Busy bees finally bring a welcome boost to allotment

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BEES have been welcomed at an allotments after plot holders campaigned for two hives to be introduced.

After much wrangling with the council’s health and safety department, two hives at Sarisbury allotments, on Allotment Road, Sarisbury Green, are now occupied and full of life.

(l-r) Hazel Eyres, Esme Deal, Ray Baldwin, Cllr Sean Woodward, and Roy Deal with the bee hives at ''Sarisbury Allotments

(l-r) Hazel Eyres, Esme Deal, Ray Baldwin, Cllr Sean Woodward, and Roy Deal with the bee hives at ''Sarisbury Allotments

Initially the allotment association faced resistance from Fareham Borough Council, which operates the allotments, as health and safety officials were concerned that the bees could sting green-fingered gardeners.

Exasperated by the council’s red tape, keen growers Roy Deal and Ray Baldwin, site manager, approached their ward councillor Sean Woodward who agreed to help with their campaign.

Mr Deal, who has rented a plot for 12 years, said: ‘It was just one long struggle but the guy that eventually knocked it on the head was Sean Woodward.’

Cllr Woodward spoke to council workers and persuaded them to overturn their ruling and let the hives be introduced.

After a successful trial at the end of last year, the two hives have now been occupied and Cllr Woodward paid a visit to see the bees in action.

Despite nearly being stung on his visit, he was still positive about the newcomers.

Cllr Woodward said the hives are a first for allotments in the borough.

‘It was quite a struggle because of the health and safety concerns but the trial hive was so popular, with bees and allotment holders, I’m pleased to see they’ve put in another,’ he said.

Hazel Eyres, who rents one of the allotments, said: ‘Bees are a very important part of life and without them we would really struggle.

‘They are fantastic pollinators, without them food would be an issue.

‘It has been in the news that their numbers have been depleting, that’s why we are here - to encourage the numbers and help life.’

She added that the bees are quite simple to keep and that the association hopes they will produce some honey too.

There are three swarms at the allotments, with 20,000 bees each.

Mr Baldwin praised the swift action of Cllr Woodward and said the allotment users are hoping for a bumper crop this summer as the bees will pollinate their plants.

Following Sarisbury’s success, Hunts Pond Road allotments hope to follow suit and implement hives this year.