Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Growing => Growing FAQs and other Information => Topic started by: John on June 04, 2009, 16:01

Title: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: John on June 04, 2009, 16:01
Does anyone have any experience of local councils trying to sell off their allotment sites for development? Garden News is investigating this practice and is interested in finding out how big a problem it is and asked for our help.

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Aunty on June 04, 2009, 19:52
The opposite is true in my parish.  The council would like to find land for more allotments but no one in the parish will sell any.  They are all hanging on to it in the hope of getting planning permission for more housing  >:(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Celery on June 04, 2009, 20:05
My brother has one in Woking and he mention something about his been sold of but I think the resession has put it on hold.I think it was going to be a industrial develoment.

                                                  celery :)

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Aunty on June 04, 2009, 20:16
Garden news might find this of use:

PROTECTION OF ALLOTMENTS 
 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmselect/cmenvtra/560/56010.htm)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Jay Dubya on June 04, 2009, 20:32
Hi, i live in Swaffham Norfolk and the council here took two plots for sale, they kept on refering to them as surplus plots and at the time we did have surplus plots, but not these two. These two plots were full of allotmenteers but had access to a road whereas all the surplus land was landlocked. We tried to fight it but didn't stand a chance because we had this other surplus land. Twelve months or so later it's a different story the council are stuck with the land, and we now have a waiting list, so can we overturn the decision probably not, but all those plotholders had to move or retire because of all the work to start a new allotment, not a great outcome.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: digalotty on June 04, 2009, 21:18
the council cut my site in half and are selling half off, it was going to be a site for a relocation of a mental hospital by lord sainsbury  so he could redevelope the original site, he had a covant lifted off the land so he could build on it but local residants found out and stopped it
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: SnooziSuzi on June 04, 2009, 21:49
Our local council tried to sell some of the land at our allotments, but ours are statutory and it had to go to the Sec. of State who, at the time, was John Prescott.  He took one look and overturned it in our favour!!

http://archive.thenorthernecho.co.uk/2003/6/27/86850.html
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Parsnip on June 04, 2009, 22:02
John, only yesterday BBC Midlands today covered a story on exactly this. It was about a site in Birmingham where  some plots were being sold to a developer >:( There was supposed to be a final decision from the council  today..But I didn't see the programme tonight to see if it was covered.

I've had a quick scan on the BBC midlands today website but I can't find it...
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: compostqueen on June 04, 2009, 23:21
yes our council tried to sell ours off from under us but we fought like hell. Trouble is all the cards are stacked in the council's favour and they just cheat to get round the rules>:(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Mitsy on June 05, 2009, 00:04
Everything boils down to money at the end of the day and its a shame  :(

Councils know there are waiting lists all over the country....some into the 100s. Its been on tv and even radio today about the demand for an allotment and demand can't be met so why close more?   >:(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: BrianK on June 05, 2009, 20:39
One set of Melton Constable allotments were sold off to a develop 2-3 years ago. At that time there were fewer people that wanted one and many of the secondary site were empty.

As it happens there is an issue that means that the allotment area has not yet been built on and may yet be made into allotments again.

Long story......
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: jannie on June 06, 2009, 13:15
there was something like this going on close to our area last year a development company had told the rhiwderin allotment holders that they had to leave buy 2009 ,the offerered them another site but they choose to fight,the last i heard the welsh office had got involved jan
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: angelavdavis on June 06, 2009, 14:47
Our lists are over 200 long for most council allotments in our area and 30+ for private allotments.  Various members of the public (including myself) and organisations such as the Hastings and St Leonards Allotments Federation have tried, over a number of years, to force the local council to reopen allotments as they have watched the lists grow and grow.

Regardless of the letters sent to local papers and councils, they are very slow in moving - citing that they have now got an improved policy for evicting people from untended plots as the first stage of improvement - even though this appears to be very slow and the member of staff at the local council only has 10% of his duties assigned to the management of allotments.

They are currently sitting on a few sites that are statutory and therefore illegally left fallow over the last nine years but claim cost being the reason that they are reticent to reopen these sites before pursuing this new policy.

However, a portion of former Hastings allotment site has been put up for auction on 9th June 2009 (http://www.cliveemson.co.uk/listing_view.asp?Lot=85&Auc=133).  I have queried ownership and it appears to not be in the ownership of the council, who stated in their response to my question on their local Ask The Leader site, that they have no plans to sell off allotment land: (http://www.hastings.gov.uk/asktheleader/questionsanswers.aspx see questions 787, 786, etc)

I have been attempting to meet five other local council tax payers who are on the allotment list in order to start an action against the council and have received support from the allotment federation as mentioned.  However, I have not been yet contacted by anyone despite advertising on various allotment sites, sending a letter to the local paper (that hasn't yet been published), contacting BBC Southern Counties and posting on Hastings Network forum. 

The federation have since discovered that leaving the statutory sites fallow is tantamount to putting them out of action - something they cannot do without permission from the Secretary of State - so the federation (supported by NGALG) is currently challenging them about this.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: caroline800 on June 06, 2009, 18:47
Our city council is talking about selling two sites in the City.  there are currently 18 (ish) sites, the two they are talkingn about selling aren't taking on new tenants and only one site has any vacant plots.  All the rest have waiting lists.  Council had a meeting with reps from all sites in November last year, but we;ve heard nothing since so don;t know if they're going ahead with trying to get permission for the sales.

