Town orchard plan begins to bear fruit

Langford Community Orchard,Bicester.

Langford Community Orchard,Bicester.

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Plans to create a community orchard in Bicester are moving forward after volunteers won official backing last week.

The Langford Community Orchard Group was given permission to restore and manage the site for an initial period of six months by Bicester Town Council.

Volunteers including members of Grassroots Bicester and the Bicester Green Gym hope the large area of old orchard, next to the Claypits in London Road, could become an important educational resource for adults and children, as well as a source of fresh produce.

Councillor Lynn Pratt, chairman of Bicester Town Council’s environment committee, said: “We’ve agreed to let them have it initially for six months.

“They won’t be having to sign a lease agreement, and the council will retain the land. Any work they want to do will have to go through Chris Johnson, our outdoors manager.”

She said the first step would be to tidy up the orchard before further developments could take place.

“They’ve come up with a business plan and we’re happy with what they’ve done,” added Mrs Pratt.

“There’s a lot of fruit trees up there, it just needs restoring.

“If there’s any way we can help them, we will. The council is really behind what they plan to do.”

The group will host a welcome day at the orchard, from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, September 1.