Over the last few years we have suffered many break-ins on the allotments. Sometimes they are just about annoying vandalism, but things can get more serious: thefts of crops, tools, a greenhouse and a polytunnel, and even arson. This has a corrosive effect on people’s morale here. We have seen some allotment sites abandoned because of this problem, and only revived when security was improved.
Part of the problem is the old chestnut paling fence along the public footpath at the bottom of our site. It is only about four feet high, which makes it easy to vault or to pass stolen items over, and it is badly decayed, literally only held up by bushes in some places. Thieves were easily breaking through the rotting palings and stealing some quite large items. We have done what we could, repairing the damage and planting brambles as a deterrent, but this was no longer enough. We conducted a survey of plot holders’ feelings about our security, and about 85% of us felt a new fence would be helpful.
A good, high security fence along the whole bottom of our site was bound to be expensive, so we made a case to the Big Lottery Fund for help. Their generous gift of £9,128 allowed us to select the best from several quotations, and the work was finished by Airedale Fencing just this Thursday, 26 Oct 2017. So, big thanks to the Big Lottery Fund!
Thanks also to our volunteers, and to Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside, who turned up to help clear the space for the new fence.
Here are a couple of Before and After photos of the fence:
We will encourage the blackberries and sloes to grow through the fence to soften the look of it from the public footpath, as well as planting some spring bulbs and bee-friendly flowers along the base.