Caroline
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: BrianK on June 07, 2009, 08:06
I know its not been mentioned but...

If your council HAS to sell off its allotment land (and let's face it.. has anyone got a   cash rich council lately with oodles of spare cash that isn't going to need to raise it's council tax for years to come?) then why not consider forming a Trust to purchase it and run the land as an association.

There are many ways to get funding and in this economic climate developers are not really falling over each other to take on new projects.

The worst possible scenario is that Councils have to neet a target figure of new affordable homes which to be frank hardly any are bothering to attempt, lt alone making an effort to use brownlands as they are meant to be.

Worth a thought.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Christine on June 07, 2009, 16:43
One area of land that used to be allotments now has planning permission for umpty houses, a new small town square with shops, a supermarket and a multi storey car park - however it was owed by the local Duke who seems to be in need of the money.  The fact that he was renting out double plots at a silly rate between £5-£10 a year just meant that he was being a charitable concern for many years.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Celery on June 11, 2009, 22:46
I spoke to my brother the other night and he said that the allottment in Woking are safe. 
       celery ;)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: cathangirl on June 16, 2009, 19:23
Yes, John,
I absolutely refuse to step in our local T...o store, because they built their car park on a huge allotment site some 18 years ago.

No amount of fighting them off worked ........ money obviously talked, but I'll say no more on that, as I know politics are not a good idea on here.
 
Gardeners were distraught at being turfed out of beautifully productive plots.

cathangirl
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Ourveggiepatch on June 24, 2009, 17:23
As far as I am aware the council have a legal duty to provide allotments if residents so require therefore, if they sell off the land they must re-locate you and your lottie neighbours - have a look on the net for legal duties for councils regarding this and quote it too them, they will sit up and and get the shock of their lives and may help stop the selling off of the land!
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Chookster on June 24, 2009, 17:32
well, in dover, i was told the council are always looking to find new areas to make way for allotments - saying that, i'm 86th on the list - since over 2 years ago!

Guys - look up hugh fearnley whittingstall's landshare thing he's doing. you are SO much more likely to get somewhere also if you ask about at farmers markets, veg shops, farms etc.  I've used that to set up my space and have had someone kind enough to allow me total free range of choice as to keeping chickens, quails, pigs, bees etc. Not saying you're going ot get that lucky first time asking someone but it's a more proactive way of getting some land to use.
xXx
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Yorkie on June 24, 2009, 19:23
As far as I am aware the council have a legal duty to provide allotments if residents so require therefore, if they sell off the land they must re-locate you and your lottie neighbours - have a look on the net for legal duties for councils regarding this and quote it too them, they will sit up and and get the shock of their lives and may help stop the selling off of the land!


The vast majority of councils are already aware of their duties under the Allotments Acts, and it's not quite as straightforward as simply requiring them to provide lotties, I'm afraid  :(

Have a look at this thread, which admittedly relates to the closure of sites but also has some info on the law you're referring to (saves me typing it out again  ;) )

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=30071.0
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Ourveggiepatch on June 25, 2009, 21:07
I also tried the landshare scheme and in other parts of the country other than dorset there seemed to be loads of land going spare, I even applied to the National Trust as they are now setting up allotments on some of their properties such as Kingstone Lacy however they seem to be aiming their plots to schools, and community groups etc... so not much luck for me.

I got mine being 30th on the list by simply pestering our local council, making suggestions and enquiries eventually they were so pressurised into finding additional land that they teamed up with another local village who couldnt fill their plots.

Good luck with the search and it maybe worth having a look at the link regarding the law - I thought it was more simple than it is but haven't actually looked into it as I was one of the lucky few to get a plot after waiting 3 years.

Some suggestions to make when contacting councils for an allotment are:


splt plots for new tennents so at least some people will get something when a plot is vacated
try contacting other local villages - have they got spare plots and could the 2 councils work in partnership
find your local farm shop - ask if they would be willing to rent land to people on the waiting list or, to the council - ours was
ask the council to contact all people on waiting list - would they be willing to arrange a     private allotment etc...

good luck
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: alottery on July 06, 2009, 16:44
Our lists are over 200 long for most council allotments in our area and 30+ for private allotments.  Various members of the public (including myself) and organisations such as the Hastings and St Leonards Allotments Federation have tried, over a number of years, to force the local council to reopen allotments as they have watched the lists grow and grow.

Regardless of the letters sent to local papers and councils, they are very slow in moving - citing that they have now got an improved policy for evicting people from untended plots as the first stage of improvement - even though this appears to be very slow and the member of staff at the local council only has 10% of his duties assigned to the management of allotments.

They are currently sitting on a few sites that are statutory and therefore illegally left fallow over the last nine years but claim cost being the reason that they are reticent to reopen these sites before pursuing this new policy.

However, a portion of former Hastings allotment site has been put up for auction on 9th June 2009 (http://www.cliveemson.co.uk/listing_view.asp?Lot=85&Auc=133).  I have queried ownership and it appears to not be in the ownership of the council, who stated in their response to my question on their local Ask The Leader site, that they have no plans to sell off allotment land: (http://www.hastings.gov.uk/asktheleader/questionsanswers.aspx see questions 787, 786, etc)

I have been attempting to meet five other local council tax payers who are on the allotment list in order to start an action against the council and have received support from the allotment federation as mentioned.  However, I have not been yet contacted by anyone despite advertising on various allotment sites, sending a letter to the local paper (that hasn't yet been published), contacting BBC Southern Counties and posting on Hastings Network forum. 

