Frimley Fuel Allotments

A Brief History

The origins of the Fuel Allotments date back to the Enclosures Act of 1801 which authorised the transfer of much common land in England into private hands with the intention of increasing food production across the country. In each parish, an area of land was to be designated to enable the poor to collect wood, sand and gravel to meet their everyday needs once they no longer had access to the newly enclosed common land .

The Commissioners responsible for implementing the Act designated the Frimley Fuel Allotments on 11 April 1826 and appointed the Lord of the Manor, Rector and Church Wardens of the parish and the two Overseers of the Poor of Frimley as Trustees.

For the next 75 years, the structure of the Charity remained much the same. The Trustees were granted more freedom in the way they dispensed aid to the poor and were no longer limited to providing only wood for fuel. Rents from cottages built on the land and proceeds from the sale of a parcel of land [then known as the ‘Frimley Green Firing Allotment] produced an income which, at the turn of the century was £58 a year.

In 1898, in keeping with Fuel Allotments elsewhere, it was proposed that responsibility for the Frimley Fuel Allotments be transferred to the newly formed Urban District Council [UDC]. Frimley UDC covered the area which now includes the communities of Camberley, Frimley, Frimley Green, Mytchett and Deepcut. The Charity Commission duly gave its approval and the transfer came into force on 20 March 1903.

In 1904, the Charity contributed a portion of the proceeds from the sale of land at Deepcut [then known as Blackdown] to the Army to cover one third of the cost of building the Frimley Cottage Hospital adjacent to the White Hart Inn in Frimley High Street.   Around the same time, the Charity leased the bulk of its land to the Army and annual income rose to about £200, of which £140 was from the Army lease.

In 1968, land was sold to Surrey County Council for the construction of Tomlinscote School and playing field and the proceeds were invested to increase the annual income of the Charity. The increased sums available in the year following the sale resulted in the following grants:

  • 251 people receiving a £5 fuel voucher £1255
  • Donations to the Old People’s Welfare Committee £2000
  • Allocation to be used for the purposes of the Charity £750

In 1974 Frimley UDC and Bagshot Rural District Council were merged to form Surrey Heath Borough Council and the new body took over responsibility for the Allotments. In the same year, the Council acting as Trustees of the Charity, terminated the lease with the Army in preparation for a planned Golf Course and a possible housing development on the land. It was this potential conflict of interest for the Council [as both custodian of the land and grantor of planning permission] which led to the formation of a new body of Trustees, independent of the Council to manage the Charity.

The new Trustees took up their roles in 1983. They inherited an estate of 262 acres and investment income amounting to £13,000 per annum. Under their stewardship, a 125 year lease for the Pine Ridge Golf Course was signed and the course opened in 1992. Income from the lease now represents by far the largest proportion of the Charity’s annual income which currently stands at over £200,000.