5,000 signatures reached
To: Members of the planning committee and planning department at Ealing Council
Save London’s oldest allotments!
Northfields Allotments in West Ealing is London’s oldest surviving allotment site. It now faces the threat of development from the housing charity Pathways, the site’s landlord. Pathways intends to construct a multi-storey social housing block and four townhouses for private sale on part of the allotments.
Please help us preserve Ealing’s natural heritage and protect the allotments by rejecting any proposed development of the site.
Why is this important?
At almost two hundred years old, Northfields Allotments is London's oldest allotment site. It dates back to 1832, when the Bishop of London enclosed the site for use as allotments by the local community.
The original allotments were more than twice their current size, however over half of the site was compulsorily purchased and built on several decades ago. We now fear that we could be facing the loss of the remainder of the site.
Northfields Allotments is an important heritage site and we believe it should be given the same protection as Ealing’s many parks and public open spaces.
The importance of allotments in London is recognised at the highest levels. The Mayor of London’s London Plan clearly states that “Boroughs should protect existing allotments” (section 7.22).
The benefits provided by allotments are widely acknowledged. A large and growing body of academic research makes clear the social, mental and physical well-being benefits provided by community green spaces. What’s more, the Public Health Agency has identified numerous benefits of allotments to the community, including the promotion of good mental health, physical activity and nutrition, as well as the encouragement of social interaction.
At Northfields Allotments, we have 141 plots with 72 people on the waiting list so demand is high. 29 plotholders live in flats meaning their allotment is their only garden. We have many families on site, with the result that the allotments provide approximately 50 children with a safe place to play and learn about nature. We have more than 25 retired plotholders who love the exercise, fresh air, and social aspect of being part of an allotment community.
The allotments are an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including hedgehogs, nesting birds and insects – and in particular stag beetles, which are endangered and protected. Bats are regularly sighted, not only feeding over the allotments, but also using the ancient hedgerows for navigation. These hedgerows are recognised by Ealing Council as a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC), which is supposed to provide protected under planning legislation.
We recognise that housing is important, but so are green open spaces. It shouldn’t need to be a choice and there are alternative options that would allow Pathways to house its residents while leaving this historic site untouched by development.
Ealing is already extremely built up. Once green space has been built on, it is lost to the community forever. This is why we implore Ealing Council’s planning department and planning committee to protect the allotments from development, whether that be now or at any point in the future.