Monday, 23 February 2009

Worst allotment site

Alongside some of my ramblings, the intention of my blog is to share good things grown at my plot then taken home to my tiny kitchen to be turned into tasty bites, and I will continue to do this. But right now I wanted to share some of my frustrations and disgust at the way the allotment site my plot is situated on is managed, as concerned voices including my own do not seem to have an impact on those who can take real action.

As you enter this privately owned allotment site, you are immediately welcomed by what can be described as nothing else but a permanent health hazard made up of dumped planks of wood, broken slabs of paving and window frames from which the glass has been shattered into a million pieces, all scattered at the entrance. Some of the rubbish has been there for over two years now, and I am not exaggerating. We have a number of young families working here, and many of them have children, I am surprised none of them have been injured yet. Anyway, as I walk towards my plot which is situated in the centre of the allotment site, I walk past three, maybe four of the most unsightly, ugliest overgrown and unkempt plots I have ever seen with dumped items of all sorts. I have been here for three years now, and I have never seen anyone work these plots.

In the UK, we have a great demand for plots and there are many people on council lists waiting for plots, yet here some of these plots are hogged by people who do not grow anything. They are able to keep the plots as a dumping ground and nothing is being done to challenge or evict these individuals. No one seems to have the power or authority to do anything. Apparently there is also the belief that this private land could cost millions, if sold to property developers, so some of the people you never ever see working or tilling the land, are holding on to the plots in the false belief that they will get a chunk of the profits. In addition to the ugliness of the allotment site, there are also a handful of people who spoil it for the others with their drunken behaviour, harassing young women in the evenings. The women grumble to each other, but do not report it formally. The thieving has also increased, not by outsiders breaking in, but by other plot holders - some new some long term, but that is another story. I so wish this allotment site was owned or taken over by the local council, and the plots given over to people on the councils waiting lists willing to work and maintain the land. I am really fed up with all this nonsense and so are many other people, but nothing seems to happen.

The majority of the people at the site are good hearted and want these plots worked on. They want this space to be an idyllic haven of busy bees, sweet smelling flowers and loveliness to the eye, and their own plots their private oasis. But the few continue to spoil it for us, and nothing seems to improve, in fact things seem to get worse with some having drunken gatherings in the evening at the allotment then discarding their empty lager cans wherever they wish. This is a time when we should all be looking forward the new growing season, but unfortunately this nonsense starts to overtake the joy.

If I had known what I know now about this allotment site, I would never have taken the plot, but now, I have worked hard here, invested quite a lot of time, energy and money on bringing my plot up to scratch, so to put my name down at another site does not often cross my mind. I would be like the many others waiting on a long waiting list for a plot. So I put up with this nonsense.

I had an older man come and speak to me yesterday. He’s no gentleman, as he is quite foul mouthed, but his heart is in the right place. He was saying to me that he was ashamed to invite his pals over. I said he should, we should really show people what the allotment site looks like and name and shame it as perhaps the worst allotment site in Scotland, if not the UK. In the next coming weeks I will be gathering some evidence to show you the state of this allotment site.

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