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New Life Blossoms Again at Lido Allotments, Neglected for Decades

Published on: 22 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 24 Mar, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

A year ago, the Lido allotments were overgrown, neglected and an eyesore. But thanks to the new wardens, led by Dylan Thomas, they are now bursting with life and productivity. And requests for plots are flooding in.

Lido allotments springing into life.

Mr Thomas said: “All 22 plots are now taken and we’ve got 62 on the waiting list. We had 20 enquiries in the past two weeks alone.”

Cameras installed on the Lido allotments have deterred night-time activities.

He took over care for the allotments only a year ago, having moved from Woking. “I couldn’t get a plot in Burpham where I now live and the Lido was my second choice

But not just vegetation had to be cleared. The site, ringed with tumbledown fences, had become the haunt of drug-users and rubbish tippers. Cameras were installed to deter night-time activity and the cleaning began.

“We repaired and cleared the shed,” said Mr Thomas. “There was rubbish in there going back to the Eighties, including old football pools coupons. We’ve taken away about three tonnes of waste. We tidied up and it feels a lot safer.”

Lido allotments were overgrown a year ago. Around 3 tonnes of rubbish had to be removed.

Mr Thomas, 37, said the allotment holders have been really motivated. “They weren’t expecting a youngish warden who really wanted to get stuck in.

“A lot of people walk past on their way to Stoke Park and admire what we’ve done. I love working in the fresh air and chatting with people. Like most sites, there is a variety, and most people are really friendly.

“We have people here from Iraq, USA, Denmark, Poland, Scots, Welsh, English, Chinese and Indian. We have a plot run by the young people from the Halow Project, the charity providing opportunities and support for young people, and even a Baptist pastor. That’s not bad, is it?”

Dylan Thomas looks over his own plot on the Lido allotments.

Mr Thomas’ own allotment was head-height in brambles he had to clear. He had been self-sufficient in vegetables from his allotment in Woking and he said to be back to that position again will take at least a year.

“I love being able to grow and eat my own organic veg. I have a bit of a pond here. It’s only tiny but it’s there to grow watercress and to attract frogs. They will eat my slugs.”

Plans for the allotments? “Some plots have disappeared under the rubbish pushed over the embankment.” he said. “Hopefully, we can get them reinstated.”

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