The story of how the Meads community in Eastbourne came together, aided by their Conservative councillor, to save threatened allotments, is featured in the new issue of Sussex Life magazine.
Councillor Robert Smart (pictured) recalls how in April 2019 a ‘For Sale’ notice appeared on the site stating that it was to be auctioned. This worried both residents and the allotment holders.
A steering group was quickly formed, and discussions began with Grainger plc who owned the land. Led by Robert, this resulted in Grainger cancelling the auction.
Conceived in 1894, this square of artisans’ villas around central allotments was built by George Ambrose Wallis, the 7th Duke of Devonshire’s Chief Planner and Civil Engineer who in 1883 became the first Mayor of Eastbourne.
Known initially as Wallis’s Cottages, their original purpose was to house workers from the Duke’s Estate. It is known now as The Village and it is not only at the heart of Meads but also the centrepiece of the Meads conservation area.
The company wanted to sell to a group representing the local community in order to preserve it as a long-term asset for Meads and prevent any possibility at all of future development.
With the support of the Meads Community Association (MCA) and Councillor Smart, residents set up the Meads Village Allotments Community Interest Company (CIC).