A working party has been formed with a view to saving Great Ayton allotments by buying the land – and volunteers are being sought to help with fundraising.

Tenants on the site, at Guisborough Road, were left shocked when a "for sale" board appeared in mid-September.

The ten-acre allotments gardens site containing 178 plots, and an area of adjacent grassland, have been put on the market by its owners in two separate lots with the guide price set at offers over £250,000 and £195,000 respectively.

Great Ayton Parish Council leases the allotments land from the owners, and in turn rents it to the allotment holders.

Darlington and Stockton Times: From left, Tamzin Little, Jackie Walker, David Mason and Brian Pearce

Several meetings have taken place following the land going up for sale, and a working party and residents delivered questionnaires to every household in Great Ayton. There was also an online petition to gauge local opinion regarding support for a community purchase of the allotment land, with the responses to both being overwhelmingly supportive of the plan.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The allotments in Great Ayton

North Yorkshire Council has recently granted the allotment land "asset of community value" (ACV) status, which means there is recognition that it is currently used to further the social wellbeing and interests of the community.

The date for submitting offers for the land has now passed, but campaigners say the ACV has provided the opportunity to investigate the feasibility of making a bid for the land. The working group is exploring a number of potential funding options.

A spokesperson said the next phase of the attempt to maintain the land for current and future allotment holders will require significant effort from volunteers with a range of experiences, particularly regarding fundraising.

Anyone who could help their efforts is urged to make contact via greataytonallotments@gmail.com.