Allotments in more deprived areas are becoming more difficult to fill than those in affluent parts of the country, an allotment officer has said.
Hyndburn Council regeneration projects manager Ian Marfleet, who was exhibiting the "Allotmentality" garden sponsored by Creative Support at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, said: "I'm finding very big waiting lists for popular sites and some sites not popular at all.
"One or two sites have vacancies because they're not in popular areas. Areas with high levels of deprivation tend to have lower demand. In the more affluent areas, even though people have larger gardens, people tend to want to separate allotment growing from traditional growing so have a garden and an allotment and these areas are in high demand."
Marfleet said he is leafleting to create demand in areas of high levels of deprivation. He added that the council now has an allotment bond deposit policy in case tenants who are vacating leave rubbish on their plots.
"Unfortunately a lot of tenants leave plots in poor condition. Recycling is great on allotments but councils have to clear it." Window frames, baths, piles of tyres, gas cylinders and even caravans used as sheds get left and the £200-£300 clearance cost falls to the council, he said.
Scottish Allotment Gardens Society committee member Mark Thirgood said research shows there are not enough allotments in poor areas of Scotland. The new Community Empowerment Bill expects local authorities to build more in deprived areas, he added.
Thirgood said he believes there might be a link between charging a bond or deposit to people taking on an allotment and there being less demand in poorer areas.
National Allotment Society marketing manager Di Appleyard said: "We say people shouldn't take junk onto their allotment." She pointed out that there is no research on whether affluent areas' allotments are more in demand. Allotment waiting lists have peaked at around 150,000 in recent years.
- National Allotments Week runs from 10-16 August.
An allotment survey carried out by the Association for Public Service Excellence closed on 31 July.
It covered allotment size, shape, cost, allocation, how they are managed (financially and physically) and what plans are in place for their future. The findings will be shared at a local authority briefing in August.