The federation have since discovered that leaving the statutory sites fallow is tantamount to putting them out of action - something they cannot do without permission from the Secretary of State - so the federation (supported by NGALG) is currently challenging them about this.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: thecally on July 15, 2009, 10:51
Does anyone have any experience of local councils trying to sell off their allotment sites for development? Garden News is investigating this practice and is interested in finding out how big a problem it is and asked for our help.

I rent an allotment on the burnley road site in Blackburn, the council are trying to force through a road that will take away the alloments,
any advice would be welcomey e-mail adress is edited for security reasons Please use PM
M



Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: scabs on July 27, 2009, 12:31
Hi,

I know I'm late on this but somehow I never spotted it!

Before I joined, the council tried to build houses on our site. Here's some info...

2006: http://www.nemadvertiser.co.uk/news/s/519552_allotments_selloff_plot_outcry

2007: http://www.ooffoo.com/listing/Our-threatened-allotments.aspx

2007: http://manchester-libdems.org.uk/news/000458/secretary_of_state_rejects_labours_manchester_allotment_selloff.html

2007: http://www.amas.org.uk/edge-lane-allotments/

2009: http://www.thisiseast.com/tag/allotments/


Our site is now going from strength to strength!
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: DD. on July 27, 2009, 12:35
Our council actually acknowledge that may have to get more, (half way down the page)....

http://www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/allotments
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: PennyS on August 12, 2009, 22:39
Hi
Don't know about councils, in our village the local Diocese booted the allotment holders out and put the land up for sale for development as they needed to generate funds.  So having spent goodness knows what fighting for planning permission (it kept getting refused but they eventually pushed it through), 4 years later the land is still up for sale, nobody has bought it, the Diocese has spent a fortune and previously productive land is sitting idle.

Happily a local farmer has leased some land to our parish council and we have a brand new allotment site!

Still seething about the Diocese land though!

Penny
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: richyrich7 on August 15, 2009, 22:47
Not too far from me is a whole site left to go derelict and will this year be put on the market to sell.
Wycombe road plots in Leicester where also reduced by about 2/3 ds some years back to provide more housing space. Sad but there has been little demand in some areas of Leicester for plots others are booming 
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Zeb on August 16, 2009, 09:02
Here in Scunthorpe (Nth Lincs), an allotment site has been empty for the last decade.
The council have dug a ditch and piled up earth across the entrance to stop travellers/fly tippers etc.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: John on August 16, 2009, 13:50
One answer to unused allotments can be to split them. A lot of people find a traditional 10 rod plot too much to cope with but half and even quarter plots are more manageable and so get let. Once people have the skills, they feel able and want to take on larger plots.

We have between 80,000 and 100,000 people nationally on waiting lists. I think part of the problem is some areas are really short whereas others are actually oversupplied, Split plots would go a long way to addressing both problems.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Seaforth Allotments on August 16, 2009, 17:33
I think part of the problem is that many local councils are extremely short of cash.  Whilst allotments deliver significant benefits - of which we are all aware - they do not generate revenue for the council!

Whereas, if an allotment site was sold to private developers, it could (potentially) be worth a small fortune.

I'm currently trying to encourage the development of additional sites in Sefton.  In conversation with a local councillor, however, it transpires that although suitable (council owned) land has been found, the cost of converting it - perhaps as little as £3,000 - cannot be met from council funds.

This is frustrating - but I'm going to keep trying!   :)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: richyrich7 on August 16, 2009, 19:57
Like John has suggested our new allotment site will be 20 10x10m plots, some of them may be split into 1/2 if we have enough take up.

We applied under section 106 for our funds
"Under S106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended, contributions can be sought from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure, the need for which has arisen as a result of a new development taking place."
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on August 17, 2009, 02:20
Hi, i live in Swaffham Norfolk and the council here took two plots for sale, they kept on refering to them as surplus plots and at the time we did have surplus plots, but not these two. These two plots were full of allotmenteers but had access to a road whereas all the surplus land was landlocked. We tried to fight it but didn't stand a chance because we had this other surplus land. Twelve months or so later it's a different story the council are stuck with the land, and we now have a waiting list, so can we overturn the decision probably not, but all those plotholders had to move or retire because of all the work to start a new allotment, not a great outcome.

Government pressure on local authorities to meet new housing targets are leading to all sorts of pieces of valuable land being "surplus"...... this includes our school site! Although legislation prohibits the sale of children’s playing fields there seems a loop hole: If a school is demolished the land it stood on is not a playing field so the children are losing out too. We’ve gone from two football pitches and other sports areas marked out along with a 100m running track to one football pitch and the invite to use the local college all-weather pitch…as well as the long walk that entails to get there and back!

It seems too many people are more concerned with making personal profits than they are in thinking about the community as a whole!       :(  :(   :(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Zeb on August 19, 2009, 09:30

This unused allotment site a few hundred yards from me,looks like it will stay unused.

With a waiting list well into treble figures, the council says it will cost too much to secure/fence the site and add a water supply

(http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc34/Zeb1954/Site.jpg)

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on August 19, 2009, 14:31

This unused allotment site a few hundred yards from me,looks like it will stay unused.

With a waiting list well into treble figures, the council says it will cost too much to secure/fence the site and add a water supply

(http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc34/Zeb1954/Site.jpg)



The big problem with this patch of gound is it looks like there is a nice road leading into it so it would be ideal for yet another belt of housing to help the local authority meet their new house building targets!

