ALLOTMENT gardeners in a North-East city have shrugged off their old image with the launch of an Internet site.

Every one of Newcastle's 65 allotment sites will have its own page on the web, where visitors can view information about facilities, plot vacancies, waiting lists and contact details.

Allotment associations are also being offered space to develop sites.

The campaign has been drawn up by Newcastle Allotments Working Group (AWG), which is responsible for the management of allotments.

AWG vice-chairman Gordon Chester said: "Historically, allotments have tended to operate in splendid isolation.

"This project is aimed at bringing the dozens of sites in Newcastle closer together so that they can co-operate in a drive to make more people aware of the pleasures, benefits and affordability of allotment gardening.

"It will also provide a forum for the exchange of views and ideas on a whole range of issues, from combating crime and vandalism to good management and community relations."