Thursday, 21 June 2018

Neglect and dilapidation at Gladstone Park allotments

The overgrown allotment plots at Gladstone Park
Following yesterday's article LINK on the state of Birchen Grove allotments, in which I asked if there was a similar issue at other Brent allotments I have received the following information regarding the Gladstone Park allotment site:

I got my plot after a 2 year wait.  Everything you wrote yesterday could have been about Gladstone Park allotments also. Had my plot been allocated back in the autumn, I could have made a good start on clearing the ground of the dense couch grass, horseradish, bindweed etc, getting them to rot over the winter and preparing the plot for planting. The council rejected my request for help with clearing it. 

I am aware of other newbies with worse plots which they have been told they must clear and dispose of the rubbish themselves – including bricks, broken glass, abandoned contents of sheds. Although there have been several waves this spring of allotments being released to newcomers, a number of allotments remain abandoned and dilapidated. I’ve attached a couple of photos of examples but there are more. As you say, you can see why newcomers become overwhelmed and give up, perpetuating the general neglect.
The allotment sheds
The council has no idea who rents the council sheds. 

The toilet
 The toilet apparently has not worked for some time and the internal key was lost, I don’t know the current situation. The on-site allotment offices are abandoned and locked up. More could be done to organise communally beneficial services such as bulk purchase of compost, maybe have a large polytunnel on the overgrown plot which used to be communal – like the one they showed on Gardeners World recently, where the wider community can get involved in the growing process.

Abandoned buildings
 The on site supervisor does her best with the lack of council support. There are incidents of theft. Apparently the allotment key fits every padlock on all the Brent allotments so there is no knowing who is coming in legitimately or not. Updating entry security is long overdue.


Trevor said...

The 'neglect' and 'dilapidation' at Gladstone Park allotments is a sad reflection of the neglect on a wider scale throughout Brent.
I have become accustomed to this having lived in Brent for the past 51 years.
In fact I say that if I saw anything other than neglect in Brent I would have to do a double take and rub my eyes to convince myself that I'm not dreaming.

Da Vikka said...

It is worth adding to this, that these photos are highly selective. Just looking in a different direction from the same place you would see well cultivated plots. There is a friendly and growing sense of community among the plotholders and many places where the cultivation is a credit to those who look after and live their it's.

Martin Francis said...

I take your point - it is the same on Birchen Grove but the problem is that the well-cultivated plots are suffering from grass and weed seed blown over from the over-grown plots which makes life that bit harder. My L shaped plot has uncultivated plots on three sides which isn't fun! Good management of the waiting lists would really help the problem.

Anonymous said...

I am quite shocked by the bias of this article. My plot is one of the very well kept plots that sit near photographs. The photographer has angled the camera to avoid capturing my plot or the ones next to mine to make his/her point.
There is a great community building at Gladstone allotments.
Allotments are very popular and lots of people sign up for one. Having waited for one, many then find it is not for them. It takes time for them to realise this and give the allotment up. It takes no time for the weeds to come in.
If the person who is writing this article is from our allotments, you are undermining our attempt to build up a community. If you are not from our allotments, please do not come into our community, take photos and draw us into your agenda with your unwelcome comments.

Unknown said...

You have been very selective with your photographs in this article. Why did you not take photos at Birchen Grove where you are a tenant.
The majority of the neglect is tenants not tending their plots. There is a culture within allotmenting of it being rather trendy with people taking on plots not realising that it's a lot of hard work. It was inevitable that things would take a downward turn with the last allotment officer leaving and the council not replacing her. Maybe you should use your energies to encourage the council to appoint a new officer who would lobby on tenants accounts to have some services available to them.

Martin Francis said...

Hi Marcia , the article was submitted by one of the Gladstone Park allotment holders in reaction to a post the day before by me. The author took the photographs, not me. I have visited Gladstone Park allotments and thought it was a great community.I published photographs of Birchen Grove in the earlier article. I agree with your point about people not realising how much work is involved, especially when taking over an overgrown plot. When it was clear that V was going to be made redundant I spoke up at a consultation meeting on her behalf. I published the original article, which I hope you will read, to make the case for proper management of the allotments. I apologise to anyone who feels this article was a attack on allotment holders themselves.

Martin Francis said...

This is the post where I invited other allotment holders to let me know if there were similar problems on their allotments as we have at Birchen Grove.

Unknown said...

Thank you Martin to replying. Apologies to you for assuming that you had been on site and taken these photographs. My point stands to whoever the plot holder was for taking these photos though. Apart from the photos taken by the car park the rest of the plots have tenants who for whatever their reasons are not tending their plots.