We have the prospect of two lots going up near us joining little village areas together. 650 house on Grade 1 agricultural land and then 2,500 houses on the other side of us.

Amazing as a few years back the UK had excess housing stock!!
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Seaforth Allotments on August 19, 2009, 21:42
Quote from: Learner

It seems too many people are more concerned with making personal profits than they are in thinking about the community as a whole!

This is a sad fact.  It is also noticeable that very few resources are directed towards allotments - locally and nationally.

There is a severe shortage of allotments in my local area (as everywhere else); however, where suitable land has been located for a (small) new site - behind a factory, next to a railway, practically useless for anything else - it cannot be employed due to "cost efficiency" considerations.

Despite my generous offer to work for free (unskilled manual labour) in converting it!   :tongue2:

To be fair, I think this is, in part, a function of the relative impoverishment of local councils, and of ours in particular.  But deprived areas should surely receive a more resources - not less!

Quote

With a waiting list well into treble figures, the council says it will cost too much to secure/fence the site and add a water supply

And it looks like you're experiencing the same problem...

'Priorities' are evidently elsewhere.   :(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: John on August 20, 2009, 00:40

To be fair, I think this is, in part, a function of the relative impoverishment of local councils, and of ours in particular.  But deprived areas should surely receive a more resources - not less!


Seems to make a lot of sense to me - especially as the social & health benefits of allotments will also have a financial benefit to the state.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on August 20, 2009, 01:12
Often developers who stand utlimately to make large finacial profits are expected to "pay-back" and provide something for the local community. Too often this is a road or other basic infrastructure.

Perhaps Local Authorities / Councils could be encouraged to see allotments as infrastructure that would benefit communities - or are they too keen to find finances for projects they they should provide?  :unsure:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Seaforth Allotments on August 20, 2009, 13:00
Quote from: john

Seems to make a lot of sense to me - especially as the social & health benefits of allotments will also have a financial benefit to the state.

Quote from: Learner

Perhaps Local Authorities / Councils could be encouraged to see allotments as infrastructure that would benefit communities...

Yes, indeed.  Projects such as allotments are extremely low-cost, in terms of the benefits they provide over an extended period.  It's just the initial investment that is problematic...

Perhaps what we need is some form of 'target' - frame the issue of allotments in language that New Labour politicos can understand!   :lol:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: richyrich7 on August 25, 2009, 22:08

This unused allotment site a few hundred yards from me,looks like it will stay unused.

With a waiting list well into treble figures, the council says it will cost too much to secure/fence the site and add a water supply




 >:(  they can get grants for that work there's no excuse,   
http://www.farmgarden.org.uk/ari/    is where to start Yorkie put me onto them THANKS YORKIE x x  :)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Yorkie on August 26, 2009, 22:20
 8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: scenic on November 24, 2009, 22:19
interesting debate,  S106 planning obligations are a clear source of funding where councisl do often have monies sloshing about off the back of development.  To be successful though you have to lobby for clear policies in the local plan that would allow councils to seek funding directly for allotments as part of a development to meet the needs directly associated wit h a development.  as a planning consultant to developers, if faced with a relatively modest sum to provide allotments or enhanced facilities on existin sites i reckon many would bite at the chance if it meant they could bargain away some of the other demands.    BUT if they dont need to becaure a policy doesnt say they do then they will avoid.

they often have scrappy bits of land as well that they cant always use so its worth lobbying your local councllors about them too.

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Yorkie on November 24, 2009, 22:24
Bear in mind that scrappy pieces of land may not always be suitable for allotments.  We see constant drainage problems where new builds create run-off and other drainage difficulties.

Or the land may previously not have been used because of issues such as contamination.

Or, as is likely to be the case near me, the local primary school's demand for closer playing fields trumps the allotment brigade's shouts.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: scenic on November 24, 2009, 22:33
accept the poisnt re drainge/contamination etc..  but thats where S106 works best...  council can oblige the developer to clean up, drain make suitable etc.

beware something called the community infrastructure levy due should labour win the next election..S106 may well be replaced witnh one off fee per development that results in ££££  going direct to councils and central government to fund 'infrastructure"  wont be a new allotment in sight after that is my guess
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: NigelB on December 03, 2009, 14:59
accept the poisnt re drainge/contamination etc..  but thats where S106 works best...  council can oblige the developer to clean up, drain make suitable etc.

beware something called the community infrastructure levy due should labour win the next election..S106 may well be replaced witnh one off fee per development that results in ££££  going direct to councils and central government to fund 'infrastructure"  wont be a new allotment in sight after that is my guess

Hi Scenic,
(My bold) Yeah, that makes for some 'interesting' reading.....  :blink:
From my first impression, it looks like it will all be down to how one defines 'infrastructure'.
They say the definition

 ...............should be wide enough to enable local authorities to decide what infrastructure is appropriate for their local areas. Development can be unlocked and made sustainable by the provision of very different types of infrastructure, such as transport, schools and healthcentres, flood defences, play areas, parks and other green spaces, many of which are already funded in part by the existing system of developer contributions..........."
(My bold)...... So maybe it's not all bad........... For now at least.... ;)
Fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on December 04, 2009, 08:57
interesting debate,  ..............
...............they often have scrappy bits of land as well that they cant always use so its worth lobbying your local councllors about them too.


