21 Aug 2011

Randwick Parish meeting, Guide Hut, allotments and sycamores

A lovely morning. Earlier this week we had a Whiteshill and Ruscombe allotment meeting in The Star. It is great to see how the project has progressed - we are still learning together - and several more allotment work parties have been established to tidy the site. We have had a recent donation of wood chips which has improved the paths but more is needed as we only managed a rather thin spread when we first got started....

Cartoon: Russ' cartoon for the last WaRbler edition

....anyway this week also was a Randwick Parish Council meeting and one of the items was the plans there for allotments. It was agreed the plans would go on noticeboards and in the Runner for consultation with residents. The plans are for a small corner of the playing fields to be fenced and turned into a mini-allotment site like in Whiteshill and Ruscombe. There is one large British Sycamore tree that may have to come down - such trees are considered invasive weeds in Norway, New Zealand and other places - indeed it is considered a non native species in Britain. From the Royal Forestry Society of England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s site:
"[Sycamore] is not native to Britain. Its real home is high ground in southern and central Europe extending northwards to Paris and east to the Caucasus. When and who first introduced sycamore to Britain is uncertain. It may have been the Romans but it was still scarce here in the 16th century and has only really become established over the last 200 years."
However it is still in my view a beautiful mature tree that adds positively to the local landscape. I do think it will need to be removed to make way for the allotments. If this is necessary there are plans for planting of trees at another more suitable site. There may also be a new additional hedge planted but which ever way it is looked at, I think that the allotments will increase the biodiversity of the site - and of course mean more local food. More discussion will be necessary but it is great there is enthusiasm for more allotments.

At the Parish meeting I also raised the good news re sewer repairs to Ruscombe Brook (see here) and the Stroud Eco-Renovation Open Homes that I am helping organise - it includes a home in Westrip (see details here).

Another big discussion was the old Guide Hut - several residents came to express concerns of it's concerning use by young people. What can be done? This is not a new discussion - see my blog in 2007 here. Indeed the last time the Parish discovered a covenant was on the site that restricted use but it is wholly unsatisfactory to continue in it's increasingly derelict state. Well the Parish are contacting the Guide Association again - they own it but I do think as a community, this is another opportunity for us to come up with an alternative positive use for the site. What about a community orchard? Or what else?

Of course lots more discussed at the Parish but you'll be able to read all that in the minutes on their website.

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