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.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/ealingdean

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.

OUR COMMUNITY

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).

OUR WILDLIFE

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.

NO CHOICE?

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.

OUR CONCERN

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.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • 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.”


Here are a series of Maps of Ealing Dean from 1741 to 1865. The earlier maps show Ealing Dean Common and after 1832 they show the Parish Allotments which are were know as Ealing Dean Common allotments, then later Ealing Dean Allotments and more commonly these days Northfileds Allotments.

By Francesca (243b)

We thought a lot about what it should contain and in the end we decided on the day's newspaper, a letter about our daily lives, photos, an Argos catalogue, a tin of beans, some pictures drawn by 5 year old Marianne, a copy of Macbeth, maps of the local area, some seeds, a receipt showing the price of milk and bread, some Frozen stickers, a set of recent coins and

Time capsule buried at Northfield Allotment

We will be holding the last volunteer day of 2015 on Saturday 5th December. We will be working on the Radbourne walk, cutting back the plant growth, sweeping up the leaves, and giving it a good tidy up.

The people of Ealing are a curious bunch. At our first ever open day so many people said to me that they had often walked past the allotments and wondered what they were like inside. The assumption was that there would be row upon row of vegetables tended by a wizened old retired guy drinking tea from his flask. Of course, we do have a few of those, but we also have lots of young families and people who grow flowers.

All our prizewinners

Another strange object found whilst digging the allotment...  

A strange object found in the ground at Northfields Allotment

Saturday the 7th of November is the next Volunteer Day. We will be continuing the improvement of the grass along the ‘Long Walk’, the path that runs the length of the allotment. We will also be removing rubbish from a bank of soil from the main path. Food, hot drinks and water will all be provided.

Saturday the 3rd of October will be the next Volunteer Day. This time we will be aerating the soil along the ‘Long Walk’, our main grass path, to help the grass grow and keep our bugs and worms happy! We will also be removing consolidated rubbish that forms a bank in the main path.
Food, hot drinks and water will all be provided. You are welcome to bring an alcoholic beverage or cake along.

The next volunteer day is coming up on SATURDAY THE 1ST OF AUGUST.
This time, we will clean up the allotment ready for the open day on the 15th Aug . This will include the tidying up the communal area, cutting back plants and overhanging branches in the main path, cutting the grass path and reconstructing the WW2 Anderson air raid shelter.

A notice was sent to all plot holders, via email or post, on 1st July 2015, reminding people that using hosepipes connected to the water taps is a breach of the Tenancy Agreement and is also in contravention of the law. It also points out that, if prosecuted by Thames Water, both the tenant using the hosepipe and the site owner (Pathways) could be liable to a large fine per example.

Please give the notice (here) a careful read.

Looking around the allotments there are so many rows of veg with the promise of tastey sweetcorn and delicious tomatoes. But, for me, the best thing about having an allotment is growing flowers. 

Ealing Dean - Northfields allotment cut flowers

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