Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Southport and District Allotment Society (SADWAG) have written to me. The have secured a meeting with Cllr Ronnie Fearn the Cabinet Member for- amongst other things- allotments.

I wish them well. The growth in demand for allotments is enormous and far outstrips supply. Of course some of this enthusiasm will not be maintained, but I fancy that if the council took some steps then supply could be expanded and the drop out rate lowered.

I was at my allotment this evening picking blackcurrants and gooseberries. As I looked around I compared the site with how I first saw it more than a decade ago. In those early years there were many derelict plots. These were heavily overgrown often with brambles and deep rooted perennial weeds and often fly tipped. A very fit person may over a season have cleared such a plot and made it fit for purpose, but many- especially the elderly and women were put off. Gradually almost all the plots are in cultivation and there are well over 140.
One easy step would be to increase dramatically the number of half plots available. Sefton does have some but by and large they are still the traditional size of 7 rods long.
It may be hard to credit but the Liberal party brought down Lord Salisbury's government by moving an amendment to the Queen's Speech on allotments. Liberal kept up the pressure and just over 100 years ago the Liberal government brought in the key bit of Allotment leglislation.
Locally in Birkdale one man, Ebenezer Baxendale, exploited that legislation to force the hand of a reluctant Birkdale Council to open up an allotment sites. The first site was in Shaftesbury Avenue. You can read the account of his amazing campaign in the minutes of the old Birkdale Council which are in the Atkinson Library. I think his son is remembered on the local war memorial in St John's Church. He had emigrated to Canada but came back to serve in the war.