In the last year the demand for allotments has increased the average waiting list is now 59 people per 100 plots. That’s gone up by 20% in just one year. It’s pretty obvious that local councils are failing in their legal duty to provide sufficient allotments.
Now we all know times are hard and the bankers have run off with the piggy bank but allotments are relatively cheap to set up and very cheap to run compared with things like leisure centres. There really is no excuse for most councils not to take some action.
Sadly some of our local councils can’t even be bothered to keep proper records and respond to a survey. It’s a disgrace, especially when you consider the social benefits of allotments and community gardens.
Of course, nothing much will happen unless we can show these people that the problem is important to us. Generally, politicians of whatever party at whatever level take little notice of things unless they think there are votes in it. So if we don’t ask we won’t get.
Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, has put down an early day motion (EDM 687) stating:-
That this House welcomes the big increase in home-grown vegetables, with seed sales up 14 per cent last year; is pleased that the number of people wanting an allotment has increased by 20 per cent in the past 12 months; is concerned that according to the National Society for Allotment and Leisure Gardeners there are 100,000 people on waiting lists for an allotment; and calls on the Government, local authorities, other public bodies and private landlords to make land available for new allotments.
What You Can Do
Firstly, check if your MP has signed the motion – if you don’t know who your MP is you can find out here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ and you can see the list of MPs who have signed here: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=41647&SESSION=905
If your MP hasn’t signed the motion, contact him and ask if he would sign it.
This is the letter I’ve emailed to my MP, Mr Edward Timpson MP. (That find your MP link will bring up their contact details if you click on their name)
Dear Mr Timpson
I don’t know if you are aware that Mr Bob Russell MP has tabled an early day motion http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=41647&SESSION=905 in support of increasing allotment provision.
The situation is deteriorating in that waiting lists for allotments have increased by 20% in the last year alone as this report shows:
Your support for this would be appreciated by the thousands on waiting lists and myself.