A CENTURY OF BROADWAY ALLOTMENTS

BEGINNINGS

1916

  • Lady Wantage leased 3 acres to Didcot Parish Council for allotment use

  • Dennis Napper gave up his lease on the part on which the recreation ground was then created

1925

  • DPC leased the rest of White Piece to provide allotments for holders displaced from the Vauxhall Road allotments by the Army

1933

  • DPC bought the whole of White Piece at ~60% of market price from Queen’s College and Mr Napper.

 

 

FIRST THREAT

Over the next 2 years various development options (including one for the whole site)

were proposed by councillors to create a shopping centre and pay off the loan for the

purchase of White Piece.

 

1933

  • The Ratepayers Association suggested that a new Post Office be built on the site

1934?

  • The process for ministerial approval for leasing a strip to a depth of 100ft for a 25-30 year tem for building purposes was initiated

  • A ministry (MAFF) inspector concluded that the land should be kept for allotment use since the vendors sold it cheaply on that understanding.

 

The main protagonists lost their seats at the next local elections.

 

 

WAR AND SUBSEQUENT CONTRACTION

WW2  Allotments were a vital source of un-rationed food and but pilfering was a

problem.  Children did much of the work on allotments.

 

1941

  • Didcot Allotment Association was inaugurated

1960s

  • Manor Junior School (formally opened in1965) and playing field were established on the North end of the site

1970s

  • Land on the East side of the footpath was reallocated to make way for the new Civic Hall and allotment holders were transferred to plots on the present site.

 

 

ANOTHER THREAT

1990

  • An initial motion proposed that any future extension or major improvement to the Civic Hall is dependent upon the commercial development of the Broadway allotment land and proposals for this would be considered

  • DTC subsequently modified this by replacing ‘is’ by ‘could be’.

  • In the wake of the resulting furore, the leader of the DTC majority group said that it would not be sold at that time unless a satisfactory offer was received.

1991

  • DTC expressed a wish that the designated use of the site in the new Didcot Local Plan be changed accordingly.

 

 

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

2015

  • The leader of the DTC majority group announced plans for an asset review with the aim of selling off land to pay off the loan for the Civic Hall extension and that Broadway would clearly be an attractive site for developers

  • An unsuccessful attempt was made to buy alternative land on Haddon Hill

  • Didcot Allotments Action Group was set up by allotment site representatives to coordinate opposition to the sale of allotment sites

2016

  • Didcot Allotment Society, affiliated to NAS, was set up to encourage the use of allotments and maintain opposition to any future sell off of in-town sites

  • The new leader of DTC stated that they had no immediate plans to sell allotment land but would have to consider attractive offers in the future.

 

 

SOURCES

  • Brian Lingham’s book ‘A Poor Struggling Little Town’

  • OS maps in Didcot Library

  • Minutes of Didcot Town Council meetings

  • Didcot & District Archaeological & History Society

  • Allotment holders with long memories

 

 

 

AF June 2016

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