The Belmont Allotment Site

History

In the late 19th century the allotment site formed part of the substantial Sutton Lodge Estate. The estate was acquired by John T Overton in 1838 and he bought out the copyhold, which had previously been held by the Manor of Sutton, in 1866. Overton was a substantial farmer who by the time of his death in 1882 was working 350 acres employing scores of farm workers. He was also a philanthropist and supporter and promoter of public works. It is believed to have been during his lifetime that the site was first divided into small parcels and made available to his farm labourers for growing food for their own families. At a later stage some of these parcels were also made available for other local poor families as an act of charity. The site is identified as Allotment Gardens on a 1913 Ordnance Survey map. The estate remained in the Overton Family until the mid 20th century but had gradually diminished with tranches having been sold off for developmental purposes but the allotment gardens survived and at some point were passed to the local council to be held in trust for their continued original purpose. It would not be unreasonable to assume that the transfer would have included appropriate covenants or conditions to ensure this and this is popularly believed to be the case. A search has been made at the Land Registry but Title to the land is not registered there. LBS Parks Department have been asked to trace Title and any covenants but so far without any success. In the absence of Title, we would challenge any attempt to use any part of the currently designated site for purposes other than allotment gardening and related activity.