We’ll grow our own apples and pears

Keith Hutson, who is setting up the Warley Community Orchards scheme.
Keith Hutson, who is setting up the Warley Community Orchards scheme.
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The pilot Warley Community Orchards scheme is then expected to be rolled out across the district.

Keith Hutson (Lib-Dem, Warley) has already got council approval for his idea and the legal template is being drawn up.

The council will then handover plots of land to Halifax in Bloom which will work with community groups.

Councillor Hutson has spent his working life in horticulture and is a lecturer in Cheshire.

He has been identifying green spaces in the ward suitable for the planting of trees and bushes.

He is vice-chairman of Halifax in Bloom which will act as the umbrella group for smaller community groups which will work the sites.

“Halifax in Bloom is well established and will give the idea longevity and we need to give a guarantee we are in this for the long-term,” he said.

“And, it’s easier to deal with one group rather than several.”

Halifax in Bloom will apply for funding for fruit trees initially and fruit hedges and benches could follow.

Councillor Hutson said funders liked schemes that could develop and which engaged different community groups.

“There will be no restriction on who can pick a plum/apple/pear - they will be there for the community,” he said.

Vandalism could be a problem but Coun Hutson said a tree planting scheme at West View Park, Halifax, had been flourishing for 18 months despite some vandalism.

“You have to take the rough with the smooth and this is about bringing community groups together so barriers are broken down.

“It’s about local pride and taps into all the movements such as Totally Locally, the green economy, caring for communities and localism.”

The idea is an offshoot from the Incredible Edible scheme in Todmorden which has seen fruit and veg grown around the town and attracted national and international media coverage.