Shock as 'flourishing' Derbyshire village allotments under threat in centenary year

A ‘flourishing’ area of allotments in a Derbyshire village which has been providing healthy produce for families for 100 years is under threat.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 1:14 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 1:44 pm

Plot holders at Starkholmes Allotments, near Matlock, have been given notice to quit the land as tenants in the centenary of the treasured community facility.

A search is now on for the committee to find a new home if they are forced to leave the beautiful site, with views of the Derbyshire Dales, and see the land sold for development.

Mike Naden, secretary and treasurer of the allotments, said he believed the site was first established for returning service personnel after the First World War.

The allotments at Starkholmes, near Matlock, have been feeding families in the community for a century.

"The allotments have a very rich history and were set up by a Colonel Lynch who bought the land,” Mike said.

"They are still flourishing. We have 27 allotment plot holders at Starkholmes and 35 plots, as some people look after two plots.

"It is not just the plot holders but their whole families who can enjoy the allotments. Grandchildren come along and grow their own vegetables. It is a real family thing.

Mike and Judith Naden in the allotments at Starkholmes which are under threat after 100 years.

"In the past it was considered a man’s hobby but now we have 13 ladies and 14 men as plot holders.”

This year was supposed to be one of celebration for the allotments – plot holders held a 100th birthday party on Saturday – but the future was put in doubt earlier this summer.

At the start of July, the land owner revealed he was terminating their tenancy through his agent.

"He has to give us 12 months’ notice so it looks like in 2022 the land will be developed,” Mike said.

"It was out of the blue and a shock. We are all very disappointed and talking to Matlock Town Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council about possible options.

"There are other allotments, but when you have put so much time and effort into one plot you don’t really want to start again.

"Four of us have had a plot for 40 years and a lot of others have had them for 10 or 15 years.”

The Derbyshire Times has tried to contact the land owner via Geldards Solictors, who informed the allotment holders about the tenancy changes, but they have not been instructed to comment by their client.