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The history of Eastbrook Farm Allotments

Allotments have their roots in the enclosure policies that began in Tudor times and continued until the 19th century. Under the various enclosure acts the old system of open fields and common land available to all villagers was lost. The effect of this was to divorce the ordinary working man from the land it prevented him from providing food for his family and it led to a loss of independence.

In the 1920s Portslade Council acquired the Eastbrook Farm site for allotments, although technically the land was not situated in Portslade, but was over the boundary in Southwick. The close proximity to the Power Station meant that it was not the best site for allotments but suitable land was scarce.

Since that time many of the problems encountered by the tenants have remained the same: onsite security, the water supply and the electricity company carrying out repairs/changes.

In March 1930 the Eastbrook Farm holders complained to the council that people persisted in using the ground as a short cut and as an exercise place for dogs. The Council responded by erecting a notice, which said "Private Property. Trespassers will be prosecuted. Through negotiation with the Council [In a [height] fence was erected but there are still problems with people using the site as a cut through and the large number of onsite thefts.

A direct water supply was supplied to the site in 1933 after Portslade Council conducted a survey to see how many tenants wanted a water supply laid on; out of the 222 tenants 112 did not reply, 30 were against it and 80 were in favour.

In 1930 the pylons were erected and tenants were paid the sum of �13-1-3d as compensation. In June 1939 the holder of plot 333 [name if possible] wanted his rent suspended because his plot was unusable due to the erection of pylons by the Central Electricity Board. In March 1993 two tenants had to move plot due to the resiting of the pylons, but they were not compensated.

In July 2010 Seeboard cordoned off part of the site until January 2011. The reason being affected tenants did not pay rent for that year and were compensated for the inconvenience by Seaboard.

In 1974 a ten-rod plot cost �1.50 in March 1998 Brighton and Hove Council said it would standardise rents on all its allotments so that the cost of a plot rose to �20, then to �22 in 1999 and from October 1999 it would become �22.60, currently rents are �35 for a five rod and �70 for a 10 rod plot. 25% concession is available for people 60 years of age or older, full-time students, those in receipt of long-term disability allowance and those whose majority income is derived from benefits such as income support.

The desire for allotments started to decline from the late 1960s and the drought years of 1975 and 1976 didn�t help and in 1996 although allotments in Sussex were exempt from a hosepipe ban, those under the control of Hove Council were not.

In 2001 due to the decline in popularity and the large number of vacancies at the Eastbrook site, the Council started to look at other ways the land could be used. Eastbrook tenants wanted to ensure that their interests were considered during discussions and so the Eastbrook Farm Allotment Society was born. It was initially hard work and involved the interested tenants in learning how to set up their society, what was needed for their constitution and the management required, as well as what offices had to be filled within the Committee. Membership was , today it remains at �2 per year.

The purpose of establishing a society on site was to give tenants a voice when it came to negotiating with Brighton and Hove Council regarding the proposed changes to the site. With the establishment of the society it meant that tenants could have input into the proposed changes.

The first official meeting of the Eastbrook Farm allotment society took place on 18 February 2002 when it was agreed that the society would affiliate themselves to the Brighton and Hove Allotment Society and the officers of the society were agreed.

The members of the Committee then began to proactively communicate with the council regarding the future of the site. The council had originally proposed a number of plans for the land including a Jewish Cemetery, a business park, an innovation centre and social housing.

In conjunction with the Society the council carried out a consultation with allotment holders in August 2002.

Allotment holders were given three options;

Option one to leave the site as is,
Option two to release approximately 3 acres of the site for business development. An element of the capital receipt from any business development would be reinvested in the site.
Option three was to release most of the land and relocate the majority of allotment holders

80% of allotment holders responded; 73% of which opted for Option 2. This option meant that a number of tenants had to move plots. This is the layout we know today, we now have {many] tenants.

 

 

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