The Duke was delighted to be able to help and agreed to lease an area of 2 acres farmland on part of Floors Home farm to the Society, sufficient for around 60 plots for local gardening enthusiasts.
After obtaining planning permission and preparing the site, the allotments were opened officially by the Duke on 4 June 2013.
At the opening the Duke of Roxburghe said: "We are delighted to be able to assist the community in the provision of allotments for Kelso. We were initially approached by the Provost three years ago and a power of work has gone into the project since then, including the erection of a new storage building, fencing and parking and paths much of which was carried out by the Allotment Society in collaboration with the estate. With the increasing interest in grow-your-own and a strong demand for allotments for residents, the Estate was very keen to try to help when we became aware of the lack of any suitable land within the town itself."
Funding was also provided through the Roxburgh Communities Grant Scheme and a local charity, Charity Begins at Home.
A previous shortage of allotment space in Kelso made the new allotments even more special.
One local gardening enthusiast who secured a plot was Jimmy Fleming, who said:
“I’ve been waiting for an allotment for as long as I can remember and I know that in major cities across Scotland the waiting lists are full up ten or twenty years in advance! Kelso was crying out for this and people are very keen to gain all of the benefits that come from allotments. Those don’t just involve having some vegetables of your own but a year-round hobby that keeps you occupied, can be social, brings out your creative side and the feeling you have really achieved something wholesome that is yours alone”.
The Duke continued: "The Estate’s farm manager considers the land to be one of the best fields on Floors Home Farm with productive, deep soil, so it should provide good growing conditions for allotment holders."
The news of this new allotment site was welcomed by Scottish Land & Estates. The organisation’s Director of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs Sarah-Jane Laing said: “Private landowners have an excellent track record for providing land for allotments, but a practical written guide was recently launched to make the process easier in light of the current public demand for community growing spaces. It is hugely encouraging to see Roxburghe Estates put the guide advice into practice and open up space for communities where it will be much appreciated”.