Where I am:
Scrappy bits of land, back gardens and where schools once stood = more housing developments  :( (Often multiple tenancy flats / apartments as the profit is larger).

How many empty properties are there across the UK?  :wacko:

Even Grade 1 agricultural land (acres of it) = 2,500 houses if you are the Church Commission and need to pay vicars their retirement pensions... never mind the local community for whom the church was supposed to protect the land. It makes some of us consider converting to JW or some such thing!  >:( especially as we need just 3 new houses for local people and employment in the area is dire.

Room for allotments? No.... more houses and more profits for the building companies who employ outside labour just to add to the insult and hurt!  >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(  >:(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: kingston boy on January 11, 2010, 18:21
Garden news might find this of use:

PROTECTION OF ALLOTMENTS 
 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmselect/cmenvtra/560/56010.htm)
Hi everbody, as you can see i'm a newbie on this site. I have had a good look round and you all seem really nice folk. I live in Surrey in a part that comes under greater London (if it still exists) and there is a thing called the Allotment Regeneration for London. This says that councils have a duty to create, where possible allotments. Not sell them.
In Aunt Sallys link,just a few paragraphs earlier,Nos
56 and 57 as per site says[]We note that allotments form an important part of leisure provision and this should be reflected within a local authority's Leisure Strategy[94] and Local Agenda 21 initiatives.
 Therefore i would think its national and a petion would have to be looked at due to the fact its Parliament doing the saying. I know if it was tried at our site the gang would certainly act up.
Espescially now allotments will be needed for many to get any kind of fresh veg.

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: compostqueen on January 13, 2010, 11:20
The Local Government Assoc has updated its Guidelines to councils for managing its plots as I dare say they've been deluged with complaints from allotment sites under the cosh. We fought tooth and nail to keep our site and turned up all sorts of wheezes the council was using to get us off. The key thing is to stay up, they can't turf you off until they get planning consent for the land. That could take years

As for those derelict plots sitting there empty with no-one plotting on them. If no-one cares about them then why not go and get started.  Who'd notice! 
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: davethespread on January 23, 2010, 19:58
i found out today that our site has been earmarked for the building of houses.the council have got to purchase land from the sewage plant adjacent to our plots,apparently this will take place in 5-7 years.
the guildford allotment society have said that the council will supply us with an alternative site but it will not be a field,they will turn over each plot so there will be no clearing of land and strenuous digging.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: madcat on January 23, 2010, 20:33
But still, if you have soil that you  have lovingly tended, a new plot isn't going to replace all that hard work.  Or the raised beds and paths, or compost heaps, sheds, munti frames....  :(   See those poor souls evicted for the Olympics!   :mad:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: davethespread on January 23, 2010, 20:53
exactly madcat,there is talk of being compensated but that does not put goodness in the ground.as you righly say there is the taking down of sheds and transportation of them.what really makes me chuckle is the fact they have just renewed all our water pipes and put extra taps in ::)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on January 23, 2010, 21:05
For 50 years my dad tended the plot that is now "mine"....... the soil is fantastic!

I have a half-plot right along-side my dad's old plot and they are completely different. The half plot has soil like concrete - solid clay that dries out in summer and is rock hard in spring by autumn it is like dust.

Even now, at this time of year, my dad's plot has soil you can run your fingers through, dig and turn over with ease.

New land even if it has been ploughed is no substitue for soil that has had years of hard graft and compost added. I hope the council are providing more than just a patch in replacement for the ground stolen from under the plot holders!  >:(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on January 23, 2010, 21:07
exactly madcat,there is talk of being compensated but that does not put goodness in the ground.as you righly say there is the taking down of sheds and transportation of them.what really makes me chuckle is the fact they have just renewed all our water pipes and put extra taps in ::)

That sounds "normal"..... the place where I work had £200 000 spent on a new front office just over 4 years ago.... and now it is being demolished as the whole building has been replaced!
Typical forward planning!!  :tongue2:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: mumofstig on January 23, 2010, 21:19
You are grown up enough to know that the term.....'Council  planning' is an oxymoron  :lol:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on January 23, 2010, 21:23
You are grown up enough to know that the term.....'Council  planning' is an oxymoron  :lol:

I think they are all morons oxygen or not! :blink:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Zeb on January 27, 2010, 13:24

This unused allotment site a few hundred yards from me,looks like it will stay unused.

With a waiting list well into treble figures, the council says it will cost too much to secure/fence the site and add a water supply

(http://i217.photobucket.com/albums/cc34/Zeb1954/Site.jpg)



The big problem with this patch of gound is it looks like there is a nice road leading into it so it would be ideal for yet another belt of housing to help the local authority meet their new house building targets!

We have the prospect of two lots going up near us joining little village areas together. 650 house on Grade 1 agricultural land and then 2,500 houses on the other side of us.

Amazing as a few years back the UK had excess housing stock!!



I finally got a straight answer from about this site...

Quote from email received

"Zeb, In answer to your enquiry the council 7 years ago sought from the Secretary of state to formally argree to change the status of the land from allotments to an area for possible residential development sometime in the future there are no plans to reverse this decision. "
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Aunty on January 27, 2010, 14:12
But did the Secretary of State agree ?

Or are they still hoping that if they keep it empty long enough it will be agreed if they ask again ?
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on January 28, 2010, 21:49
Zeb I suggest a few of the people wanting allotments club together to buy some Roman or Bronze Age artefacts - dig a few holes and bury them on the site.

