|Birchen Grove allotments in Kingsbury|
In Spring 2016 Brent Council consulted on the possibility of our allotments becoming self-managing. Allotment holders were not enthusiastic LINK and as far as I know none, apart from Kingsbury which was already self-managing, opted to self-manage.
I spoke up for the then Council Allotments Officer and the fine job she did but shortly afterwards she was gone. Without a named officer the role was taken over by the depleted parks department - depleted after Veolia took over the maintenance contract for parks and the Green Flag scheme was abandoned.
Now the Birchen Grove site, where I have two plots, is looking neglected and overgrown. There seems to be no system of checking on active cultivation and expediting the reletting of abandoned plots although I understand there is a waiting list and the Council is supposed to be encouraging local food cultivation LINK
The practical effect of plots being overgrown is that they are much harder to bring back into cultivation and any new allotment holder can become demoralised by the sheer hard work involved. Grass and weed seeds spread over neighbouring cultivated plots and become a nuisance,
I would be interested to hear about experiences on other Brent allotments and perhaps Cllr Krupa Sheth, Cabinet member for the Environment, could look into the issue. It would be useful for the Scrutiny Committee to review the success or otherwise of the Council's Food Growing and Allotments Strategy.
Meanwhile, following other examples of neglect of council resources such as garages on estates, there is a fear that pictures of neglect and low use rates such as those above, could lead to justification for a polocy of selling off allotments to be used for housing developments.