Kirklees Council has recently established a new allotment site on Ravensthorpe Road in Dewsbury, marking a noteworthy development that holds numerous advantages for the local community. Although it may appear modest on its own, these allotments serve as a precursor to a much larger nearby development.

These new allotments have replaced those on a neighbouring site, which the Council had initially designated for housing in the Kirklees Local Plan. By relocating these allotments, the Council can now advance with the Dewsbury Riverside Housing development, set to accommodate approximately 4,000 new homes. Additionally, the Council will establish the necessary infrastructure to support these new residences, including schools, pleasant open spaces, and local amenities.

This planned development is the largest of its kind in Kirklees and will significantly contribute to addressing the local and national housing shortage.

Given the importance of this housing project and the proven benefits of allotment gardening for the local populace, the Council is dedicated to relocating the existing allotments on that site. These allotments, which have been well-utilised by local nature and gardening enthusiasts, will be moved before the housing development commences.

In addition to the advantages brought forth by a substantial housing development, the allotment site itself stands to gain significant benefits.

Research has shown that allotment gardening positively impacts physical health and mental well-being, encouraging regular exercise and increased time spent outdoors. Allotments also offer individuals the opportunity to cultivate their own produce and enjoy a healthier and more cost-effective diet.

With the relocation, the new allotment site has nearly doubled in size, now boasting a total of 43 large plots compared to the previous 25. Many of these plots feature brand-new sheds and greenhouses, replacing those owned by the allotment holders who have moved with the site. Running water is readily available on-site, and a newly constructed car park has been provided for the allotment holders’ convenience. Furthermore, the Council has ensured the replacement of plants from the previous site, maintaining consistency.

A considerable number of these new allotments are already occupied by tenants from the previous site, and it is expected that more plots will be taken up in the coming months due to high demand reflected in the waiting lists for allotments across Kirklees.

The Council entrusted the Casey Group, a local construction firm, with the development of the new allotment site. This involved extensive landscaping and the installation of underground pipes for water supply. Moreover, the Council undertook a substantial portion of the work internally rather than outsourcing it. This included intricate drainage improvements to ensure the durability of the allotments in all weather conditions, as well as the construction of concrete bases for the new sheds and greenhouses.

Consequently, the funds invested in this development directly contribute to the local industry and support the local economy.

Throughout this project, the Council placed a significant emphasis on social value, aiming to bring additional benefits to the local community. This included supporting local construction workers in completing industry apprenticeships. Such investment in the local talent pool will further bolster the local economy for years to come.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, says; “The completion of these allotments is the first step to delivering what’s currently our most ambitious housing project for Kirklees. What we’re looking to do here is create not just more housing but a community, with all the additional infrastructure that entails.

“While the relocation of these allotments has been a relatively small-scale project in itself, it’s opened so many doors. Alongside paving the way for the new housing development, we’ve also supported local industry and our local talent pool throughout the construction work – and it’s resulted in a new outdoor space which will mean a lot to the local community.

“We now want the larger-scale project to continue driving value back into our local economy, while also creating thousands of new homes at a time when, nationally, we’re in desperate need.”

Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Growth & Regeneration, says; “The new allotment site is fantastic, and I’ve been really pleased to speak to a local allotment holder who has been tending his plot every single day since the site opened. In a matter of weeks, these spaces already look so full, individual and lived-in.

“There are proven benefits to these kind of spaces for people’s mental and physical well-being, and allotments also give people the ability to grow their own fresh produce. I believe this is something that’s going to benefit a lot of people for years to come, and when you take a step back and see the bigger picture, there are so many other wins here as well.

“Onto the next step – we’re now scoping potential contractors who will help us deliver our ambitious housing development at Dewsbury Riverside, hopefully, both at pace and in a way that complements our green agenda.”