We've just been reflecting on the future of the project to create the orchard site at Turnditch. The current objective is to provide an amenity space for the public. A lot of the work and financial investment so far has been targeted at providing a safe place for local children and families to visit. It's been a lot of hard physical work to clear the previous neglected scrub land. The recent events of theft, intrusion and damage to the fences makes us wonder if there's some resistance or lack of support from the local population.
In reality the land is not of any great agricultural value, it is too narrow for economic farming. Perhaps it might be better if we used the land for development instead of the orchard. We should be able to house ten families on the land with some careful development of suitable multi-occupancy buildings. It will still be possible to provide social benefit from the project by making the housing low cost for families who cannot afford the high Turnditch property prices. Alternatively it would be an ideal location to house some refugee families. My friends in the Home Office tell me they are desperate for such sites for the Syrian refugees and will provide substantial grants for such developments. It would also help Derbyshire County Council meet its targets for housing refugees.
We won't make a decision yet, and will continue with the orchard project. However before we invest too much more of our retirement savings in this project, it is probably worth visiting some old friends in Whitehall to sound out their views.