Allotment traders in Croydon are set to benefit from a £350k council improvement programme across six sites.

The money will be used for a range of works at council managed plots, including improving accessibility to and security on the sites.

In areas unsuitable for cultivation, the council will look to introduce beehives to help pollinate crops and increase yields.

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “It’s great we’re making improvements to the allotment sites we manage and I’m delighted we are able to announce the works during National Allotments Week!

"Allotments are a fantastic way for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and can be a real family affair, teaching children about fresh, home-grown produce.

“I hope these improvements will make gardening at the plots even-more pleasurable and encourages more people to find out about allotments in Croydon.”

The programme includes a new site hut for plot holders at Sanderstead, new perimeter fencing at Pampisford Road and repairing the paths at Hartley Downs.

There are also plans to install toilets at Midday Sun, Sanderstead and Orchard Avenue allotments, and to repairs the site hut roof at Mickleham Way.

All sites will also get new signage, a notice board and plot markers.

There are also plans to maximise and diversify the offer on allotments, including the re-commissioning of unused allotment plots, introducing raised bed plots for disabled users and the creation of new plots to reduce waiting lists.

Peter Hargreaves, 70, grows vegetables and cut flowers with his partner, Christine, at Hartley Down Allotment.

"Finding himself bored after taking early retirement, he came across the site by accident in July 2010, and became inspired by what he saw.

“With never having owned a garden and living in a flat it quickly became a wonderful passion. Totally absorbing, in the fresh air, keeping me fit, body and mind.

"I was able to make the most of the space, developing raised beds, structures to support and protect crops and create a small pond for wildlife.”