Once the grass has regrown go and dig one up, call the press and have the place declared a site of historical interest...

If that doesn't appeal try sprinkling wild-flower seeds (slipper orchids or something similar), add a few holes full of water and a handful of crested newts, toads and sand lizards. Bingo - a site of special scientific interest so a bit can be left for the wild-life while the rest returns to allotments......

Ok - so I have had a long day...... Just an idea!  :wacko:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: NigelB on January 31, 2010, 11:21

I finally got a straight answer from about this site...

Quote from email received

"Zeb, In answer to your enquiry the council 7 years ago sought from the Secretary of state to formally argree to change the status of the land from allotments to an area for possible residential development sometime in the future there are no plans to reverse this decision. "


Then your council is purposely putting itself in breach of it's statutory duty, assuming someone has presented them with a petition requiring them to provide allotments in the first place, and they haven't provided allotments elsewhere as an alternative, or that they have a large waiting list and are taking no action to reduce it by providing land for allotments.
My advice would be to write to them explaining they are in breach, and advising them you will take legal action if they do not comply with the law. Then do so if they ignore you.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on January 31, 2010, 15:11
I'd also see if you can get hold of the list of people waiting for plots - they could be useful to add weight and signatures to any pettition...

Go for it...

Citizens Advice might be able to offer legal advice for free... so, when you write, you have the correct facts.

Just a thought  ;)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Yorkie on January 31, 2010, 19:31
You won't be able to get hold of the actual waiting list, it is held for certain purposes under the Data Protection Act and release of names to you would be a criminal offence.

However, there is absolutely nothing to stop you submitting a Freedom of Information request to the local council(s) asking for info such as how many plots the council administers, how many are on the waiting list(s), and what the council's procedures for managing inactive etc tenants are.

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 01, 2010, 22:57
You won't be able to get hold of the actual waiting list, it is held for certain purposes under the Data Protection Act and release of names to you would be a criminal offence.

However, there is absolutely nothing to stop you submitting a Freedom of Information request to the local council(s) asking for info such as how many plots the council administers, how many are on the waiting list(s), and what the council's procedures for managing inactive etc tenants are.



I thought getting your hands on a list of names would be out... Perhaps an article in the local paper would invite a bit of discussion and support?
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: NigelB on February 03, 2010, 10:55
You won't be able to get hold of the actual waiting list, it is held for certain purposes under the Data Protection Act and release of names to you would be a criminal offence.

However, there is absolutely nothing to stop you submitting a Freedom of Information request to the local council(s) asking for info such as how many plots the council administers, how many are on the waiting list(s), and what the council's procedures for managing inactive etc tenants are.



I thought getting your hands on a list of names would be out... Perhaps an article in the local paper would invite a bit of discussion and support?
Zeb could also start his own list if he wanted. A few notices and flyers around town should be enough to get up a list of people wanting allotments. Then combine that with the results of hisr freedom of information request asking the questions Yorkie poses above, and you will have a good case to present to your council while reminding them they are in breach of the smallholdings and allotments act and asking what their intended course of action will be.

I know I bang on about this a lot, but allotments are a right. The law is absolute, and on our side. Allotments are not some kind of gift bestowed on the great unwashed in return for blind obedience or the ability to grovel on bended knee.
If the council are unwilling to provide, then by all means take action. 
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: compostqueen on February 03, 2010, 12:08
No-one should quit an allotment site on the basis that the council "might" develop it in the future.  It's sitting there going to rack and ruin, like ours would have been had we not taken matters into our own hands.  We took direct action - it was painful at times - but we still have our site and we lost NO plots but did take back an additional 14 and turn them into new plots. We said we would measure, mark out and demarcate them ourselves as the council did nothing for 18 months despite saying they would.  We took a piece back that they'd taken off us on the basis of future development. It rapidly went into decline, and because it was smack bang in the centre of the site, it looked like the site was derelict, the phrase that the council had used in its tender to developers (we found out after a phone called to said developer  :D)  We got a local farmer to come in and cut all the hay (free) which he took to feed his animals.  We then held a much-publicised open day and invited the council to come and see what a lovely site we had  :tongue2:
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: John on February 03, 2010, 15:44

I know I bang on about this a lot, but allotments are a right. The law is absolute, and on our side. Allotments are not some kind of gift bestowed on the great unwashed in return for blind obedience or the ability to grovel on bended knee.
If the council are unwilling to provide, then by all means take action. 

I feel a chorus of the green flag coming on! Seriously, well said. Governments seem great at enacting laws we have to obey - about time they obeyed them as well.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 03, 2010, 22:28
We would be devastated if our plots were suddenly viewed for a housing development. I am trusting our allotment association (privately run) to keep the developers at bay.

As most plot holders have one share I think we are relatively safe.... we have a waiting list and all plots well used on both of our sites.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: scenic on February 10, 2010, 11:20
delighted to advise that my local authority (Conwy) yesterday confirmed that it would grant planning permission for 77 new plots - 12 which are accessible for disabled people.  Great news.



Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: NigelB on February 10, 2010, 12:26
delighted to advise that my local authority (Conwy) yesterday confirmed that it would grant planning permission for 77 new plots - 12 which are accessible for disabled people.  Great news.




