Not A Lot Of Allotments
I’ve been thinking about allotments (again…) There was a time when Greenwich was covered with them – look at old maps and you’ll see that much of the Peninsula and quite a lot of space around Tunnel Avenue was given over to allotment and market gardening land.
Someone suggested I start a petition to get Greenwich Council to create more allotments, but I have a sneaking suspicion from a feature I read about those (much loved) allotments that were destroyed in Ilford last year, that although the law says the council has to provide sites, it’s not specific about where they should be.
The thing is that Greenwich does have allotment sites available (or did last time I asked.) Problem is that they’re right at the far end of the borough – a good car journey or several bus rides away, which makes them impractical to get to on a regular basis without further warming the globe and allotmenteers’ tempers. They are situated where many people already have large houses and gardens so don’t really need allotments too. Here, in more built-up Greenwich, where many have flats or micro-gardens, the demand is fierce and supply minuscule.
Trouble is, that if we tried to get Greenwich Council to provide sites on legal basis, I suspect they’d just say they were fulfilling their statutory duty by providing land in the outskirts.
But here’s a thought. What if we were to suggest spare scraps of land which are currently just derelict – or that would never be used for housing anyway. Perhaps the council could purchase it cheaply or negotiate with the owners to create new sites, if they were put under enough pressure. After all allotments are trendy right now – it would give the council acres of things to write about in Greenwich Time now that they’ve knocked the pics of Chris Roberts on the head.
Railway land. This is a traditional source of allotments, especially Ooop North. There’s that bit around Westcombe Park’s North platform, for starters – South East Trains have, perhaps unwisely – planted Eucalyptus trees there – they will need to come down before they get much bigger or they’ll undermine the houses. But create a couple of plots there and the extra people tending their allotments may help stop vandalism. On the South side is that bit of concreted land at the end of Westcombe Hill, just begging to be taken over.
Motorway Land. Slightly more prone to pollution, but plant lots of trees between the motorway and that strip of land alongside Tunnel Avenue, and there are a dozen or more plots to be had.
That Old Factory Site in Charlton. I’ve no idea what it was but it runs along Woolwich Road; ASDA runs along the back of it. It’s effectively one enormous walled garden, as far as I can see. The only difference being that at the moment all it’s producing is weeds and dead shopping trolleys.
The Peninsula. Has it all been bought by consortia? Or is there space to bring back what was historically a green and fertile veg plot?
Lovell’s Wharf. Is it too late to slap a Section 106 on it requiring land for people who buy the flats to grow some food on it if they wish?
Do you know of an unloved space that could provide an allotment or two? Or am I just being Saddo Fantasist Phantom?