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Eynsham Parish Council

Allotment Scrapbook

Allotment Scrapbook

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What better time to check out Eynsham allotments - with memories of National Allotments Week (10-16 August 2009) dimming, the Village Show just behind us and Harvest Festival on the horizon? Please note, what follows is not necessarily endorsed by Eynsham Parish Council or the Allotments Association.


Blenheim Orange apples ripening in the autumn sun Image © Heather HornerThe village has 90 allotments spread over two fields, just off Oxford Road and beyond the eastern bypass. Eynsham Allotments Association manages them on a day-to-day basis as tenants of the Parish Council (the “allotment authority”), with one Parish Council representative on their committee. The rent for a plot is £18 a year, or £13 for over-60s. There were 12 names on the waiting list in August 2007; by August 2009 the number had risen to 20.

While allotments are increasing in popularity across the country, local responses to the situation vary:

RAISE CHARGES

  • Rents are restricted in law to what a person “may reasonably expect to pay”. The average rent for a 10 pole plot in England & Wales is £25 a year, according to the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG); though rates in Osney are only £14 a year. Even if City Council proposals of a 20.6% rise are accepted, they will still be under £17 (Oxford Mail 1 September 2009).
  • On the other hand, provision of additional facilities such as water and fencing may warrant a higher charge. “The allotment authority is under no mandatory obligation to provide water, or fencing, or pathways, or anything over and above the bare earth for cultivation”.

RATIONALISE

  • Divide plots in half when they become vacant. Ironically, this approach only increases demand, because smaller plots are more accessible to busy families. This was noted over two years ago on Spragglesea Mead & Dean's Ham allotments in Oxford (Daily Telegraph 14 Aug 2007). In any case, tenants may have a lawful claim to the regulation plot size of 300 sq yards or 250 sq metres = 10 pole or rod or 1/16 of an acre.
  • Reclaim underused plots. This is one of the strands of the Witney Allotment Campaign (WAC), started in July 2009. What justification can there be for allowing plots to go wild? Indeed, why are some tenants allowed to hold 3 or 4 plots in the first place?
  • Review membership criteria. Under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act (1908) every parish council has a duty both to provide a sufficient number of allotments and to let them to persons resident in the area. To remove any doubt, the Eynsham Allotment Handbook notes that “priority of allocation ... shall be for Eynsham residents”.

EXPAND

  • Allotment authorities are required to maintain an “adequate provision” of land. The Act further requires that “the authority must take into consideration any representations in writing made to them by any six registered parliamentary electors or ratepayers resident in the area”. So if you live in Eynsham and want an allotment plot the solution is in your hands.
  • You should write to the Clerk to the Parish Council in the first instance, though it would be helpful to send a copy to an officer of the Allotments Association. The Association's AGM will be held in October.

UPDATES AND LINKS

Related Documents
22/11/2011 Allotments Newsletter December 2011
19/04/2011 Eynsham Allotments Association Report
12/10/2010 Allotment Handbook & Constitution
20/04/2010 Eynsham Allotments Association Report
07/04/2010 Allotments Newsletter Spring 2010
21/04/2009 Eynsham Allotments Association Report
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    Maintaining an allotment requires commitment. Reginald Clarke on his allotment at Eynsham, with a giant cabbage, in 1954 - spotted in the Letters page of the Daily Telegraph on 1 May 2008.

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 03/02/2007

    Collective clear-up after layering of boundary hedges. Work on the allotment boundaries, funded by the Parish Council, has given due weight to environmental considerations. The phased layering of the hedge between the two fields and along the perimeter is a work of art, of which plot holders are justly proud.

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 03/02/2007

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 03/02/2007

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 03/02/2007

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 03/02/2007

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    Photo: Jane Bowley 24/08/2009

    Students from Abingdon & Witney college worked with Wychwood V to clear the path along the side of the allotments.

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: John Bannister 

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    Photo: John Bannister 

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Eynsham Online 31/08/2009

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    Photo: Heather Horner 09/09/2009

    South American Quinoa (say keen-waa) ripening in the autumn sun.

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    Photo: Heather Horner 09/09/2009

    Blenheim orange apples ripening on Heather's plot.

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    Photo: Heather Horner 09/09/2009

    Leeks, spinach, beetroot, winter radish, mangelwurzel and lettuce, as well as flowers.