Quarry Road Allotments
 Eaglescliffe 


Life can be hard & uncertain for an allotmenteer - It has been for us over the past few year

    The history of the Quarry Road allotments goes back to the beginning of the last century (Parish Cllr.Miss Galloway tells me that her father had a plot in 1926, but I would like to hear from any one who may have earlier recollections). 

    Over the past twenty to thirty years interest in the Quarry Road allotments continued to decline with a significant number of plots remaining abandoned. While the empty plots had been allowed to overgrow with trees,nettles and brambles they provided the ideal habitat for the wildlife.  

    Unfortunately the increase in the rabbit and rat population, combined with a swell in pigeon and squirrel numbers, also meant a forlorn future for the dwindling number of diehard plot holders.  

    The Preston Park Development plan as proposed by Stockton Borough Council, provided the platform for a united debate about the future of the allotments. If the allotments were to be protected and preserved, something needed to be done and it had to be done rather quickly. 

    The plot holders attended a hastily arranged meeting on 16th July 2007, to voice their opposition to the idea of a path between the park and the allotments. Such a link would mean less security and lead to an increase in theft and vandalism.

    Self Management

    Encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the plot holders at their first meeting, a general meeting then followed on 5th of August when the Quarry Road Allotments Association was born. To be effective the Committee needed to have certain responsibilities. Self management was considered an option. In a letter (20th August, 2007) to the Preston Parish Council, the newly elected Committee requested a hearing to discuss the financial and legal implications of self management. 


    Original Members of the Organising Committee using Marsh Emerson's polytunnel for their first gathering.


    From the outset the primary aim of the new organising committee has been:

    “To explore all means of improvement and to seek help in the regeneration of Quarry Road Allotments”

    It took a further 2 years before a final decision was made by the Council to agree to let go.

    It was not long before however when plot holders had to have another fight for survival.


    PPP Campaign & The Fight to Protect the Allotments

    It does not matter which part of the country we may look at, it is inevitable that sooner or later the Council owned allotment sites become a prime target for “development”. Well ours was no exception and not for the first time either. 


At its February 11th Cabinet Meeting, Stockton Borough Council had named Preston Park as a possible site for relocating one of the well-known schools in the area. Preston Park & Museum is a renowned regional attraction and a very popular local amenity. The decision of the Cabinet was to short list Preston Park as a possible location for the new school and to continue to carry out a more detailed feasibility study into the proposal. Our concern was that while Preston Park was one of the four options, nevertheless it would appear to be the favoured one. It is Council owned land and therefore, in these hard economic times, it was likely to offer the “cheapest solution”. If such a proposal went ahead, it would of course mean the loss of the adjacent Quarry Road Allotments.

What was perplexing at the time was the fact that even knowing the legal and financial implications there were people in responsiblepositions who tried to outwit the allotment holders by denying and pronouncing that the allotments were not part of the proposals. To rub salt to the wound, such statements were being made while proposals and plans were already drawn up clearly showing that our allotments were first to disappear if the developments were to be approved by the Council. Even our member of the Parliament concerned colluded with the pretenders to declare that the allotments were safe. 

As the proposed development would also swallow about a third of Preston Park we decided to join forces with Protect Preston Park group to drum up support opposing the proposed development. Jointly 7,300 signatures were thus collected representing, not only the local residents but also many others from all parts of the North East and further afar. Our heart-felt thanks goes to all those who appreciated our concerns and backed our genuine anxieties by signing our petition, and of course the NSALG for lobbying the Council on our behalf.

Allotments are Safe

A joyful Group of Campaigners after the Council verdict that there would be no school building in the Park nor on Quarry Road Allotment site.


The Cabinet Decision

It might have been obvious from the start that however desirable or worthy the idea of building a new school was, it was the wrong place for it to be built in one of the most popular Parks in the region. But there again in a democratic society one needs to go through the motions. The sceptics need to be convinced that a public park should not to be sacrificed even for a very worthy cause, even when a badly needed secondary school needs to be relocated. There are always alternatives locations. 


That decision was eventually made by the Cabinet on the 14th of October, 2010. Both the Park and the allotments were saved, at least for the time. It may be a while for some bright spark to come along and decide it was time to have another go at the allotments. But that will be in the future for now let us enjoy our park and the allotments.

It is our duty as allotment holders however, to give our full support to Protect Preston Park group in their efforts to ensure that park is left alone, it is protected and preserved in perpetuity for the pleasure of people.

To support the campaign, please consider joining the Friends of Preston Park. It is the best way to save the allotments.

 

Details are below:


I/We wish to join the Friends of Preston Park

Name ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Address…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Post code…………………………………
Tel……………………………………………Email…………………………………………………………
Please tick if you would prefer information by
email or post
Return with £2 (individual) £5 (family) to:

Protect Preston Park Campaign Committee, 3 Dunottar Avenue, Eaglescliffe, Stockton On Tees, TS16 OAB.
Information will not be transferred to any other party.

      
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