Volunteer Day Saturday March 7th - Come and join us!

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.”


As usual, we will be running our volunteer day on the first Saturday of the month.  The next volunteer day is Saturday 7th of March (starting at 10.00 am) when we will continue to work on the hedgerow.  With your help last month we removed litter and rubbish from the hedgerow all along the right hand side of the main gate.  Thanks again for your help, it's made a huge difference!  This month we will be doing the same on the hedgerow along the left hand side of the main gate, we would love for you to join us.
 
Removing the litter and rubbish will improve the look of the site and improve wildlife habitat.  We will be removing some of the fencing panels to get access to the mounds of bottles, cans and general rubbish that has accumulated over the years. 
 
Removing the litter is the start of the hedgerow restoration.  
 
We have also applied for a grant to:
• Plant more native hedgerow trees in the gaps 
• Increase the diversity of the hedgerow by including other species
• Remove  trees unsuitable to the hedgerow (eg Sycamore)
• Pollard the willows
• Lay the hedge in certain areas - to ensure a denser hedge to make it a more efficient barrier and wildlife haven for birds and hibernating creatures.
 
If you would like to volunteer have a look at the image below for details. It's a good way to meet other people and there will be tea, coffee and cake!
 
We'll stop mid-morning for tea and cake.
We'll probably wrap things up around 13.00. But if you are keen and eager you're very welcome to stay - there are always plenty of jobs that need doing.
 
We do have tools...forks, secateurs and wheelbarrows - plus gardening gloves.  However, if you have your own fork or secateurs feel free to bring them along - just in case we run out. 
 
Please note - we highly recommend you wear long trousers to protect your legs against nettles, thistles and brambles.  Please wear sensible shoes for gardening, getting muddy and to protect your feet.  Paths are uneven and can be slippery when wet.  If it has been raining - wear waterproof shoes/boots or your feet will get soaked.  
 
If it rains we will not cancel - remember "There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes".... 
 
If you have any questions do contact us by email.  We look forward to meeting you on Saturday 7th March at 10.00 at the big double gates on Northfield Ave (map below).  I do hope you'll come along and meet the rest of the volunteers.  We’re a friendly bunch.
 
Thanks and looking forward to seeing some of you there!
Map to Bishops Gate, Northfield Allotment, Ealing