Turn Round at Lower Road Allotments

A wonderful write up of what’s been happening recently at Lower Road Allotments featured in the latest “ALLOTMENT & LEISURE GARDENER”, magazine of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardens.

The allotments here have been in existence since the late 1800s, on land that was owned by the Hart Dyke family of Lullingston Castle in Eynsford, Kent, (home to Tom Hart Dyke’s famous World Garden). The land was sold to Orpington Parish Council in 1929 for £750 and is now owned by the London Borough of Bromley. The site covers an area of approximately 4.75 acres and there are approximately 90 plots of 250 square metres.

A new committee was formed in April 2014 and due to the efforts of our Site Manager James Summers, our Secretary Douglas Stoten and our Chairman Stephen Langford, they were able to obtain a grant of £1600 from the Cray Valley Initiative Fund and Cllr Arthur of Bromley Council. This was granted to purchase a second hand 20 foot sea container for use as a secure trading hut as our old hut had been broken into so many times and equipment had been stolen. We were also lucky to receive a cheque for £300 from Waitrose supermarket in Green St Green which enabled us to pay the VAT on the container.

We then applied for a grant from the Big National Lottery Fund and were given a grant of £9,978 from the fund. This will allow us to install new gates and security fencing on the site. We will also use the funding to provide ergonomic equipment for people with any form of disability and to allow community access for physical and mental wellbeing activities. We have set aside a half plot which can be used by all our plot holders for BBQs etc. and we hope to provide access to the elderly and lonely neighbours who reside in the local area via the church of St Andrews, which Is next to us in Lower Road. It is the committee’s wish to make the allotments part of the community, involving all those who wish to partake.

We have had a number of BBQs since April and have managed to raise enough money from them to enable us to convert the old trading hut into a purpose built new community room that can be used not only by our own plot holders but also by the playgroups run at the church of St Andrews. It has been fully insulated and has new walls and ceilings. We have also installed new double-glazed windows and a double glazed door. Lighting has also been installed via a small generator and there is a sink and tea making facilities.

The new gates and fencing have now been installed and they were opened by the Bishop of Rochester at 9.00am on the 25th October. We also had our three local councillors on hand and our local newspaper, the New Shopper, around to take photos and to
publicise the event.

We are not stopping there. Our next challenge is to raise enough money to provide a new internal roadway and pathway from our car park so as to enable access for disabled people to make use of our new facilities.

Following on from there we hope again to raise further funds so that we can install a compostable toilet on site for the convenience of everyone.

Great things have happened since the new committee took over and we are committed to finding new projects that will benefit not only our plot holders but also the old and lonely of our community.

David Bennett

Trading Secretary, Lower Road Allotments

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