We recently received this email correspondence from Kim Wainwright of The Royal Oak Lane Allotment Association. This was regarding a local community project that the Balfour Beatty/Vinci and Lynch team undertook on the M6 Smart Motorway Project.
I am secretary of Royal Oak Lane Allotment Association and I recently wrote to the team working on the M6 Smart Motorway junc 2-4 project on the off chance that they may like to help us as a community support project.
I asked if there was anything that the team could do to help us in our quest to improve our site. We have a number of projects in the pipeline to improve the site for the community, such as a compost toilet, improve the roof of our toilet block, improve the drive (we are on quite a hill and the bottom of our site becomes very flooded in bad weather or the winter) and a pond to improve wildlife on site, and also water conservation. Our plan on the last one is to have a pump that could pump the water back up to the top of the site. We are trying very hard to encourage a more natural way of gardening, stop using chemicals of any sort etc. All of these are hopes and dreams at the moment as I need to find funding where I can.
I was contacted by Nick Cuming, Stakeholder Manager, Balfour Beatty who asked if he could visit the site. He came along with Tom Law, Sales Manager of Lynch in order to discuss our needs.
The result of this meeting was that over last weekend, Darren Rae, Supervisor at Lynch, and two operatives, laid the most amazing drive for us, from top to nearly the bottom. They brought plant machinery and detailed planings ( we will have had 6 loads by the time they deliver the last two tomorrow) and have done a great job. By great job, I really mean the most amazing job for us.
The men worked so hard Saturday and Sunday. Darren worked until 8pm both days to make sure that the job was completed. They scraped the surface of the drive and levelled this out all the way down. The site is 600 foot from top to bottom. They laid a couple of drainage pipes under the middle car park area to help divert the water down the road. The idea being that we direct the surface water into the pond which will act as a resevoir instead of the area flooding as it did.
They dug out a fabulous pond, which we can now line and fence and use for the benefit of the whole site. They have banked up the area at the back and we are hoping to have two bee hives on there and plant around with lovely plants for nectar. Hoping to encourage wildlife of all sorts and provide a relaxing area for the people on site.
Some of our people are aged or disabled, so will benefit from the peace and quiet and in fact are already finding it much easier to walk on the surface as opposed to the one that was there, which was two mud tyre tracks with grass down the middle which had to be cut on a regular basis. However, we also have young families that we are trying to encourage to take up gardening who will also benefit by being able to show the children the wildlife and to learn how to grow (and enjoy) fresh vegetables.
We have just under 50 plots on site, some of which are worked as half plots so you can understand just how many people are going to benefit from the work that has been done.
They created a car park half way down (which was there but tended to be very muddy on wet days and sometimes unusable) and have created an area in front of the pond for another couple of cars/turning point.
Yesterday Tom brought along his Works Manager, along with Nick and they have kindly offered us an additional two loads of planings to finish off the road at the bottom of the site and the use of any thing that is currently going in to skips from the compound which is items like old pallets, wood off cuts, nold etting etc that we can certainly make use of.
I cannot say how grateful we are for the kind generosity of Balfour Beatty Vinci and Lynch. We would never have been able to achieve what the team did for us this weekend.
Not only will our current patrons benefit, but future gardeners on this site will hugely benefit. Once we have the pond and wildlife area and bee hives up and running, we have several local schools that my well be interested in getting involved too, (after all these are our future allotment gardeners).
Tom and Nick have been so supportive to us. I cannot stress how many thanks we would like to give them. We see them working every day on the M6 Smart Motorway junc 2-4 project, which runs virtually right over our allotment site so it has been especially poignant that they have been able to help us take a step forward.
I attach some pictures of the work. I will of course send pictures in the future once we have the pond settled in too.
On behalf of Royal Oak Lane Allotments Association
Royal Oak lane