Plotting to get moving on mobile allotments

Gavin Corbett and Amanda Scuttle believe the scheme can be a success
Gavin Corbett and Amanda Scuttle believe the scheme can be a success
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HELP may soon be at hand for budding gardeners who want the fun of an allotment without putting down roots.

Edinburgh’s first mobile allotments may soon be appearing in Fountainbridge, helping to address the shortage of plots in the city as well as brightening up a development site.

The Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative (FCI) is looking to team up with Sow and Grow Everywhere (Sage) and Grosvenor Developments, which is currently working on the £200 million regeneration of the former Fountain Brewery site, to offer residents their own plots.

The idea is that when the site is needed for development, the allotments can simply be transported elsewhere.

Each allotment holder will receive a one-tonne bag filled with soil which they can use to grow a host of flowers, plants and vegetables.

The FCI was set up last month with the aim of ensuring that the site’s development includes facilities for locals and takes advantage of its location next to the Union Canal.

Stan Reeves of FCI said: “We held a vision day and a recurring theme was that the site must be green and connected to the environment.

“We then heard about mobile allotments and everyone thought it was a great idea.”

Green local election candidate and member of Shandon Local Food Group, Gavin Corbett, said: “I think it’s a really good idea. Obviously you won’t be able to plant an apple tree but you can grow your own veg.

“There’s a real interest in growing your own at present but a lack of allotment places. This initiative represents a win-win for everyone – the developer allows the land to be used in the short term without jeopardising any long-term plans and the allotment holder gets a much-needed spot to grow some stuff.”

Robin Blacklock, of Grosvenor Developments, said he hoped that something beneficial for all comes from the proposal. He said: “If there is a groundswell of local backing for this project and if it suits our timescale then we would like to make this happen.

“In an ideal world we would like to see a living, breathing site and not one which is just lying empty becoming an eyesore.”

HBOS bought the site from Scottish & Newcastle in 2008 for around £30m and planned to build a Bank of Scotland office hub, but Lloyds Banking Group dropped the plans after it took over the group.

One part of the 4.7 hectare site is set to be used for the development of a new Boroughmuir High School. Student flats are also planned for another part of the site.

Anyone interested in the project can contact fountainbridgeci@gmail.com

Sowing seeds of success

David O’Leary

The Sow and Grow Initiative (Sage) was set up in Glasgow three years ago. Its first project, at Possil, won the prestigious chairman’s prize at the Scottish Design Awards last May.

Such is the project’s success that it is now looking to expand, with four new sites this spring and more planned for later in the summer.

Each Sage bag is filled with a blended growing mix of topsoil and composted green waste, both sourced locally and approved for food growing. All can be placed on any flat surface, including concrete, demolition rubble and turf.