Billesley Lane Allotments Open Day
Birmingham Friends of the Earth attended the Billesley Lane Allotments Open Day on Sunday 11th July. It was a lovely event, as always, with stalls, things for sale, excellent cakes, and some beautifully kept plots.
Only the long white ribbon cutting the site in two reminded us of the bleak fact that two thirds of the whole site will be turned into a practice green for landowners Moseley Golf Club in eighteen months time.
With the site now 'blighted' by future development, some empty plots have arisen on the once permanently over-subscribed allotments. Billesley Lane looks a touch untidy in places, but a carefully 'neglected' plot can be a real draw for wildlife, as the Open Day briefing explained.
The scrubby and overgrown areas are teeming with life. In the first straight stretch of the path from the shed to where the stream turns left, more than 40 species of plants can be found inhabiting the banks, including sedge, figwort, horseradish, hogweed, green alkanet, comfrey, greater and lesser celandine, knapweed, speedwell and fringecups, to name but a few.
Insects like hoverflies and dragonflies are abundant. Large white, small tortoiseshell and numerous other butterflies can be spotted too. Several ponds on the allotments mean there's always an abundance of frogs and froglets hopping around (watch where you tread!) The site's hedges are a haven for birds such as robins, blackbirds and chaffinches, with sparrowhawk, woodpecker and heron making regular, though less frequent, visits. Sadly, many of these animals and plants will be lost when the Golf Club reclaims the land. We'll let you know when the formal planning application is eventually submitted.
Councillor Martin Mullaney has pledged to support the Allotments. Please write to his colleagues, Cllrs Emily Cox and David Jepson, and ask them to join him. You can also write to Cllr Mike Whitby, leader of the Council, and Cllr Nigel Dawkins, cabinet member for Leisure, Sport and Culture.
Letters to all councillors can be sent to: Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB. E-mail a councillor using the following formula email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any golf players reading this are urged to boycot Moseley Golf Club, and write to the Club explaining why. Their address is: Chairman, Moseley Golf Club, Springfield Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7DX.