Melvin Nowland

Loss of a Leeds Allotment Stalwart

Sad loss of a Leeds Allotments Stalwart

Melvin Nowland, an allotment plot-holder and Trustee at Headingley Station West Allotments in Leeds, has sadly died following a long illness.

He was committed to the preservation of the allotment movement in Leeds and could be, quite rightly, outspoken to influences he thought detrimental to the allotment movement in Leeds. He was an active member of the Leeds Allotments Federation for more years than I can remember. Even when wheelchair bound, he attended meetings regularly, and events when he could, he showed a very commendable commitment and remained a stalwart to our allotment movement in Leeds.

His contribution to the preservation and running of allotments in Leeds will be sadly missed.

Melvin at a LAF Training Day
Melvin at the LAF Training Day.

From Phil Gomersall

Sow a Row Xtra

Help folks around Leeds make a start growing food.

Feed Leeds is running a Sow a Row Xtra project – SowX for short – to give people all over Leeds a start in growing their own food. They are looking for help to produce seedlings and find seeds, pots and other useful stuff from growers around Leeds. Seedlings and plants can be left at Drop-off sites and and people can drop of or collect them from Xchange sites. There is a list of Drop-off and Xchange sites on their interactive map.

Student Survey on Leeds Allotments

Interesting survey on the value of allotments in Leeds

An Ecology student at Leeds University is conducting an online survey about Leeds allotments and their value to urban food production and people’s health and wellbeing. The survey is easy to complete and only takes about ten or fifteen minutes. People who have done it find it quite interesting, and it may even help us in our campaign for more allotment sites to meet the huge demand in Leeds.

LAF Group Insurance Forms Due 30 Oct

Get a quote for the LAF group insurance.

It’s that time of year again.  If you want a quote in November for Allotment Site Insurance then now is the time to complete the data form (It has not changed since last year).  If you are new to the form and or process, Ken Mulley-Smith is here to help you.   He has run this process for the last two years on behalf of and for LAF. 

Attached is the data form for you to complete and return by Oct 30th to Ken, by email (   He will then work with Chris Knott Insurance to get a group quote for us all.  

The data form has not changed, but Shield Insurance have sold their business to Chris Knott Insurance.  Attached below is the Chris Knott Insurance (CKI) Summary Of Cover document and a link to their website for further information. 

Ken has still to review and compare the CKI Summary Of Cover document line by line to the Shield 2020 document. If you see anything different, then please let him know via email. The Summary of Cover includes:

  1. Public Liabilities of the club, its members (not landlords)
  2. Court Awards
  3. Employers’ Liability
  4. Wrongful Acts 
  5. Property
  6. Abandoned Events
  7. Loss of Money
  8. General Exclusions

Do not click the “Get a QUOTE” button on the CKI web page. To get a quote, fill in Ken’s form and email it to him.

Thieves Strike Again

Thieves hit Leeds allotments again.

Now the thieves have hit Hayley’s Field allotments and got away with some valuable power mowers and other tools. Then they came back to Ash Road and managed to open the already damaged doors of a shipping container and get away with a ride-on mower worth about £7k. This time they had some good bolt cutters and cut a heavy motor bike chain holding the doors shut. They were very determined to get what they wanted.

Some suggestions:

  • A big sign saying CCTV is in operation. Maybe a dummy camera if you can’t manage a real one.
  • Take photos of valuable stuff and keep them safe off the site somewhere, along with purchase receipts and serial numbers
  • Chain valuable equipment to the floor.
  • Enlist neighbors to report suspicious activity at night.

Attacks on Leeds Allotments

Allotments hit by determined and well equipped criminals.

There have been alarming reports of break-ins at several allotment sites in NW Leeds in the last few days. So far there have been reports of break-ins at Ash Road, Meanwood Parkside Road, Headingley Station Allotments and also the Cricket Club nearby. There are probably more attacks to come.

We are dealing with a gang of determined and well equipped criminals here. This is what happened at Ash Road:

On our site at Ash Road, Headingley, the thieves targeted almost every shed on our 9 acre site, so I would guess about 100 sheds entered in total.  Fortunately in most cases the thieves nearly opened doors and looked in, but in a substantial minority of cases there was ransacking of the shed contents.  I have certainly had reports of a rotavator and a couple of strimmers being taken – despite the fact that we warn people not to leave such items in their sheds. We had both our storage containers entered. We lost three petrol strimmers and a petrol hedge trimmer.  

Note that they managed to get into locked sheds and two secure storage containers, causing serious damage in the process. At Parkside Road they broke the lock off the main gate, then drove a vehicle in.

Be vigilant!

Don’t Plant Mystery Seeds!

Don’t plant mystery seeds.

There are continued reports of people in the UK receiving mystery seeds in the post that they did not order. The seeds appear to come from foreign countries, and are often listed on customs forms as something else.

The seeds Jan Goward received were marked as ‘ear studs’ and were ostensibly shipped from Singapore.

If you receive a parcel like this don’t plant the seeds. And don’t add them to your compost. They may be an invasive pest plant, or even spread a plant disease. You can report them to the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on their web site or by emailing them at

There is useful advice on importing plant material safely on the RHS web site.