Longcroft Allotment Association is a volunteer led organisation created to support and promote allotments in the Welwyn Garden City Area.
We have two sites; the Digswell and Broadwater sites.
Situated in Brockswood Lane, Welwyn Garden City, the Digswell site has over 70 plots.
The Digswell site has water provision, toilets and a small kitchen.
Situated in Corals Mead, off Broadwater Lane in Welwyn Garden City, the Broadwater site has over 35 plots. The Broadwater site benefits from water and has toilet facilities.
Every year, you receive an invoice for your plot, calculated as an amount per pole. But how many of us actually know what a pole is?
Allotments are traditionally measured in rods or poles (they're the same thing),which is an old Anglo-Saxon unit named because it was the length of the rod used to control a team of eight oxen, which was about 5.5 yards in length. A pole has now come to mean an area rather than length and is a measure of area equal to 5.5 yards by 5.5 yards, or 30.25 square yards.
Most of the plots on the Digswell and Broadwater sites are 5 and 7 pole plots, and so are about 150 square yards or 212 square yards respectively. A half plot would normally be 75 square yards.
When we inspect the plots every month we’re doing it to ensure that they are in good order and being actively worked. We’re not looking for the perfect plot but one that is being used and is well maintained. After all, no one wants a plot next to one neglected and covered in weeds.
We start the inspection in March and finish in November. It is very noticeable that those people that winter dig or cover their plot are off to a flying start.
Your tenancy agreement explains the rules about how much of your plot must be cultivated and the structures and trees allowed on the plot. As site inspectors, we’re looking to see that the rules are followed in a sensible, practical way. Everyone has an off month, goes on holiday or has other calls on their time. However if after a few months there isn’t any activity, or very little work going on, then we’ll report it and you may get a letter. That’s why it helps us all that if you have a long term problem, you let you site representative know, as there may be help available.
The golden rule is to have a productive plot that you’re pleased with, gives you pleasure and is one that makes you a good neighbour.
A meeting was called to form an allotment holders association on 25 January 1974 at 7:30pm. This meeting led to the formation of what has become the Longcroft Allotment Association.
Annual membership rates were published in the Association’s second ever newsletter: 50p per member, with a reduced rate of 25p for Pensioners and Widows. By 1976 the Association’s membership had grown from forty one to sixty, 80% of whom took advantage of the members’ seed and fertiliser scheme.
It wasn’t long before the Association faced its first major challenge. At the 1977 LAA AGM the Secretary’s Report contained news of significant change as the Council introduced plans to construct a road (subsequently named Osborne Way) through its site. And so, while negotiations were underway to establish an alternative site, the 1982/83 Secretary’s Report unusually represented an allotment association without an active site.
Order was restored when, by 1983/84 – some ten years after the formation of the Association - a new site was established to the rear of Broadwater Crescent with 109 plots let and a further 21 available and an Association comprising of more than 200 members.
Complications returned on 31 January 1993 when the Association was issued with a “Notice to Quit” its new site. This followed a 1989 sale of land owned by British Rail to Ashton Homes, a national developer, who went into liquidation later that year.
(to be continued)