PLANS are in place to give residents an influence in the running of allotments in the borough.

Wigan Council has decided to incorporate allotments into its community scheme The Deal which will see the local authority working closely with residents to have access to plots of lands.

Groups will be able to apply for allotments to be transferred to them by a community asset transfer, which will allow residents to get involved in planting and growing and give more people access to a plot.

It is hoped this approach will cut down allotment misuse where people are neglecting their plot or have abandoned it.

Figures suggest that more than 150,000 hours are spent on 615 allotment plots across the borough every year.

The council provides 311 "statutory" allotment plots, which are protected by law, and 244 temporary or "non-statutory" sites.

There is flexibility on the latter to be opened up to the community.

At present, there is a four to seven year wait for an allotment but the new approach would mean there are options for people on that waiting list to share or access a plot much earlier.

The council will work alongside community groups and the voluntary sector to support them taking ownership of an allotment and help them offer activities and opportunities for residents.

Many allotments are not accessible so groups may look into making them available for the community with new paths and raised beds for planting.

Cllr Nazia Rehman, cabinet member for resources, finance and transformation at the council, said: “Allotments are a great way to keep active in the community and can have a positive impact on someone’s health and wellbeing.

“There are plots across the borough which are unmanageable and need bringing back to life.

"We hope by working in partnership with the community we can open these up to residents and increase the number of people with access to an allotment.

“There are a whole range of opportunities for food growing, through Incredible Edible, and for gardening for children, young people and adults of all ages.

“Being involved with an allotment can be a great way to stay active in the community and reduces social isolation which is exactly what we want to achieve through The Deal.”