Written by: Cyril Hovard
In the beginning
There have been allotments in Blandford since 1897. These allotments were given to the people of Blandford by Lord Portman to grow crops. They were free of charge. When he died in 1929, the Crown estate wanted the land back as part of his death duties so the Portman Estate sold them to the then Blandford District Council. The site at that time was 20 acres, and was situated where the Blandford Heights industrial estate now resides. Gradually, more of this land was sold off for industrial use until the last 3 acres were all that remained of a once significant and ancient plot. When the now Blandford Town Council wished to sell the last remaining 3 acres for industrial use, it was deemed by the Local Authority that these were ‘statutory allotments’ and therefore had to be replaced with new allotments. Blandford Town Council looked for alternative land, as did the Blandford Allotment Society. Four sites were proposed as alternatives, and eventually Lamperds Field was chosen.
Lamperds Field was leased by the Davies Family, and their workers always referred to it as Lamperds Field because it was actually owned by the Lamperds sisters, who leased it to the family. The Davies family eventually bought it, and then later on leased it to the Blandford Town Council in 2001 for use as allotments on a 999 year lease and a peppercorn rent. Soil samples were taken, indicating that the soil was quite good, but needed nutrients, so as part of the agreement, Blandford Town Council paid for the first load of manure. The council also put in the warehouse/shed, the water infra-structure and the roads and fencing at a total cost of £250,000.
This site is completely separate from the Lamperds Field site, and is owned by North Dorset District Council. It was built as part of the council estate within which it is sited. It was been there since 1945. These allotments are non-statutory, and in the past, the Blandford Allotment Society have tried to secure longer term agreements for plot holders, but these attempts have failed to date. The sites are therefore operated on a very short term agreement (3 months notice is all that is required before eviction). The site is allocated for residential development at some point.
Blandford Allotment Society
The Blandford Allotment Society and the Blandford Horticultural Society were set up about 20 years ago by enthusiasts. These enthusiasts included Cyril Hovard and Bill Gallagher (sadly now deceased). The Allotment Society now manages the Lamperds Field site and also has some management responsibility for the Elizabeth Road Site. The Society also organises events and talks