The project started in 2010 when the Berwick Estate, the local landowners, approached Katy Anderson of the Shrewsbury Transition Towns Group about using a piece of their land off the Corporation Lane in Coton Hill as an allotment site. Another member of the Transition Towns Group, Claire Kirby, volunteered to get the project started by calling a meeting of local residents in Coton Hill, at which the idea of an allotment site was broached. Simon Howard attended one of these meetings in September 2010 and, after a few more meetings, took over the running of the project as Chair with Doreen Hancock and Matt Lush as the Secretary and Treasurer of the newly formed committee of the Coton Community Allotments Association (CCAA).
In October 2010, a funding application was submitted to the Local Joint Committee (LJC) (No. 27) of Shropshire Council for a grant to get the site set up and running. The application, which had been prepared by Katherine Howard, a funding expert and Simon’s wife, was discussed at the LJC meeting in October 2010 which was attended by Simon and Katherine. The application was successful and £10,950 was awarded to the CCAA to set up the site. The money was used to set up the 8 year lease for the land from the landowner, clear and fence the site, improve the access track, erect a communal shed, build a small car park and establish a water connection to the site. Money was also set aside for setting up part of the site as a community garden.
The work to clear the site was undertaken in summer/autumn 2011 after the lease was negotiated and signed in May 2011. The works were undertaken by volunteers with a contractor used for some of the heavier clearance work as well as the fencing, water pipe installations and works on the track. A communal shed was kindly donated by Jancis Vaughan and Richard Davies from Copthorne, which was carefully dismantled by CCAA volunteers and re-erected on a specially constructed concrete pad on the allotment site in January 2012. The flat half of the site was then prepared and divided into plots, which were offered to new plotholders in February 2012.
The original 33 plots and half plots are now mostly occupied and we have developed the sloping part of the site into an additional 17 plots and communal areas. Interested in a plot?
After obtaining a grant from Shrewsbury Town Council in October 2012, we carried out the next phase of works, which involved providing footpaths around the site as well as surfacing the car park with stone, which improves the site accessibility to visitors and plotholders alike.
Since 2012, we have focused on incremental improvements to the site, including a composting toilet, additional water taps, communal raised beds and improved access on foot via a new stile. The site is maintained thanks to our volunteers, who give up their spare time to keep the vegetation under control.
Please have a look at Andrew Howe’s excellent blog which provides lots more detail (and some great pictures!) on our project.
Click here to read an article on the allotment site project which appeared in the Shrewsbury Chronicle in April 2011.