Introduction : Our society was founded in 2005 by a small group of keen gardeners who were all residents of Hawkinge. After some lengthy negotiations with the local council and many generous grants from various organisations, a site was obtained and our allotments finally became available to the residents of Hawkinge on the 1st April 2010. The site is leased to the society by the local town council and all the management, maintenance and administration is undertaken by the members of the society. A chronology of important dates follows.
In March Eileen Blythe started to advertise to find other families who wanted an allotment plot in the Village. In April, a Committee was formed and we joined the National Allotments Society. A request for a Village site was sent to the Hawkinge Parish Council (PC) and 3 possible sites all owned by Shepway DC were submitted but none were available. PC stated they were aware of the Legal Rights and in December, 25 families paid £5 to go on a waiting list. A Bank Account was opened and a Constitution adopted.
Further meetings with the Parish Council to discuss 3 possible sites were again rejected as not being suitable. Fundraising events took place and a newsletter to keep families abreast of progress was circulated. A request for legal help was submitted to the National organisation and subsequently their legal officer wrote to the PC outlining the legal requirements of councils to comply.
In January decide to bombard local officials, wrote to our MP, our 3 DC and all members of the PC about lack of progress. In June Shepway DC gave permission for us to have field 2.3 Acres which they owned in Stombers Lane, on a 30 year Lease. In August our Committee and PC visit Folkestone Allotments together. In September we formed a Steering Committee of 3 to work with the PC and a Car Survey was done to establish the size of Car Park required.. Grant applications were begun with the help of Rural Kent. We started to make a plan of the field and take important decisions for our Planning Application December waiting list upto 53 families. PC granted us £10K from 106 Funds.
Fundraising continued. In April Planning Application sent to Dover DC for 45 plots with sheds. Clubhouse and Car Park with main gates into Stombers Lane. In May we were allowed onto the field, we sprayed the nettles on the boundary’s and in June, removed rubbish and temporary fencing. This done we had the grass cut. In June & July working parties took place twice a week and gangs of of helpers came, we burnt all the brush and the fencing was used later for large compost bays. Over 2000 hours were spent that summer to get the field ready for ploughing in October. December 66 families.
Planning permission given in January after comprehensive soil tests for contamination. The Lease was granted in March, after months of dispute with KCC and Shepway over their field boundary fence. Contractors started working on the Car Park, removing Sycamore trees and laying water pipes. The Site was opened on 1st April with the contractors still working to complete the perimeter fencing, entrance drive and car park in May. In June the Clubhouse was erected and the Eco Toilet installed. In the summer members laid a patio in front of the clubhouse and moved soil to make the Raised Beds. September Local Farmer moved the last of the soil and made last of the 5 raised beds. November the paved walkways round the raised beds were done by a contractor. December a Portacabin was given to us by the Parish Council. 86 Members a total of £41865 was given in Grants for this project.
March members fenced “The Woodland” to reduce the Rabbits, The Portacabin was decorated by 2 Members. 104 Members
Eileen Blythe Chairwoman 2005 – 2013
Eileen Blythe retired as Chairwoman at the AGM and the previous Site Manager & Treasurer Ray Ashdown, was elected as the new Chairman. Eileen became the President in a new role for of the Society. Dawn Wolley was duly elected as the Society Treasurer.
A Web Site (www.hawkinge-allotments.org.uk) was developed and introduced which improved the overall communication and information available to the membership. Two new fun competitions (Sunflower & Pumpkin) were set-up to compliment the existing Top Ten competition and our entry to the Kent Allotments competitions where we continued to win Best Small site in Kent. Two members of the society with approval, successfully introduced Bee Hives to their plots which later caused some ‘controversy’ around the membership.
The summer of 2014 was a very busy time for the society with the competitions, usual open days and with the addition of the HAS to the NGS.
Following a proposal from Nick Lord and acceptance from the NGS the gates were opened during July and over two days monies were successfully raised for many charities.
A photographic competition was organised and the best submissions were used as a banner on the web site during the following year.
The social events during the year were numerous, well attended including a very successful the trip to RHS Wisley by coach.
The previous Chairman Ray Ashdown retired from allotment life and Nick Lord was elected and took the helm as Chairman for the Society. The Society again did well winning the Kent Allotments Associations best small site in the year which saw the closure of this organisation. Inclusion in the NGS scheme was again successful albeit over one day and inclement weather on the open day.