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Allotments : Proposed Improvements Programme

Meeting of delegates of Cambridge Central Council of Allotment Societies with John Roebuck, June 1999

A Cambridge Central Council of Allotment Societies (CCCAS) delegation met John Roebuck, Cambridge City Council's Parks & Recreation Manager, on 28 June 1999 to discuss how to spend the allotments improvements funds promised recently. These funds total 215,000 and are provisional on two land sales: part of Nuffield Road allotment site which is being redeveloped, and the disused Newmarket Road allotment site which would be changed to housing land use. No objections were raised regarding the development of these sites, but CCCAS delegates strongly confirmed their opposition to the proposed loss of allotment land at Elfleda Road for development by Cambridge United Football Club.

We are now awaiting further information from John Roebuck to confirm exactly how the improvement funds may be spent from the City Council's standpoint. Several allotment societies are keen to be able to use some of the funds for the purchase of machinery to make the maintainance of allotment sites easier, particularly to overcome the problem of plots rapidly becoming overgrown between lettings. It is felt that this would enable us to successfully let more plots and make our societies more successful in future. Plans would need to be devised to address the following issues : insurance, maintenance, security, safety, storage, training and use of machinery.

Different societies have different needs and would therefore like to spend the funds differently. Popular requests also include fencing, buildings and improvements to roadways.

Delegates also discussed their wish to be able to communicate effectively with all the allotment holders on sites directly managed by the City Council. Two ideas arose : firstly Mr Roebuck agreed to install a noticeboard at Empty Common allotments so that allotment news could be posted there for all to read. Secondly, it was agreed that CCCAS could supply literature to be enclosed with the rent demands sent out each April, so that we can reach all plotholders in the city, with the proviso that the content was acceptable to the City Council.

As a result of this meeting it is likely that allotment societies will have significant control over the design of the improvements they get approval for. This implies some work from the societies: specifying the work or purchases in detail, and obtaining three quotations. It is possible, for instance, that those societies which need new fencing could join forces to get advantageous terms from a single contractor which would do the work at several sites.

Mr Roebuck stated the City Council's view that allotment promotion should happen through the societies.

This meeting was very constructive and the next one is scheduled for 27th September 1999. It is likely that these meetings will become regular events.

Revised proposals agreed by Cambridge Central Council of Allotment Societies for allocation of allotment improvement money :

Allotment Society

Area Planned spending
Cherry Hinton 0.70ha 5,788
Old Chesterton 4.86ha 40,188
Rock 4.47ha 36,963
Romsey 5.08ha 42,008
Trumpington 1.63ha 13,479
Vinery Road 4.76ha 39,362
Whitehill 4.50ha 37,212

Relevant page : City Council Announces Funds for Allotment Improvements

Joint Secretaries of Cambridge Central Council of Allotment Societies :                Dave Fox     Paul Jones

Latest update 03/01/01