Ghosts and ghouls reign at Northfields Allotments’ Pumpkin Trail

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.”


PRESS RELEASE

31st October 2016

Ghosts and ghouls reign at Northfields Allotments’ Pumpkin Trail

On Saturday 29th October, Northfield Allotments’ Halloween Pumpkin Trail was visited by almost 2,000 brave local residents. This was the first time that the plotholders at Northfields Allotments on Northfield Avenue in West Ealing had opened up the gates and invited visitors to join them to celebrate Halloween. 

The pumpkin trail consisted of 150 carved pumpkins and led visitors through the allotments past witches’ grottos, scarecrows, cobwebs and many other spooky decorations. As darkness fell, the main path through the site was lit up with pumpkins.

Amongst other ghoulish treats, there were tasty homemade cakes, plants and produce, as well as a barbeque, hot soup and mulled wine. There was a raffle, tombola and yucky dip too.

The event was also attended by Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, and local councillors from both the Conservative and Labour parties.

Christina Fox, chairman of the Ealing Dean Allotment Society, said: “Our Halloween event was a fantastic success and we were delighted that almost 2,000 people from across Ealing were able to join us. It was a great opportunity for local residents to enjoy the many benefits that Northfields Allotments provide to the community.

“Northfields Allotments is an important historic site dating back to 1832 and a vital part of Ealing’s natural heritage. Everybody involved with the allotments is devastated that the landlord Pathways has designs to build on the site. Our Halloween event has again demonstrated how important the allotment is to the community here in Ealing and how valued our green spaces are by those who live in this built-up part of West London.”

Visitor comments included:

"It was really good. Children and us adults had lots of fun! People had put so much effort in to making it a lovely community affair. Well done to all involved!"

"We were so impressed with all the decorations and the cakes! Many thanks for all your efforts it was a great night!"

"It was really brilliant. Thanks to everyone who'd obviously made huge efforts. Please do it again!"

The plotholders at Northfields Allotments would also like to thank the many Ealing-based businesses who supported the event, including Cheddar Deli, the Drapers Arms, the Forester, Limeyard, Love Handmade, Marks & Spencer, the New Inn, Sainsburys, Tesco, Tiger and Wilkinsons.

** ENDS **

Notes to editors

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

Ian Burge
07789 515 881
ianrburge@gmail.com

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. 

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

The original Ealing Dean allotments were much larger, with land on both sides of Northfield Avenue. However, 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 72 people currently on the waiting list.

In early September 2016, plotholders at Northfields Allotments were informed by Pathways that it intends to construct a new housing development on part of the allotment site, a proposal that plotholders and local residents are currently opposing.