Early this morning, the three of us (Derek, Sarah and myself) drove across Crewe to visit Hulme Street allotment. We were met by the Warden and a member of the committee. As it turns out, the committee oversees three sites (Ford Lane, Hulme Street and Walker Street) with each site having a Warden to deal with any issues day to day. They are partway through major site renovations and were happy to share their ideas and approach.
They have a hose pipe ban which means water can be a contentious issue. Waterbutts are encouraged and they have added push buttons to their water taps. I can see how this would be an effective strategy to limit water usage. Somehow, I don’t think it would work on our site. But an interesting idea nonetheless!
They have sacrificed two plots which were highly prone to flooding to make a wide vehicular access path around the site. The new path will makes access around the site safer and easier, especially when delivering compost/manure or removing rubbish from the site. At the moment they are building the base using builder’s rubble which would provide a firm base for the hardcore which will form the top of the path. By choosing to build over two plots they will loose the income from them but they would have struggled to lease them with recurrent flooding.
Hulme Street have been fortunate enough to collaborate closely with Bentley who own the adjacent land to their site. Their new car park has been built on newly acquired land in front of the site. Bentley have supported them in building new fencing and car park surface. Next to the car park, they have a new toilet block which is split into mens and womens. They are still installing it but it’s amazing to see.
Over at the back of the site, they have brought in a 40 ft container for a site office and committee meeting room. It’s a great idea to have a meeting room especially for committee meetings. Currently, our committee meetings are rather weather dependent as we don’t have an indoor space big enough to fit all members of the committee! The Wardens office was massive and was easily big enough for us to have a committee meeting in. The other section would be large enough to use for the main part of the clubhouse if we built in a kitchen. The other exciting addition is the solar power which runs the internal lighting.
Armed with new ideas, we thanked our hosts and drove back to our site. As I fed the chickens, I thought about the different things we had discussed and pondered how we could implement some of the improvements we had seen on our site. Grants would definitely have to be applied for to get the funding and further discussions with the Town Council obviously. With all the chickens fed and after a brief chat with Geoff and Cliff, I ambled home for lunch, still pondering.