Government wants to increase allotment numbers...

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Wed Mar 3 13:55:00 GMT 2010

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Government wants to increase allotment numbers... reducing the size of the plots!! But from my point of view this approach 
isn't correct under the standard established by previous inquiries into 
allotment provision.

There is no recognised national legal standard for allotment provision. The 
Thorpe Report of 1969 sets the guidance that many local authorities (in 
England) use -- it recommended 0.5 acres per 1000 population, which councils 
often interpret as around 18 or 19 plots per 1000 households (the size/area of 
a plot is arbitrary -- the only legal stipulation is that they shouldn't be 
more than 1/8th acre). Using the Thorpe standard there should be around 30,000 
acres of allotments; the last official inquiry by the Commons Environment, 
Transport and Regional Affairs Committee in 1998 
iii/560iii01.htm} put the figure around 25,000 in 1996 -- and it's fallen 

I've heard a number reports about councils doing this. By reducing size they 
increase the "numbers" of allotments, but that still doesn't solve the area 
issue that the Thorpe Committee identified as its standard. This recent 
initiative is all about numbers, not providing sufficient space to allow a 
realistic level of production/local resilience.

The DoCLG press release is here:

The "A Place to Grow" guidance doesn't seem to be on the LGA's web site yet -- 
supposed to be at

The House of Commons Library has a summary of recent Parliamentary work on 
allotments at

Here's Planning Resource's take:

Government backs 'grow your own' drive

Michael Donnelly, PlanningResource, 3 March 2010

The government has unveiled a series of measures to free up more land to allow 
people to grow their own food.

Communities secretary John Denham and environment secretary Hilary Benn 
announced the plans earlier today.

They include:

 - Working with the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens to set up a 
new national community land bank which will act as a broker between land-
holders and community groups who want somewhere to grow food.

 - Introducing new lease arrangements that will make it easier for people to 
take control of abandoned land.

 - Making it easier for local residents and organisations to set up growing 
spaces on land that is currently unused or waiting development including - 
stalled building sites or sites waiting for planning permission.

- - A new guidance document - A Place To Grow – to give councils advice on 
making the most of existing statutory allotment sites including reducing plot 
sizes and managing waiting lists.

Denham said: "We are making it easier for community groups and keen gardeners 
to access the hundreds of acres of un-used land.

"This will mean communities can grow their own food while brightening up the 
neighbourhood by turning unloved spaces into fragrant herb gardens and 
abundant vegetable or flower beds.

"We also want to support local councils in meeting their duty to provide 
allotments and new guidance provides practical advice to local councils on how 
to get the best out of their allotments. We are also supporting proposals put 
forward as part of the Sustainable Communities Act for surplus food to be sold 
at local markets and shops."

- -- 
"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burroughs, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

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