Popular allotments and gardens in Eastbourne are to go on sale.
The community gardens site in The Village in Meads is being marketed by auctioneers Allsop.
The proposed sale has prompted residents – living in both The Village and surrounding streets in Meads village who look after the gardens and allotments – to call on Eastbourne council to help secure the land so they can be kept for the community.
Jack Harris, who lives in Meads Street and maintains one of the gardens, said, “The gardens are of historic value and have been part of the community for more than 100 years.
“They go back in time to the cottages which were built around them.
“Then they were known as the Wallis Cottages and people were allowed to grow their vegetables on the land.
“While we cannot stop the current owners selling the gardens and allotments, and although they are in a conservation area, things do change and therefore we would like to get Eastbourne council to claim them as an asset and a place of public interest where development can never take place.
“We have written to MP Steven Lloyd asking him to support us to get the council to adopt the land as an asset.
“The village of Meads attracts a lot of visitors and we are proud that once a year the funds raised from our open garden day is donated to charity.”
According to historians, The Village, “the centrepiece of the Meads Conservation area” was conceived in 1894.
The square of artisans’ villas around central allotments was built by George Ambrose Wallis, the chief planner and civil engineer who became the first mayor of Eastbourne.
The square was then known as Wallis’s Cottages. The original purpose was to house workers from the 7th Duke of Devonshire’s Compton estate.
A spokesperson from Grainger plc said, “Following the acquisition of Bradford Property Trust in 2003, Grainger became the owner of The Village Meads, Eastbourne, which included the central allotment/garden land. Having subsequently sold the houses on the estate, Grainger took the decision to sell the central allotment/garden land in 2016, and for the last two years, has been in negotiations to sell the land to local residents.
“It is, and has always been Grainger’s intention to preserve the space for use as gardens and allotments, and we have placed special conditions on the sale to that effect. We are keen to find a solution by which we sell to an organisation which is owned by, or represents, the local residents.”