London's oldest allotments recognised as asset of community value despite development threat

PRESS RELEASE

10th April 2017

London's oldest allotments recognised as asset of community value despite development threat

London's oldest allotment site has received official recognition from Ealing Council as an asset of community value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2011.

Northfields Allotments on Northfield Avenue in Ealing dates back to 1832, making it London’s oldest surviving allotment. The site’s classification as an ACV recognises its importance to the local community.

The decision to include Northfields Allotments on Ealing Council’s list of ACVs was confirmed on Friday 7th April 2017 by Lucy Taylor, Ealing Council’s Director for Regeneration and Planning. London’s oldest allotments join other sites and buildings in Ealing listed as community assets including Southall Library, Hanwell Community Centre and part of Warren Farm, also in Southall.

The recognition comes at an important time for Northfields Allotments since plotholders were informed by their landlord, Pathways, last year that it intends to develop part of the allotment site for housing.

A petition opposing the proposed development on Northfields Allotments has been set up by plotholders and has received over 2,700 signatures to date. This will be delivered to Ealing's planning department once Pathways submit their application for the development in the coming months.

Christina Fox, chairman of the Ealing Dean Allotment Society (EDAS) which oversees the management of the Northfields Allotments, said: ‘Receiving formal recognition for Northfields Allotments as an asset of community value means a great deal and confirms what we knew already, namely that the benefits the allotments bring to both plotholders and the wider local community are extremely important and worth protecting.

“Since we were informed by our landlord Pathways that it intends to build on the allotment site, we have been overwhelmed by the strength of local feeling against the plans. It is clear that the majority of our neighbours strongly oppose any development of Northfields Allotments and the resultant loss of an important part of Ealing’s natural heritage to housing.

“The site’s status as an asset of community value will be taken into account by Ealing Council when it decides whether to approve the planning application from Pathways, however it will only be one factor in the decision, so it is vital that everybody in Ealing who opposes the plans continues to make their views known.

“We would urge people to continue to show their opposition to the proposed development by signing our petition and would like to thank everybody who has already added their name."

** ENDS **

Notes to editors

For further information and images of Northfields Allotments, please contact:

Ian Burge
07789 515 881
ian.burge@ealingdean.co.uk

About Northfields Allotments

At almost two hundred years old, Northfields Allotments is London's oldest allotment site. It dates back to 1832, when the Bishop of London enclosed the site for use as allotments by the local community.

Pathways is the housing charity that currently holds the land in trust. The site is managed by the Ealing Dean Allotment Society (EDAS), which consists of allotment tenants.

The original Ealing Dean allotments were much larger, with land on both sides of Northfield Avenue. However, approximately thirty years ago the land to the west of Northfields Avenue was compulsorily purchased and built on.

The Northfields Allotments site comprises the remaining 141 allotments on the eastern side which are fully rented, with over 70 people currently on the waiting list.