North Road Allotments are managed by North Road Plotholders Group (NRPG), a not-for-profit gardening group, on behalf of Hertford Town Council. All North Road allotment plot holders are automatically members of NRPG free of charge and can use all the facilities it provides. The NRPG Committee is elected each year at the AGM held in the autumn. If you would like to be on the Committee, please see any of the current committee members. The constitution is here. The committee meets at least twice a year, and minutes are kept. Usually a representative of Hertford Town Council is present.
Please see here for the AGM Minutes and Annual Accounts archive.
History of North Road and NRPG
The earliest mention we know of this area being used for allotments is 1831, when it was marked on the tithe map of St Andrews church. It is likely that allotments were here for some time before, possibly dating to the Acts of Enclosure and the legalized theft of land from the common people by the local aristocracy. As with many allotment sites, the site was cultivated intensively during the wars, but usage fell into decline as the nation embraced 'modern' factory-made food in the 1970s and 80s. At some time, few of the plots were let and tended. A huge effort in the early 2000s, led by Brian and Linda Wilkerson led to the derelict areas of the site being cleared, and the whole site managed and cared for more productively. Multiple improvement projects were undertaken, such as the provision of a shop, communal equipment shed, communal compost pens and rain shelter – much of it funded by competitively won grants from bodies such as the National Lottery and East Herts Council. Check out the gallery for before-and-after pictures.
Foundation of North Road Plotholders Group (NRPG)
North Road Plotholders Group was founded in 2000 by Brian and Linda Wilkerson.
Brian writes about the early days of NRPG...
In 1998 I was the Allotment Secretary for Hertford Town Council but because of staff reorganisations the post was combined with that of Cemetery Superintendent to create a new 'Estates Manager' position. Fellow plotholders on the North Road Allotments site were disappointed that they no longer had anyone that they could speak to informally about the allotments. As I had retired and was still young enough (at 50) to be active, my wife and I decided to look into tidying up the North Road site. When I approached the Council they did not seem very interested.
Once we started to clear the car parks, unused plots and other areas, more plotholders joined in and soon there was a small team of volunteers happily working away. I purchased a second hand petrol lawnmower and the Council gave us a strimmer. However, when we applied for our first grant to purchase more equipment, we soon discovered that because we had no formal structure such as a constitution or a committee, grant-awarding agencies were not willing to consider our applications. Fortunately Geoff Bunce of the Groundwork Trust came to our aid and helped us with advice on insurance, grant applications, Health & Safety etc.
We joined the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), who kindly drafted our Rules and Constitution; each plotholder paid £2 to join and in 2000 a committee was elected and the Group was formed. This event also helpfully coincided with the Government's “Growing in the Community” initiative, which was a good practice guide for the management of allotments.
We went from strength-to-strength receiving grants from many organisations, including £1812 from the National Lottery for the green hut to store our equipment, £500 from The Groundwork Trust for purchasing trees and fencing for the orchard, £500 from the Royal Society of Nature Conservation to start the shop, £275 from The Hertfordshire Environmental Landfill Partnership for a weed-incinerating flame gun, and £50 from Whitbread Brewery to plant trees. The heavy duty rotavator was purchased by a grant kindly provided by Shell Better Britain.
After consultation with the Hertford Town Council in 2005, an agreement was reached for the day-to-day management of the site to be devolved to the group. After an initial two year period it was extended for a further four years, with an agreement that any further renewal should be in place by September 2011.
In those six years the site and its facilities continued to improve. The toilets were improved, a new series of compost pens were built (with a grant from EHDC), more equipment was purchased, a communal tool shed, and rain shelter were built, the site shop and seed scheme were made available to allotment holders on the other sites in Hertford. Local groups and schools visited the site and we were even approached by Edwina Robarts of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) to be featured in their annual 'Yellow Book' of gardens to visit in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
A new committee of NRPG members has managed the site since the lease renewal in 2011.