Trouble in Eden


Just over three months have passed since Sally Savory raised the matter of the CIC and allotment management. She was writing from the perspective of South Undercliff allotments. My experience is of Love Lane allotments. At a time when food is becoming expensive and imports uncertain the “Family Garden” can make a considerable difference to well-being.

The allotment is not a hobby for people with nothing better to do with their time, it provides many benefits, not the least of which is is the casual and friendly companionship of other allotment holders. Advice is exchanged, help offered. OK its not a perfect paradise but it’s on the way.

Sadly the current CIC does not seem to understand friendly persuasion. Security at Love Lane is a problem so we conducted a pretty thorough survey of the membership, the result of which was the purchase of locks and keys.

Everyone (well almost everyone) appeared happy. Imagine our surprise when we discovered one of the directors of the CIC removing the locks and replacing them with combination locks. There had been absolutely no consultation with the allotment holders. This behaviour has created confusion and unhappiness.

The ability to communicate in a clear and friendly manner should be a necessary quality in any manager. Has anything been learnt in the last three months?

Image Credits: Gillian Roder .

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  1. Goodness. I don’t know the particulars and am not an allotment dweller (I just stroll past these lovely allotments regularly) but in my view…
    ‘The ability to communicate in a clear and friendly manner should be a necessary quality in’ *most people*. Conversely, taking your gripes and putting them in a local ‘news’paper – is not ‘friendly’ either.
    (Notably rather passive aggresively posed as questions and as though you are speaking for all – ‘imagine our surprise’)
    This clearly escalates the matter (perhaps even seeks to escalate the matter) and is neither news, nor helpful.
    Critiquing this persons problem solving & communication/people skills, when yours seem decidedly lacking, instead just reveals quite the task this person must have in trying to keep *everybody* happy.
    I wish you both well in resolving matters.

    My tuppence worth – Combination locks are far more workable (I use them myself). Keys get lost, swapping/copying keys a chore. Simply giving someone the number is easy. Any issues a combo easily changed instead of new padlock and reissue of endless keys. Its cheaper, quicker, more flexible. It has zero downside.

  2. Speaking on behalf of Neighbourhood Planners, we fought hard to secure
    the protection of the two allotments
    (Undercliff and Love Lane) by getting Rother District to register them as “statutory”. It would be a great shame to lose them because of poor local management!

  3. As they are ‘statutory’ they can only be disposed of by the local authority with the Secretary of State’s permission. It seems unlikely that the Secretary of State would allow the removal of an asset which is there not for just today’s allotment holders but for future ones too!

  4. Rye Amenity CIC, which holds the lease on Rye’s two allotment gardens, sought to protect them from predatory developers (and we have had enquiries) by having them put on the register of community assets in 2017. We believed that this protection was necessary as Rother DC did not consider them to be statutory allotments and the land could be disposed of. Rye Amenity CIC was therefore, infinitely grateful to John Slater BA (Hons), DMS, MRTPI, the Examiner of the Rye Neighbourhood Plan, who in his report on the Plan (16th April 2019) changed the designation of both allotment gardens to statutory allotments (Policy E2 Green Infrastructure, Para 116). As Andy Stuart has pointed out they can (now) only be disposed of by the local authority with the Secretary of State’s permission.


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