Grand Allotment Tour Part 2
Out early this morning with Lawrence the rep to visit some more sites.
First we went to Ford Lane, Crewe.
What a site – really sad to see. Many vacant plots and it suffers a lot from vandalism. The plots are very inconsistent in size and pathways are unmarked. On vacant plots are concrete foundations of buildings long gone, general rubbish and derelict sheds. One shed was falling down but filled inside with plastic rubbish bags filled with broken tiles.
There is no site rep at the moment, which can’t help. It really needs some money spending on it to clear the rubbish and put some paths in, more water etc. It would probably benefit from having the plots re-setup to give decent sized and half plots. The vandal problem could be cut down easily by planting a hedge to the outside of the fence that separates public green space from the site and just using a hedge trimmer on the inside of the fence.
Discussed with Lawrence the impotence of the allotment association and how it needs a good shake up to bring some pressure to bear onto the council or raise some funds. Being central to the town, Ford Lane could be a wonderful resource to the community for a little cost.
It is so depressing I am surprised it has any holders. It has 90 plots of which 42 are officially vacant although I suspect that figure is actually higher.
Next we went to Henry Street
What a difference. Although the site is pretty central to the town and doesn”t have a high fence around it, they haven?t got the vandalism problems of Ford Lane. When we arrived there were quite a few people on there including a group of old boys enjoying a brew and a chat.
The rep, Mrs Carolyn Rozzell, seems to have got a fair community spirit going and obviously runs a tight ship There are 61 plots and maybe a couple vacant. It was really nice to see one plot had a child?s play house and toys on it.
Allotments are a leisure activity nowadays, not just a survival vegetable garden.
Some of the plot holders had polytunnels and greenhouses devoted to growing chrysanthemums. I can?t quite see the fascination myself but it makes them happy.
Finally onto Hungerford Road
This site is run by Mrs Janet Boon and she has done a wonderful job. They have 57 plots with a couple vacant. She lives by the entrance ? really can?t get much closer. The individual plots are generally of a high standard with some lovely personal touches like hand painted and decorated plot numbers and water pipes boxed and decorated.
What really makes the site special are the community areas. First they have some large communal compost bins. I prefer making my own compost but it was nice to see a cooperative effort.
Next they have amalgamated 4 plots into a community garden with flowers, paths and sitting areas, complete with tables, chairs and benches, around a large pond stocked with fish.
Just a marvellous inspiration to any allotment site and proof that people can do far better than organisations such as the council when they get together. Not knocking the council here, they are just not able to do the same thing or grant the same sense of ownership.
After a cup of coffee with Janet and her husband, we headed back. Lawrence mentioned how well women handled the role of allotment rep. But was not keen on my suggestion that he has a sex change.
We were going to visit Electricity Street but time was pressing so missed it this time.
Women on the allotment plot
I have noticed how the retired flat cap image of allotment holders is still prevalent despite the actuality of them being a hobby for women and younger people. They even have a schoolboy with a plot on Henry Street. That?s not to say they aren?t a great occupation for the retired chap.
For some reason, women seem more committed to it when they take a plot on. They also tend to make good gardeners because they, at the very least, read the instructions on the seed packet!
Update on the thief
Turns out the Tony M had his pumpkins taken too. Long chat with Lawrence over it and we went through everyone we could think of. No-one is a suspect but we feel sure it is an ‘inside job’ so everyone is a suspect, which is worse.