A GARDEN centre has stepped in to ease the shortage of allotment plots on Tyneside.
Demand for allotments is booming with more than 6,500 in the region on waiting lists.
Now Peter Barratt’s Gosforth Park Garden Centre, which is located on the east side of Gosforth Park Racecourse in Newcastle, has created 104 “Grow Your Own” plots.
They will be launched on Friday by North Tyneside mayor Linda Arkley and sheriff of Newcastle Brenda Hindmarsh.
Paul Barker, garden centre general manager, said: “The plots are being rented out to gardeners wishing to grow their own food.
“We’re meeting a real demand for plots from people in the community and we’re offering them the chance to grow their own with a little help from us.”
Each plot will be approximately 90 square metres.
A basic plot, which will cost £5 per week, will include access to a water trough.
Alternatively, people can have a site that includes a greenhouse, shed, and a water butt, for £10 per week.
The garden centre anticipates that half of the plots will have a greenhouse and shed but these can be provided for any site.
The whole site is rabbit-proofed and benefits from all the facilities available at the garden centre, including toilets and the restaurant. A starter kit will include a selection of free seeds, information pamphlets on what to grow when and a copy of a 1940s Ministry of Agriculture Dig For Victory leaflet as well as a complimentary hessian bag.
There will also be a voucher for money off tools, which can be redeemed at the garden centre.
Paul said: “We have already raised awareness of the plots with our customers and have been asking people to complete a form to register their interest.
“We intend to assign a plot to a group of less able gardeners as the site has disabled access. We’re also using another plot as a demonstration vegetable patch and have one plot left for a community group to use for free.”
People can register interest on 0191 236 7111 or by picking up an application form at the garden centre.
Once people have harvested their produce, the garden centre aims to create a market place for any surplus crops.
The plots are being rented out to gardeners wishing to grow their own food