That is excellent news Scenic. Good for you, and good for our nearest neighbour, Conwy Council.  :)
Meanwhile, here in sunny Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire, I'm waiting for 1:30 to come around, which is when I have to meet a local farmer at the new allotments field where he will be 'topping' the grass for us so we can mark our allotments out. :D
Great news all round.
Congratulations!
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 10, 2010, 23:18
delighted to advise that my local authority (Conwy) yesterday confirmed that it would grant planning permission for 77 new plots - 12 which are accessible for disabled people.  Great news.


Excellent - you must be really chuffed - especially like the 12 plots for disabled people... they need to be nearest to the main path. I had a friend on a nearby plot who arrived with her crutches and dug one-handed. She grew some great produce.

I wish you the very best of fortune!  :)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: James1 on February 11, 2010, 11:45
Hi all

Down south (London), where I live the council got rid of allotments ages ago, simply put there is not enough land or space for gardening. Its a luxury, the council up here simply cannot afford.

I have my own house thats why I can indulge my passion for gardening.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: compostqueen on February 11, 2010, 16:24
Well, you're lucky then you got a house with a garden  :D
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: greydog on February 11, 2010, 17:01
My L/A are planning to construct a further retail park on our site and we are fighting like mad to block it, they are offering a new site locally but some of our members have been here for well over 50 years and to move onto a new site where they have to drive because the entrance is of of a dual carriage way (A10) with new soil etc etc would probably mean they would have stop, this situation is causing huge problems and we even had a opposition councillor adopt our cause only for her to fall by the way side at the first hurdle! (no change there then) it going tyo run for a while will keep you posted on developments. We are joining the allotment society so as to get the best advice on this.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 11, 2010, 21:41
My L/A are planning to construct a further retail park on our site and we are fighting like mad to block it, they are offering a new site locally but some of our members have been here for well over 50 years and to move onto a new site where they have to drive because the entrance is of of a dual carriage way (A10) with new soil etc etc would probably mean they would have stop, this situation is causing huge problems and we even had a opposition councillor adopt our cause only for her to fall by the way side at the first hurdle! (no change there then) it going tyo run for a while will keep you posted on developments. We are joining the allotment society so as to get the best advice on this.

Simple solution would be for the council to build the houses just off the A10 and leave the plots where they are!!

Our one and only local garden centre is due to become 70 houses in the not too distant future...despite the fact that the only locals to benefit will be the "get rich quick merchants" who bought the land intending to make a fast buck (and to think one is/was a mate of mine!)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Yorkie on February 12, 2010, 23:01
Are you on the Brookfield Farm site, greydog? 

I grew up round there and the parents mentioned this site to me in passing on one of my visits home.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: antwilk on February 13, 2010, 18:39
Our allotments in stoke on trent are being taken off us to be turned into a road. None of this is final as yet but the allotment officer has spoken to our secretary about it and its looking like they will go ahead in the next two years.

As anyone got any info on this matter about weather we be given new plots, compensations for our livestock pens, greenhouses and sheds. Or where i can find this information from.

Any help on this matter would be much apprieciated.

Please PM me with any help

Thanks

Ant

Edited by Yorkie to remove email address
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 13, 2010, 20:04
I'm really sorry to hearabout the bad news...

I think I would start by looking at the terms and conditions of the allotment site that you are on - if you were not supplied with a printed document when you took on the plot ask the secretary about this..  it might help.

I would imagine the land-owners (council) have a responsibility to offer alternative land but I'm not so sure about costs to plot holders...

Please keep us informed of how you get on.... and the best of luck.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: antwilk on February 14, 2010, 13:02
I'm really sorry to hearabout the bad news...

I think I would start by looking at the terms and conditions of the allotment site that you are on - if you were not supplied with a printed document when you took on the plot ask the secretary about this..  it might help.

I would imagine the land-owners (council) have a responsibility to offer alternative land but I'm not so sure about costs to plot holders...

Please keep us informed of how you get on.... and the best of luck.

We are having a meeting on wednesday so i will keep you informed of what was said thanks again everyone.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 14, 2010, 14:51
I hope you get some good news antwilk.... not a pleasant prospect unless there are to be some gains for the plot holders.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: John on February 14, 2010, 17:10
Antwik - I hope someone has rang the Sentinel and they're send a reporter along. Councils don't like bad press (not that you'd guess it from the way Stoke's behaves!)

Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 15, 2010, 10:30
Antwik - I hope someone has rang the Sentinel and they're send a reporter along. Councils don't like bad press (not that you'd guess it from the way Stoke's behaves!)



Press and information for the public is a brilliant idea...... spread the word and pile on the pressure...
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: NigelB on February 15, 2010, 12:07
Antwik - I hope someone has rang the Sentinel and they're send a reporter along. Councils don't like bad press (not that you'd guess it from the way Stoke's behaves!)



........ Just to add to what John's saying, get in touch with your MP and any prospective MP's in your area. This is a good time to be asking for political help, what with an election looming and all.
Coincidentally, as I was typing this, I just had a phone call from Chris Ruane's (Mp Vale of Clwyd) office, asking how they might help us in getting our own allotments up and running.
I was explaining that we need to get our change-of-use application through the planning office as quickly as possible before our friendly local farmer, who has offered to plough and cultivate the land for us, becomes fully committed on his own farm.
They have promised to contact the planning dept on our behalf asking them to expedite our application as quickly as possible.....

