Smaller allotments an option for most local authorities

Nearly nine out of 10 local authorities who responded to a new survey have considered reducing allotment sizes to increase the number of plots available.

Allotments. Image: MorgueFile
Allotments. Image: MorgueFile

The APSE State of the Allotment market survey, held in July, received 106 responses from local authorities throughout the UK. Of those, around 93 had considered reducing future plot sizes to create more plots.

Allotment plot sizes have been in the spotlight over the past week after Charlie Dimmock was blasted in the national media for saying the traditional 250sqm allotment was too big for many people and a quarter-size plot would be more practical.

The National Allotment Society called the suggestion "poppycock" and said such a situation "could probably put a seriously interested gardener off allotments for life".

It said there were occasions when a half-plot (typically 125 sqm) would better suit some people, but said those tenants typically had the option of applying to take over the other half of the plot when it became available, leaving the overall size of the plot unchanged.

The standard 250sqm plot is considered the size needed to feed a family of four for 12 months.

APSE found demand for allotments remains high in many areas, with 40.9 per cent of respondents having more than 100 people on the waiting list and nearly one in 10 having waiting lists of more than 1000. Yet only 40.6 per cent per cent of respondents said their council had plans to increase the number of allotments - down from 48.5 per cent in 2013 and 64 per cent in 2012. 

See more in the September 4 edition of HortWeek.

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