs of the neighbours against the needs of the residents seeking land to cultivate.
If you have arable land that could be used for allotments and you would be willing to sell or offer on a fifty-year lease, please contact the clerk for an informal discussion. The ideal site would be level, well-drained, have access to a road and be about two acres.