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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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New Carlisle allotments inspired by Victorians

A Carlisle entrepreneur is turning back the clock to build an allotment site inspired by Victorian market gardens.

The GrowAlotMore project will include about 100 allotments where people can grow their own vegetables, flowers and fruit. Work has already started on the four-acre site and half the plots are almost ready.

Christopher Harrison, chairman of the Christopher Harrison Group, planned the Harraby Green development himself.

He said: “I studied pictures of Victorian kitchen gardens in stately homes where there was a need to produce food for vast numbers of people on the estates. They also needed to be pleasing to the eye.

“Our design took shape when we put those two points together. It should add value to the feel of the Harraby Green community.”

The site is next to the Highgrove estate, where the company is mid-way through building 97 luxury homes. It features fenced-off ‘rabbit free’ plots, a communal fruit orchard and water and electricity at no extra charge.

Beds will be raised for the disabled, with wide pathways for wheelchair access and a covered potting shed for protection from the weather. Planning permission is also being sought for a community cafe on the site.

Mr Harrison added: “The Victorian garden emphasises the company’s interest in the community and we expect it to become a hub for local people. The ‘allotmenteers’ will love it, particularly when we get the cafe where they can chat about their day’s toil.”

Work began on Highgrove in February 2008, at the crest of the credit crunch and the subsequent collapse in house prices. The company opted to stagger the work in a bid to bring the homes onto the market gradually. Eighteen were built in the first two stages, most of which have now been sold, and a further 10 are now underway.

Having grown up in Harraby Green on what was then the family farm, Chris Harrison says he is committed to the area. He established the Harraby Green Business Park, where his company’s HQ is based. It stands on the site of the 11th-century Ling’s Mill, which was the last water-powered corn mill in Carlisle until it closed in 1963.

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