Growing a Sustainable Future at St Ann’s Allotments

A new project is underway to help preserve and grow St Ann’s Allotments for future generations – led by some of the UK’s leading heritage experts working alongside gardeners and community groups. From the allotments’ unique collection of heritage buildings dating back to the 19th century, old photographs and scores of oral histories; to the wealth of heritage skills now on-site, including basket-making, willow-weaving, green-roofing, carpentry, lime-rendering and permaculture.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players; the ‘Growing a Sustainable Future’ project is being funded by a £67,300 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It will include developing a short, medium and long-term masterplan to make sure St Ann’s Allotments continues to thrive over the next 20 years and beyond with a future shaped by the people who use and love it.

As well as preserving and protecting the allotments’ unique history and heritage, the project will also explore how the site can be improved for allotment gardeners and communities that use it as a vital green space in the heart of St Ann’s, and how it can become financially sustainable in a changing economic climate.

Many of the plots contain heritage varieties of fruit tree and rose

We’re very excited to be working alongside national heritage experts on the project including ADP Architecture – the name behind conservation projects for places like Oxford Castle and the University of Leeds School of Fine Art; Glevum Consulting – a heritage expert that’s helped preserve national treasures such as Winchester Cathedral and Bristol Old Vic Theatre; and Community First Partnership (CFP) – a specialist parks, green space and heritage consultancy whose clients include English Heritage and The Royal Parks.

The project team will work closely with Garden Champions representing allotment-holders; community organisations that use the site including STAA, Ecoworks, Framework, Autism East Midlands, Nature in Mind Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum; and Nottingham City Council’s Allotments Service. We’re also hoping to work alongside local heritage and wildlife organisations.

Nicola Hinton, Site Manager at St Ann’s Allotments, believes one of the most important aspects of the project is involving site users in the future of the allotments, while bringing in the expertise of seasoned heritage and green space experts:

“We’re incredibly grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their continued support and to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing team of professionals. We also recognise that there is a huge wealth of skill, knowledge, expertise and passion within the St Ann’s Allotments community, so it makes perfect sense that we look forward to the future of the allotments together.”

One of the many listed Victorian buildings on site

What will the team be doing?

ADP Architecture will be helping to preserve St Ann’s Allotments’ rare collection of heritage buildings including historic wells, summerhouses, glasshouses and sheds, one of the UK’s first straw bale buildings and original walls, doors and gates. John Newman from ADP said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected to join the team to preserve and enhance this Grade II* listed heritage site, the largest example in the world of this type of town garden. We’ll be working with the stakeholders and community to masterplan the site and assess the heritage assets, allowing future generations to enjoy this special place.”

Cherie Lumby, Principal Consultant at CFP said: “Having been involved with the allotments since the completion of the National Lottery Heritage Fund restoration project in 2017, which transformed the site from a largely empty and neglected wasteland into the thriving green space it is today, CFP are looking forward to working with staff, stakeholders and volunteers to plan for a sustainable future through the production of a management plan and business plan for this important heritage site.”

Glevum Consulting will be undertaking the project evaluation. Alison Smith, Principle Consultant, said: “the important task of the evaluation is to be able to demonstrate the quality and value of the project to the very many stakeholders.”

Follow the story @stannsallotments on Facebook and Twitter. To find out more about St Ann’s Allotments call 0115 958 9255 or email Nicola