Allotment Pump Project

London's oldest surviving allotment is facing the threat of being built on thanks to plans by its landlord to construct a new housing development on part of the allotment site. 

We desperately need to raise funds to pay for legal and specialist advice to help save our much loved allotments. 
If you can spare just a few pound we would be very grateful for your help and support.

In early September 2016 the charity, Pathways, contacted plotholders at Northfield Allotments in Ealing to announce its proposal to build on 10% of the allotments. The development would include a five to six story block of social housing and four houses for sale to help fund the development.

Northfield Allotments are the oldest allotments in London. They were given by the Bishop of London to the people of Ealing in 1832, and are held as a permanent endowment. The charity Pathways is our landlord and the site is managed by a committee of seven plotholders. There are 141 plots.


The plotholders are a diverse range of ages and nationalities. Twenty nine of our plotholders live in flats – this is their only garden. We have around 50 children who have a safe place to play and learn about fruit and veg and get a chance to see tadpoles, stag beetles, bats and hedgehogs.
There are more than 25 pensioners who have a place to grow their own food and there is always company, someone to talk to. You are never alone when you have an allotment. People are friendly here and we share seedlings and produce.

We have counted 27 different nationalities – the only qualification to getting a plot is a love of gardening and the patience to wait on our waiting list (currently 72 people).


The hedgerow around the site is around 900m long and has been designated, by Ealing Borough council, a SINC - Site of Interest for Nature Conservation. It is an important and safe habitat for our hedgehogs, many nesting birds and insects. The allotments are a habitat for stag beetles, which are endangered and protected. With perfect timing the many visitors to our Halloween open day saw our bats flying around the site catching night flying insects.


On the 25th September at a special general meeting, the plotholders unanimously voted to oppose Pathways’ plans to concrete over the allotments.
We understand that social housing is important – but so are green open spaces. It shouldn’t have to be a choice of one or the other. We believe Pathways’ trustees have not fully considered alternatives to their proposal to ‘temporarily’ move 18 residents into what will be a permanent development on the allotments.

We believe a permanent endowment should be permanent.


The original allotments were much larger than they are today: 60% of the allotments were lost in the 1970s due to compulsory purchase by the council and building by Pathways. Our concern is that if planning permission is granted this time around it will be easier to lose more allotment land in the future as the pressure for housing so close to a Crossrail station increases.

When we lose green space we never get it back.


  • Please write to your local councillors to let them know what you think of the proposal.
  • Write to the Ealing Gazette and Ealing and Northfield forums.
  • Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with what is going on.
  • We need specialist help, especially once the plans are submitted to Ealing Council. This will cost money. So, please help by donating whatever you can to our fighting fund.

Please help us protect the allotments for another 184 years.

Many thanks for all your help and support.

The Ealing Dean Allotment Society.

I’m going to leave the final word to Fran, one of our plotholders (who will lose her plot if the development goes ahead)…

“My allotment means a lot to me - we live in a third floor social housing flat with no access to a garden of our own. In 18 months my daughter and I have transformed the plot from weeds and brambles to our own little patch of heaven and my daughter has learned so much she never would have been able to before, from where our food comes from to the lifecycle of the frog - and she now wants to be a gardener when she grows up.”

Allotment Pump Project

In 2015 i started a project endorsed by the Ealing Dean Allotment Committee to instal four pumps into existing wells on the Northfields Allotments. The pumps are for all plot holders to use, therefore it was necessary to have the agreement of the plot holder to allow people to use the pump and that it was preferably in a location that was easy for plot holders to use. The four plots that were chosen were 155A, 161B, 164 and 213.

Plot 155A is a plot in the south part of the allotment. It has a well that has been created with circular barrels placed on top of each other. The well top has been capped with a man hole cover as other well have been. There is a small amount of material in the bottom of the well under the water level. This well will have a village style pump installed and a new wooden well top and a dip tank which is a old water tank. Work will commence in April/May 2015

Plot 161B is a plot on the south part of the allotment. This plot has a very interesting well and tank construction quite different to other plots. I have been told that "Welsh Peter" created this well and pump system and it was in use even after 1998. It is said that he used a pump and ran a series of pipes most likely into barrels and tanks as there is still some sunken bathes on the plot. I have estimated that he may have used a rotary pump which are very easy to move and do not require a fixed position ie. static pump stand. This is going to be the most interesting of all the four pumps and the reconstruction odf the tanks and well tops will make an interesting feature along with the pump.

Plot 164 is a plot on the south end of the allotment. This well has a metal bar construction over the well top and an existing metal pipe protruding out of the well top. It was realised that there would have been some type of pump fixed to the metal bar above the well. I have been told by Milko a long time plot holder that it was a rotary pump and that the plot holder "took it with him" when he left the allotment. We have installed a K3 semi-rotary pump on the plot, One: because it fits the existing metal frame and Secondly: because two other semi-rotary pumps have been found on the allotments, so we know that type has been used on the allotment. Installation work on the pump started in March 2015 and was completed in April 2015.

Plot 213 is on the north end of the allotment. This plot has an existing well with a concrete slab on the top. The current plot holder was able to purchase a village style pump for £10 from ebay and was planning to instal the pump at some point. When the Allotment Pump Project was started i approached Nick to see it he would like us to complete the installation. He has happy for us to do the work and we purchased the bottom cast iron stand and installed the pump. The complication on this project was that the well had been partially filled in with rubbish including carpet, plastic cups, plastic barrels and bags. In the clearing out of the well a certain amount of disturbance was created and the well that was completely drained still has a certain amount of clay falling into the pipe work, this will however clear with regular use within a few months and it is expected to a reliable source of clean water in the future. installation work started in April 2015 and was completed in the same month.