Friday, September 18

Better very, very late than never.

Once upon a time there was a Green Lane Allotments Association which I chaired and Martyn was treasurer for.

The main aim of the association was to raise funding in order to carry out improvements to the site. In fact this blog and my website were originally set up in order to drive fund raising and support grant applications. In fact much of the funding was raised by gardening companies kindly donating  in return for an advert and as commission for sales they generated. As we acquired sufficient funding various projects were completed such as the replacement of the entrance fence and gate.
Details of these can be found on my website here.

The next project that our sights were fixed on was to replace the fence at the top end of the site and fund raising for this was well under way.
Then for reasons that I won’t go into, the association was disbanded six years ago and the bank made the account dormant.

In a conversation with one of the allotment officers I asked whether there was any way that the money sitting in this account could be used by the council to maybe match fund and replace the top section of fencing. As a result I was put in contact with Claire Smith an engagement's officer with the council.

Claire made various enquiries and it became apparent that no match funding was forthcoming but that we could afford to replace the top fencing with a cheaper type of fencing than originally planned.

Whilst Claire worked on getting the work organised, Martyn and I approached the bank to claim the money from the dormant account. Five months later, after completing forms - twice, hours of telephone calls, stupid bank errors and frustrating meetings with the bank culminating with a visit where we made it clear that we were going nowhere until something was sorted out, we received a cheque which was passed to the council.

We only had enough money to fund a new piece of fencing but not enough to replace the gate so Claire explored other funding routes and grants but with no success.

We then decided to try appealing for support from our ward councillors and received a very positive response.
Now an ex-councillor, Rory Bickerton was successful in an application for funding from the Neighbourhood Improvement Fund which would pay for the gate.

The first stage of the work involved the clearing the area of brambles etc. This proved to be more problematic than expected and so an arborist was called in before fence installation could proceed.

Claire requested new padlocks which the council agreed to provide and so finally after various glitches along the way his phase of our original plan has been completed.

As can be seen in the photos below the removal of the old fence revealed years' worth of litter that Claire is hoping to arrange to have cleared up.

Many thanks to Claire for her efforts and support, our local councillors for obtaining the additional funding for the gate and to Jan for adapting the gate so that the lock is accessible from both sides.

Our original long term plan was to go on to replace the fencing behind the allotments alongside the main entrance and repair gaps in the hedge down the long boundary.

Obviously neither of these projects will be completed unless someone else takes them on and as for the new piece of fencing it’s better very, very late than never.


Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett



28 comments:

  1. It looks very smart with the new fencing. What about allotment subs? Aren't they used for jobs such as this?

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    1. All the money paid by plot holders goes info the central council coffers to distribute as it feels fit, Jo. Allotments has a small budget which is probably. eaten up by admin and essential repairs .

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  2. It sounds like a lot of work, but it looks lovely.

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    1. The most hassle for us was getting the money from the bank. We had to fill forms in twice and they sent a cheque made out in the wrong name twice, The first time to the account that was closed. I spent a full morning ion the pho,e to them and then we went to the bank and made them realise that the only way to get rid if us was to sort it out.

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    2. We sympathise with you - we are currently trying to get the bank to release funds for a club as the organisers have changed. Just a nightmare of inefficiency at every level and we've had to hassle the national head office to get anything started.

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    3. I wonder whether it is the same bank or are all as bad?

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  3. Very impressive, it took a lot of hard work on your part to get it done too. x

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    1. A lot of hard work from Claire too, Jo. We couldn't have done it without her.

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  4. What a lot of dedicated extra work, but so worth it. Very well done to you, Claire, Rory, Jan and the local councillors.

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  5. Well done to you and Martyn for having the zeal and determination to carry out this important work for your allotment it does look really excellent now

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    1. It's certainly better than it was David.

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  6. A job well done. A shame that the council isn't prepared to put forward any funding for anything though. They never seem to have the interests of allotment holders at heart.

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    1. Other things take priority I suppose CJ but it is a shame that our rents etc is not used for the benefit of allotment sites,

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    2. Totally agree - 90% of our allotment boundary consists of wooden fencing owned by the houses surrounding the site. When the owners decide not to repair or replace rotten or collapsed fencing, our plots are left completely open (especially those of us adjacent to the houses). The Borough refuses to install its own boundary fencing and so we pay our fees but get no real services in return.

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    3. Boundary fences are an issue S and D and many grants won't entertain funding them.

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  7. The Allotment site is lucky to have people as energetic as you and Martyn to look after its needs! Most people just rely on the magic "somebody" to sort things out for them.

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    1. That 'somebody' isn't us any more Mark.

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  8. I was just wondering the same thing as Jo - you would think that a good portion of the allotment fees would be earmarked for repairs to the very thing that is generating the revenues.
    Margaret

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    1. You would think that wouldn't you, Margaret? But that isn't the case. We used to have a skip provided twice a tear at least but no longer. The council provided two new padlocks and the leys.

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  9. Oh well done Sue - your perseverance has paid off! I've only recently retired as secretary of our allotment association. Back in 2011 I was involved in trying to obtain funding to buy and instal a composting toilet. We got there with a lot of support from our council's community development officer (who is probably the equivalent of your Claire) and blood, sweat and tears on my part completing an application form for lottery funding. I'm pleased to say that the application was successful.The majority of the money came from funding although the association also made a contribution. As you suggest the councils seem to have limited funds for allotments and in my experience that money is being reduced year by year whilst allotment rents have increased (steeply for us).







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    1. Our rents and water rates are high too, Anna especially when compared across the country, Facebook often has comparisons and some are mind blowingly cheap and pay less for a plot than we do just for water.

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  10. The fact that the fencing is finally done must give you and Martyn some satisfaction, Sue. This episode must make you jolly glad you're no longer involved with the allotment committee. Although it's nice to all pull together for the benefit of the community, there's only so much bashing your head against a brick wall that you can take. Well done for getting this far.

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    1. We're just happy to have the money accounted for. There is no longer an allotment committee Caro and we were glad not to be still involved a long time before this.

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  11. Job well done Sue! Thumb up to you both! ;)

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  12. Well done for persevering Sue, but goodness, what an epic!

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    1. That's only the tail end of the epic saga, Janet.

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