Home   Sudbury   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Sudbury allotment holders angry at 'disrespectful treatment' after losing access to town council water supplies



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


Allotment holders say they are battling for the survival of their plots, following the withdrawal of a council-funded service to supply water to the site.

Tenants at the Ballingdon allotments in Sudbury have voiced their anger at the town council’s decision to stop filling their on-site water tank, arguing that they have been 'treated wrongly and disrespectfully'.

The Ballingdon site, which has six plots, is one of two allotment areas in the town, along with the larger Newton Road site, where there are more than 40 plots.

Allotment holders Lyn Gray and Ruth Philo. Picture: Mecha Morton
Allotment holders Lyn Gray and Ruth Philo. Picture: Mecha Morton

But, unlike Newton Road, which has access to mains water, those at Ballingdon Street have depended on deliveries by the council’s community wardens for years.

However, this supply stopped in April, as the authority reviewed options for water supply to the site.

Last month, it decided that the cost of installing a mains water connection would 'not represent good value for money', but agreed to invest £250 for a solar water pump.

Holders at Ballingdon Street are unhappy because Sudbury Town Council has stopped making water deliveries to the site, which they fear will make it hard for the allotments to survive. Picture: Mecha Morton
Holders at Ballingdon Street are unhappy because Sudbury Town Council has stopped making water deliveries to the site, which they fear will make it hard for the allotments to survive. Picture: Mecha Morton

At their July full council meeting, members stated that the Ballingdon allotments had originally been established on the basis that the tenants would source their water from the adjacent stream.

Town clerk Ciaran Griffin said: “No expenditure had been approved to supply water to Ballingdon allotments, but using the wardens to provide water all summer would cost about £600 per annum.

“To have Anglian Water connect a pipe to the mains and then to have a plumber fit a tap would cost over £1,800, plus £100 per annum.

Lyn Gray, one of the allotment holders at Ballingdon Street, said the council had supplied water to the site for 12 years. Picture: Mecha Morton
Lyn Gray, one of the allotment holders at Ballingdon Street, said the council had supplied water to the site for 12 years. Picture: Mecha Morton

“This would only benefit the six allotment holders in Ballingdon.”

But, Lyn Gray, one of the allotment holders at Ballingdon Street, said the council had supplied water to the site for 12 years, and she could not understand why it had suddenly become an issue.

“We’re part of the Sudbury allotments, and I don’t see why we should be treated differently,” she told Suffolk News. “It’s ridiculous.

The Ballingdon site has six plots. Picture: Mecha Morton
The Ballingdon site has six plots. Picture: Mecha Morton

“The initial outcome of the withdrawal of water was a total loss of early planted seeds and bulbs, which need water to become established and germinate.

“Many pounds were spent and lost unnecessarily. We had no warning at all, which would have been reasonable, we feel.

“They have chosen the option of a solar pump, which sounds very green but we don’t think it’s appropriate for our allotments.

The supply stopped in April, as the authority reviewed options for water supply to the site. Picture: Mecha Morton
The supply stopped in April, as the authority reviewed options for water supply to the site. Picture: Mecha Morton

“The water they want us to use is run-off from the meadow which, with the drought, can often run dry, so it’s not really a suitable solution.

“We can carefully get water at great effort by throwing in and filling buckets and then carrying them to our allotments, but this is very heavy work for mainly women.

“The best solution, we think, is having a standpipe installed. The cost is £1,800, which sounds a lot, but if the council’s figure of £600 a year for the current provision is right, in three years, it would have paid for itself.

“It was never the intention that allotments, along with other council services provided should be self-funding, but should be focused on residents’ needs and benefits, funded through council taxes.”