AFTER months of effort by locals, work on the Nythe Allotments began in earnest at the weekend.

Residents and councillors spent Saturday putting up the boundary fences around the allotments on land just off Greenbridge Road.

It has taken a long time for the work to get off the ground but the committee behind the project believes it will benefit a lot of people living in the local area.

On Saturday the first 150 metres of fencing was put up at the site with another 300 metres still to go up.

The group’s treasurer Bob Burton said: “Growing your own vegetables is always healthy. It is cheaper than going to the supermarket and there is always a good community spirit between the allotment owners.

“We have had to get through quite a few hoops to get here but it is really great to be able to get going.

“It’s been really good that we’ve had a lot of support from the local residents and the local councillors have been instrumental.

“We now have a committee of 12 residents who have brought this project into fruition, led by Gerry Brant whose idea it was in the first place.”

When completed, the allotments will have a new car park and entrance from Greenbridge Road. The whole project has been funded from a number of sources.

Some cash has come from Section 106 money gained through local housing projects. Other grants have been provided to let nearby council residents have access to the allotments. There has also been private funding from several sources.

Bob said: “Some of the grant money means council residents can effectively have an allotment for half price.

“One of our committee members works at Dialogue Semi Conductor and they gave us several thousand pounds. The allotments have always been about getting something for the community and the funding shows that.”

The Nythe Allotments have also signed up to be a part of the Community Payback Scheme. Offenders who have committed crimes which are not deemed serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence work on community projects.

Those carrying out community payback have been helping to clear the land and on Saturday six others were helping to put up the fence.

Councillor Dale Heenan (Con, Covingham and Dorcan) said: “Right from the start we said we would never be able to do all of this ourselves.

“The Community Payback Scheme sees low-level offenders work on community projects, and this is the perfect scheme.

“The land we have chosen is owned by the council but was overgrown and not used for anything, so it made the ideal location.

“We were delighted to help Gerry and the residents and it is fantastic to finally see it come into fruition.”