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Mulberry Close has allot of potential

An historic allotment site that has been out of use for over 20 years is subject to discussions about potentially being brought back into use by local people.

The site, located in Mulberry Close, Chingford, has been subject to discussions at the Council over the summer with three options drawn up dependent on the buy-in and involvement of local people and the voluntary sector.

The options on the table were to restore the area back to a usable allotment site under Council ownership; to restore the area back to a usable allotment site utilising Voluntary Sector Organisations (VSO); or to refrain from restoring the area back to a usable allotment site.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said, “I received a report with the preferred option being to restore the area back to a usable allotment site utilising the Voluntary Sector.

“This would provide the best value for money and also complement the work we have been doing for some time now to promote food growing in the borough with initiatives like our Cultivate festival and of course bringing other allotments back into use.”

The option proposed is to lease the site to the VSO for three years and within that time the VSO would be required to clear the site, prepare the soil and generally remediate it prior to handing the site back to the Council.

Volunteers would be utilised to remediate the site and as and when areas were cleared, residents would be trained through the VSO training programme to grow food to sell, with a view that any income generated from surplus food would be reinvested into the site.

“As I’ve said before, it is the aim of this Council to transform our corner of the capital into the garden of London,” said Cllr Loakes. “Allotments are at the heart of that vision and doing what we can to make the most of any food growing space in the borough is key to our success.

“Obviously there is a lot of work to do to get Mulberry Close up and running, but with strong local support and some key partnerships with the voluntary sector I am sure we can make this happen. We hope that at least parts of the site will begin to be used by Waltham Forest food growers in the coming 12 months.”

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