Use them. It's what they are there for.
You can contact all your local and national politicians through www.theyworkforyou.com
Don't be shy about asking for their help.
And good luck with it all.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 15, 2010, 14:44
Excellent advice NigelB.... your local MP will respond if you contact them but it can sometimes be a little on the slow side. Good luck.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: James1 on February 18, 2010, 16:54
I think Councils should be able to designate certain areas for gardening only within each borough....I know of so many people that would like to have a garden but cannot simply because they have no space. What do u all think?
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: madcat on February 18, 2010, 18:08
Antwik - I hope someone has rang the Sentinel and they're send a reporter along. Councils don't like bad press (not that you'd guess it from the way Stoke's behaves!)

Now there is true ... BUT ... there is a General Election and a local election looming...  votes count for the next few months!
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 18, 2010, 18:28
I think Councils should be able to designate certain areas for gardening only within each borough....I know of so many people that would like to have a garden but cannot simply because they have no space. What do u all think?

Sounds a lovely idea but building plots bring in huge profits compared with crisp carrots and they help local authorities meet government imposed targets.  :(
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: antwilk on February 19, 2010, 18:19
Thanks to all for your advice!

The council are saying they will relocate us on a like for like basis allowing us to take all livestock with us and compensate us for sheds and pens. As we are only classed as a temporary site, even though its been there for a very long time, i think this is fair. Its just a shame we cannot take our soil with us and all the hard work we have put in.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 19, 2010, 19:04
Thanks to all for your advice!

The council are saying they will relocate us on a like for like basis allowing us to take all livestock with us and compensate us for sheds and pens. As we are only classed as a temporary site, even though its been there for a very long time, i think this is fair. Its just a shame we cannot take our soil with us and all the hard work we have put in.

When the details of the "compensation" are discussed I would factor in the state of the soil... "free compost / soil improver" for every plot holder and I'd add that compensation needs to include something in return for the increased time / work-load moving to a new site will cause..

The last one they are very unlikely to agree to but it might make them favour the idea of providing some soil improver / compost etc to make up for it.

Just a thought... The council have tons to gain by moving you off - there are big budgets out there for new housing - the building firm will be making a mint and should be giving something back to the community in return for the profits they will undoubtedly rake in. It is big money business so make sure you and your fellow plotters get a reasonable & fair share!!  ;)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: NigelB on February 20, 2010, 01:09
Ask for a clubhouse.

Hey. Why not?
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Paul Plots on February 20, 2010, 14:43
Ask for a clubhouse.

Hey. Why not?

Like it..... what a brilliant idea!  ;)
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Dopey113 on April 24, 2013, 21:51
Went to my lotty today and had some sad news.... the council is selling it off to British Airways (to be used as a car park) I have people on the lotty are saying they have found another space for us just up the road... but apparently the drainage there is appalling and is always flooding... so I dont know what to do now!!
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: John on April 25, 2013, 00:17
Went to my lotty today and had some sad news.... the council is selling it off to British Airways (to be used as a car park) I have people on the lotty are saying they have found another space for us just up the road... but apparently the drainage there is appalling and is always flooding... so I dont know what to do now!!

You take paradise, put up a parking lot .. Joni Mitchell

Perhaps you could pressure the council to at least improve the drainage and provide some extra facilities as compensation?
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Aunty on April 25, 2013, 10:46
This points out that your new allotments must be of a standard "suitable" for cultivation.  The land must be improved from the money received for the sale of the land.



Local Government Planning and Land Act, 1980 and Local Government and
Planning (Amendment) Act 1981
– Consolidated planning legislation which has
further influenced the forward planning of allotments.

The Council must safeguard existing land used as allotments. Development proposals resulting in the loss of
allotments should only be considered where:

1. There is evidence of long-term insufficient demand for continued use of land
as allotments

2. Suitable land is made available, either by retention or relocation, to replace
allotments that are in use

3. Where it is necessary to develop a site for other purposes, suitable sites are
made available to relocate tenants

4. Any proceeds from land sale is re-invested in developing the allotment
service.



Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Dopey113 on April 25, 2013, 19:35
That's interesting... ^^^ was talking to some plot holders, apparently they are going to fence the new site, and compensate for losses, like poly tunnels, and sheds, cultivate the land.

Don't know if they are going to put drainage in though, this new place is very boggy.  Had a letter from them and they said this season it's ok to cultivate the plots, and I think it will be a yearly thing until it's sighed for by BA, but we worked out they knew about this without telling us for almost 2 years.  If they do what they propose and the drainage, it could be better than what we have now.  The place is infested with vermin, rabbit and rat, mice, birds, but if its anything like what they promise and what they actually do. 

We have had lots of promises that they were going to do this that and the other, and always been let down, they talk a lot but don't do much.

Edited by Aunty to make more readable
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: compostqueen on April 26, 2013, 21:50
You can fight! Allotments have rights enshrined in law
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: franker on June 17, 2013, 11:03
It's such an awful state of affairs! Councils have been squeezed by this government to cut down on all the "unnecessary" services. Allotments were originally introduced by the council for unemployed men with families to support. Although that isn't the case these days it isn't right that it should come down to money because our government have spent billions on bank bailouts and millions on a war that the people of this country didn't want a part in...
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: Aunty on June 17, 2013, 11:12
It is sad, but 'statutory' allotments cannot be closed unless the government minister concerned agrees that they are surplus to requirements.

And that means NO waiting list and vacant plots.
Title: Re: Councils Selling Off Allotments
Post by: carlrmj on June 18, 2013, 23:10

  When I had my first allotment 25 years ago , it was eventually taken over for  extra space  for the graveyard

  next  to it .There were about 100 plots on the site .