Radbourne Walk - 2015 plan
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.
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.”
Our plans for the Radbourne walk for 2015 were expanded from our early goals in 2014. This was due to a potential grant from Transform your space. We came third in the TYS listings and have the potential for some money from this project. We will be working on raising crowdsourcing money in 2015.
In 2014 we held regular volunteer days and worked, section by section removing rubble, glass and rubbish from the walk. We cleared two skips worth of rubbish, now the "clean up" has been completed. As we no longer need to dig up the planting areas it has been enjoyable to see the plant species growing to their full potential. There is now a need for regular maintenance and specific tasks and so little and often is our goal.
The Basic plan includes:
- Regular litter picking and removal of refuse in the walk
- Continued annual wildflower sowing and native biennials introduction
- Continued Local native plants introduction, sourcing more local native species that dont exisit in the walk at present.
- Basic plant management, like stinging nettle reduction and bramble cutting that comes through from the allotments.
- Info signs for general public
Things to look out for in 2015:
- We added four native biennial species Wild foxglove, Weld, Great Mullein and Viper's Bugloss they will come up at different time during the year, these are added as feature plants giving a splash of colour and height to the walk.
- Poppies and Corn flower, these annuals have again been seeded and there has been a good growth of poppies which should be flowering from June onwards.
- English Bluebells and Snowdrops we added in 2014 and we saw them flower in early 2015, as time goes by we hope they will spread and give a good show in early spring.
- New introduced Local native species which have been "grown on" on my allotment including, Yarrow, Lesser Knapweed, Meadow Saxifrage, Red Clover, Meadow Cranesbill, Chicory
- Some species that have "come up" in the walk by themselves some not true natives but possible allotment or garden escapes, Red Campion, Honesty, Oxe-eye Daisy. I will leave these species to add variety to the walk.
Volunteer sessions for 2015
- Volunteer Day Sat. 7th November 2015
- Volunteer Day Sat. 5th December 2015
- Volunteer Day Sat. 6th February 2016
You can email us at email@example.com if you would like to be notified about more details regarding the Radbourne Walk.