WORK on a community allotment has begun on an area of unused land within a major town.

Parts of unused land in Acklam, Middlesbrough, have been planted with fruit-bearing trees, as part of a new community allotment.

Working together, Middlesbrough Environment City, Incredible Edible Middlesbrough and housing-group Thirteen, planted the trees in Whinney Banks, earlier this week.

It is hoped that the 'orchard's' trees will grow pears, apples, cherries, hazelnuts and almonds within the next two years.

John Woods environmental specialist at Thirteen said: "We were approached by Middlesbrough Environment City to get involved in this project and were keen to make better use of this currently unused space behind some homes we manage in Whinney Banks.

"The site is approximately 2,100 square metres and we’re starting out by planting 24 nut and fruit trees that will hopefully form an attractive orchard that people in the area can enjoy – it's a long-term project and any produce from the site will be shared among volunteers who have contributed to maintaining the site and with residents living around the orchard."

Mr Woods said any surplus produce would be offered to nearby schools and community groups.

Joe Dunne of Middlesbrough Environment City said: “A lot of this project is about the process of planting, growing and eventually cooking and eating food that has been locally-sourced.

"As well as the benefits of the orchard itself, we will also be using the project to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles and helping to further increase the number and diversity of woodland in our urban area.

“We’ve worked with Thirteen on various projects across Middlesbrough and this was an ideal piece of land that we can work on to plant trees, re-wild the area and engage with the local community.”