SAVE OUR WELLESBOURNE ALLOTMENTS (SOWA)
Is there a parallel to be drawn between gerrard Winstanley & his Diggers protest movement of the 17th century & today’s campaign by Wellesbourne allotmenteers
THE DIGGERS SONG - Gerrard Winstanley - 1609 - 1676
sung by agricultural workers from 17th Century to 19th Century.
On February 9th 2019 Wellesbourne Allotments held a celebration for the life of local hero Joseph Arch MP. Jospeh Arch changed the course of history when he founded the National Agricultural Labourers Union after holding a historically significant meeting on 7th February 1872 outside the Stag’s Head Pub in Wellesbourne attended by 2000 workers. Arch went onto become an MP and used his time in Parliament to become a Champion of allotments. Arch understood the need for agricultural workers to have a plot of land to ensure they did not go hungry, not only because of the poor wages they were paid but also if they withdraw their labour they would not starve.
See all the Jospeh Arch celebrations videos below
Since news broke that the Diocese Of Coventry is planning to sell an option to developers for up to 50 homes on our allotments site we have been vigorously objecting and seeking clarifications to the proposals. Our campaign has reached regional and national media and we received messages of support from all over the world.
Our thanks to the thousands of people who have signed our petitions at Sainsbury’s, outside the village hall on Neighbourhood Plan referendum day, at our Open Day, at the Street Fayre and at Stratford market. Your support has helped us obtain recognition from the Diocese of the part we play in the community and as a result they have made some - but limited - changes to their original plans.
We Will not lose the plot!
On Wednesday January 16 2019 Wellesbourne Allotment Association plotholders voted overwhelmingly to reject a proposal by Coventry Diocese which would potentially see part of the historic site being developed.
The vote was made at the first recorded extraordinary general meeting held by the association in its history. There was an 82% turn out. 98% of votes cast were to reject the proposal. Chair of Wellesbourne and Walton Parish Council Anne Prior attended as an independent observer.
Chair Ian Hope said: “We asked plotholders to consider written proposals from the Diocese which would open the way for part of the land to be developed in return for land adjoining the current allotments adjacent to the flood plain and an offer not seek to further develop on allotment land for 25 – 50 years – the equivalent of just one or two generations. These proposals were made in a letter to the association and no formal planning application has yet been made.
“Plotholders expressed a number of wide ranging views and concerns and overwhelmingly agreed to reject the proposal and to continue to fight to remain on land where local people have been growing their own food for more than 180 years.
“We are informing the diocese of the results of the vote. We have offered to buy the land at agricultural rates which would help secure the allotments for the community in perpetuity. The Diocese has rejected that concept but in light of our overwhelming support we would very much hope they reconsider and instead help us to maintain what is recognised universally as a much valued community asset.”
We are now waiting for a response from the Diocese. Thank you for your support
See here for a time line of our battle so far.
See some of the national and news coverage our campaign has received so far here
Please visit here to see how you can help us win this battle to save the allotments for today’s and future generations!