Protect allotments, experts warn

Allotment industry figures have warned that council allotments need more protection than ever as National Allotment Week begins next week.

National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners secretary Geoff Stokes said: “Allotments will always be under pressure, being on the edges of towns and villages. It’s always concerned me that the government department supposed to protect allotments is the one telling councils to build x-thousand houses in their area.” Stokes added that village allotments were recently deemed ripe for demolition as existing houses had reasonably sized gardens. But the new homes were to be gardenless high-density warrens. Stokes wants to see a return to the 1926 Allotments Act, where local authorities drawing up town-planning schemes had to make provision for allotments. Parks consultant Sid Sullivan said: “National Allotment Week provides councils with an opportunity to confirm their commitment to this important land legacy — and not to allow it to slip away under concrete. Allotments are ideal for communities to organise and run themselves, so councils should hand them over to these groups. “They also make ideal candidates for the Civic Trust’s Green Pennant Award. What better way for councils to promote healthy lifestyles, combining gentle exercise with good staple food grown organically and with few food miles?”

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