Hunt For Allotments In Wimbledon

Rehabilitation Centre Could Benefit

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A long waiting list for allotment space around Wimbledon could result in growing land, including a sensory garden, being developed at a local rehabilitation centre.

The waiting time for allotments in the area is up to 11 years, with nearly 1,300 people on the council's list waiting for a vacant allotment somewhere in Merton. Many of the lists have actually closed.

A spokeman for the council said: "This year we have cleared and added 82 plots to our allotments, bringing the total to 1,464 which enabled us to take a considerable number of people off the waiting list."

But the list is still long and the Wimbledon Grow Your Own Food Group has been working to address the problem, investigating a series of options to give people access to growing land.

Spokesman Harry Vaneris said: "There are enough people on the waiting list for us to know it is a problem. Our intention is to give people a space so that they can get their thumbs green. We need a green space that is secure, secluded and not expensive."

Allotments In Wimbledon The group is now putting together a proposal to use land at the Wolfson Neurorehabilition Centre at Copse Hill, Wimbledon.

Mr Vaneris said the plans, which are still being finalised, could include a sensory garden for patients at the centre, which cares for people with neurological conditions, such as stroke and spine injuries. The proposals could include allotments, inside a perimeter path.

He said: "There is an area where residents convalese which could be renovated and a sensory garden would make it theraputic for them. We are now working on a proposal for the NHS Trust".

Mr Vaneris said once the group has started on one project it would then investigate other areas, such as using communal land on housing estates, and also wants to educate people.

"Once we have a plot we can move onto education, not just growing fruit and veg," he added.

A spokesman for St George's Healthcase NHS Trust said they were aware of the plans, but wanted to see them before making a comment.

August 27, 2010