Manor Garden allotments campaign – Hackney WickPosted: December 26, 2006
Event takes place on Tuesday January 16, 2007
3.00pm: Open for Tours
4.30pm: Sunset Bonfire
7.30pm: Broadcast of ITV’s ‘Disappearing London’ featuring the campaign
Fresh food will be served!
Extracts from the press release:
‘Please come to show the strength of support to showcase this precious part of Lea Valley’s heritage rather than the ‘Green’ Olympics plan to bulldoze 100-year-old Manor Garden Allotments.
David Mackay, Author of the original Stratford City plan and lead Architect for the Barcelona Olympic Village and Port – flagged up as the most successful Olympics for regeneration recently – wrote, ‘Unfortunately London has lost this opportunity by deciding to agree to cover the existing recreation facilities with the silliest architecture seen for years with no real concern for a legacy. So far as Legacy is concerned we are being asked to look at the Emperor’s New Clothes – so delicate that nobody can see them. If carried out, and with only five years to go, the Olympic legacy is more likely to be like a Hollywood set for a ghost town or an abandoned Expo site.’
The eviction date is set to be 2nd April at the latest.
Manor Gardens, bequeathed to be allotments ‘in perpetuity’ by their original owner the ‘ Right Hon’ Major Villiers, sit in the North central section of the Olympic Park. The LDA plan to remove them to make a footpath to the stadia and now to house a screen, destroying in the process a century of devoted cultivation and a close-knit community rooted in this irreplaceable site. Old timers, Tom and Albert, have been growing veg and keeping fit here for 54 and 58 years respectively, taking over from their fathers. 10 year old Boris, whose parents are members, nags them to come to the plot and wants to hand his plot down to his son. Members trust in the permanence of the site led one plot holder to scatter his brother’s ashes on his plot.
However this diverse community of Turks Cypriots, Greeks, Jamaicans, Africans and Brits welcome the potential for regeneration brought by the Olympic development. Rather than being moved out of the way they want to offer their contribution which seems to them to be entirely consistent with the Olympic and Government ambitions. They believe to remove the allotment gardens would be to rip out the ‘healthy heart’ of the Olympic Park area as well as to fragment the community.
Even if the Manor Gardening community could be protected by relocation there is growing opposition from people local to the relocation site on Marsh Lane fields. If planning permission is granted it would only be for seven years after which the Society may be moved again. Yet it would take at least twenty years, plus the right conditions, to re-establish our current food production levels and to create a similarly viable community.
As plot holder Armagan and her friend Cavide said, ‘We could make the London Olympics different from all other Olympics. Having the allotments in the Olympic Park and preserving them for the Legacy Park would send out the message world wide that the UK really does care after all.’
But do the LDA and the Mayor care about local grown initiatives even when they are successful examples, like Manor Garden Allotments, of the Governments own strategies such as the London Food and the Biodiversity Strategies?
Writer and supporter of the campaign to incorporate the allotments, Iain Sinclair says, ‘We don’t want it (the Olympic Park) imagining for us. We don’t want it over-imagined. We want to imagine it for ourselves. Please preserve the soul of the place as represented by the beautiful Manor Garden Allotments.’
At the end of the day the TV will be turned on in the Community Shed to show the broadcast of ‘Disappearing London’ featuring Manor Garden Allotments on ITV at 7.30pm.’
This event is open to everybody but the organisers would appreciate an acknowlegement of intention from those coming so that they can gauge attendence. Please firstname.lastname@example.org