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Parish plot uncovered
Les Creux Allotment plots allocated by ballot at packed meeting
by Kenny Vay

LES CREUX BOWLS CLUB hosted a packed meeting on Thursday 02 September attended by nearly 100 people, 30 of whom were hoping to be allocated a plot in the draw arranged by the Les Creux Allotment Association Steering Group. With 84 people applying for just the 30 plots available it was the only way it could resolve the situation the Association said.

The masterplan and several other copies of the plans were pinned up on boards which the would-be plotholders were able to study prior to a presentation by Chairman of the Les Creux Allotment Association, former Senator Mike Vibert and Chairman of the Jersey Allotment and Leisure Gardening Association Trust (JALGA), Jeff Hathaway.

Some of the plans included the calculated cost of each plot. Due to varying sizes, these ranged from as little as £93 per annum for a raised bed for less-abled gardeners to £171 per annum for the largest plot which was 169 square metres in area.

Mike Vibert opened the evening and welcomed everyone to the Bowls Club and introduced the Committee and two specially invited guests, Senator Alan Breckon, who would conduct the draw, and Advocate Tony del Amo representing legal firm and JALGA sponsors, Le Gallais and Luce.

Jeff Hathaway then went on the explain the relationship between the two organisations and the importance of the role of JALGA in providing the legal platform by which the Les Creux allotments - and all future such allotments within the Island could be developed.

Mike Vibert then outlined the terms of the Planning consent, which included a clause committing the Les Creux Assocation to observe JALGA rules and standards and  consent to erect a shed on each plot.

The background to the development was explained by Jeff Hathaway who said: "I was privileged to have been appointed by Economic Development to chair the Allotment Working Party in 2009. Although the report subsequently submitted to the Assistant Minister, Len Norman, was generally well-received there was a clear issue with the funding and setting up of a 'body' to oversee allotment development as had been recommended. The challenge was set to find an alternative vehicle, the outcome of which has been JALGA - a charitable Purpose Trust".

He went to say that much is owed to the late Chris Lakeman, then a partner in Le Gallais & Luce, who saw the way forward. "We are indebted to his firm for undertaking all of the considerable legal work and the setting up of JALGA as a charitable Purpose Trust, pro-bono. The firm had also confirmed their intention to continue in their support and sponsorhip- for which we are hugely grateful."

It was also acknowledged that several businesses, including the Co-operative, HSBC Banking Group and the Bosdet Foundation had all made generous sponsorship contributions and that the Planning Department has also been 'tremendous'.

It was then time for the draw - in fact a double draw. Mike Vibert explained: "A double draw serves two purposes. Firstly it is a means of allocating the 30 available plots and secondly creates an ordered waiting list for those unlucky enough not to draw a plot".

The draw itself was conducted by Senator Alan Breckon and all 30 plots were allocated, as expected, very quickly.  Everyone, even those who did not gain a plot, all agreed that the method was effective and 'as fair as it could be'.

In summing up, Senator Alan Breckon said: "It's a remarkable achievement and all credit to Jeff and JALGA, Mike, and the Steering Group. Allotments are much needed community facility - this the first of many I would think".

Work will shortly start on securing the field boundaries, laying pathways and marking out the plots. It is anticipated that the 'pioneer plotholders of St. Brelade' will be able to take possession of their plots by late October - and enjoying some of their first produce early next year.

To register for a plot and for further information about the Jersey Allotment and Leisure Gardening Association: Please click here
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