Easy Access Plot
Over the last few years, a number of our members have given up their plots as they grew older and found the work more difficult to manage. We realised that many did not want to leave the allotments, as they enjoyed growing things and the social life amongst others with similar interests. We felt that we should do something about this and decided to prepare our “Easy Access” plot. This would have a firm, level surface and raised beds so that users could tend their new “plots” without the need to bend down or do any heavy digging.
Apart from the raised beds, we also wanted to provide a polytunnel that our users could share to start off their plants, as well as to shelter from the weather. We felt that an easy access toilet would also be helpful, so included this in our plans. Access to our allotment site was along a stony, uneven track, so we decided that access needed to be improved.
We had a particular plot in mind, as it was central on the allotment site and we had difficulty letting the plot, due to an infestation of Horsetail.
Before Work Started
Once we had decided what we wanted our plot to look like, we started costing out the project. The cost was clearly beyond what we could finance ourselves, but we were fortunate in being able to obtain grants from our landlords, Hertford Town Council and from East Hertfordshire District Council.
Once we had the funds approved, we prepared a plan, breaking the project into three parts, the entrance track, the actual plot and the new toilet. There were some parts of the project that our members could do, while other parts would need to be contracted out, particularly the entrance track. We obtained quotes for each major part before deciding where to place the contract.
The entrance drive was obviously an outside job and this was quickly set up. Before we started on the actual plot we sprayed it several times with weedkiller to try to eradicate the Horsetail. Our contractor then removed the topsoil, bought in a quantity of subsoil and levelled the plot, tamping it down after each layer. He then covered the plot with groundcover, before laying a final layer of “Type1” crushed granite. This provided a level, solid surface that would support wheelchairs and mobility scooters. We also installed a dedicated water trough and a sink.
It was now the turn of our members, who built a picket fence around the plot and erected the polytunnel, the raised beds and two benches.
The Finished Plot
For our toilet, we had a shed built to our specifications. We were fortunate that a local flooring company provided and laid a commercial quality vinyl floor at cost. We then insulated and lined the shed and half tiled the walls. We installed a compost toilet and a waterless urinal. We have a solar panel on the roof, which powers the fan for the toilet, a PIR activated light and an alarm should anyone need assistance. We like to think that we now have the smartest allotments toilets in Hertford, and possibly the UK !
Opened By The Mayor
Once everything was finished, the project was officially opened by the Mayor of Hertford, Cllr. Mrs Rosemary Bolton, at our annual barbecue. All of the raised beds are now in use and our members do not have to give up their hobby as they get older.