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About the Allotment Association (SPAA)
Over time, Swallowfield Parish Council had been collating messages from individuals that had expressed interest in having an allotment. Thanks to the initial auspices of the Parish Council, during 2010, a small group of like-minded enthusiasts came together at various meetings throughout the year.
To speed progress, a Committee was formed and the Swallowfield Parish Allotment Association (SPAA) became a reality. The team on the founding Committee were (in alphabetical order) Terry Edmond, Cynthia Goodyear (Chair), Reg Granados, Neil Marshall, Terry Trinder (Treasurer), and Pam Wright (Secretary).
Searching for Land
At the outset, we were faced with one of the biggest challenges: Finding land suitable for allotments. Sites were considered in various locations within the Parish, with some less suitable than others. Site access, water supply, and lie of the land, along with soil type and existing vegetation were just a few of the major things we had to consider before going ahead. We soon realised these were significant challenges if we were to make the initial site suitable. Undaunted by this challenge, we investigated planning, utilities, and consulted further with the Parish Council. Some of the obstacles eventually became an impasse, and so we set about the search all over again.
The Calico Trust
Out of the blue the Calico Trust, a local Swallowfield charity, offered us an alternative field in Part Lane. We jumped at the chance to investigate further and found that the land, as we know as the Calico field, appeared to have everything going for it. We found there would be less vegetation to clear, there were fewer overhanging trees, it had better access and already had water connected at one end of the field. We felt this was a far better prospect and decided to take up the offer.
Once the agreements had been made, the members of the Committee set about working on the site, clearing vegetation, removing the internal fence and posts that divided the field, cleared lots of rubbish that had been left on the site over time, cleared out rotting vegetation from some outbuildings, and generally had a good tidy up.
Here’s a picture of the initial working team.
Thanks to the help of some local businesses, the back was broken on the worst of the brambles growing over the side of the field with the public footpath, and the field ploughed.
Work continues on clearing, and more information is available on the news page.
TodayThe field is still being prepared, and we’re waiting for the weather to improve to make it easier of the ploughed field to be harrowed. Once it’s harrowed, we’ll be able to mark out the plots and then prepare the footpaths.
To keep updated, please see the news page or twitter feed for more information.