Allotment plot-holders have an extra reason to smile this National Allotments Week, as the council announce a £350k improvement programme for six Croydon sites.
The money will be used for a range of works at the sites which are managed by the council, including improving accessibility to and security on the allotments.
The six sites set to benefit from the works are:
- Hartley Down
- Mickleham Way
- Midday Sun
- Orchard Avenue
- Pampisford Road
- Sanderstead Allotments
Significant improvements, most of which will be completed within the coming year, include a new site hut for plot holders at Sanderstead, new perimeter fencing at Pampisford Road and repairing the paths at Hartley Downs. There are also plans to install toilets at Midday Sun, Sanderstead and Orchard Avenue allotments, and to repair the site hut roof at Mickleham Way. All sites will also get new signage, a noticeboard and plot markers.
There are also plans to maximise and diversify the offer on allotments, including the re-commissioning of unused allotment plots, introducing raised bed plots for disabled users and the creation of new plots to reduce waiting lists.
In areas unsuitable for cultivation, the council will look to introduce beehives to help pollinate crops and increase yields. The Croydon division of the Surrey Beekeepers are already based at Hartley Down and will support the council to ensure high standards of beekeeping are maintained.
The announcement comes as National Allotments Week gets under way. The annual, week-long celebration started in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities.
Peter Hargreaves, 70, grows vegetables and cut flowers with his partner, Christine, at Hartley Down Allotment. Finding himself bored after taking early retirement, he came across the site by accident in July 2010, and became inspired by what he saw.
“With never having owned a garden and living in a flat it quickly became a wonderful passion. Totally absorbing, in the fresh air, keeping me fit, body and mind. I was able to make the most of the space, developing raised beds, structures to support and protect crops and create a small pond for wildlife.”
For more information visit www.croydon.gov.uk/allotments
“It’s great we’re making improvements to the allotment sites we manage and I’m delighted we are able to announce the works during National Allotments Week! Allotments are a fantastic way for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and can be a real family affair, teaching children about fresh, home-grown produce.
“I hope these improvements will make gardening at the plots even-more pleasurable and encourages more people to find out about allotments in Croydon.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport