Waiting lists for allotments continue to rocket as level of demand remains high

Allotment waiting lists have gone up by 20 per cent in the past year, continuing the demand for plots fuelled by the recession and the grow-your-own trend.

Transition Town West Kirby, working with the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to 351 principal local authorities to produce the information. All but one have now replied.

The survey looked at more than 150,000 plots and found waiting lists of more than 90,000 people. A similar survey in June 2009 found 76,000 on waiting lists. That survey was the first since 1996, when there were 13,000 people waiting for plots - four people on average per 100 plots.

In 2009, 13 years later, 49 people were waiting per 100 plots. The number on waiting lists just a year on is now 59 per 100 plots. If the figures were extrapolated across the UK's 300,000 plots, it would mean 177,000 on waiting lists.

Report author Margaret Campbell said: "The figures are what we expected. There is evidence that demand is still continuing to outstrip supply considerably."

She added that London figures were in line with national results, despite some councils shutting waiting lists because they were so long.

NSALG acting secretary Donna McDaid said consumers should fight for their right to a piece of land under the Small Holdings & Allotments Act 1908 and write to their local councillors and MPs.

North West regional representative Dave Morris added: "The trouble is the vast majority of provision is at parish and town council level, so waiting list numbers are always going to be an extrapolation."

He added: "Limited numbers of new sites have come on stream. There was great play about the National Trust's 1,000 plots, but they are at very early stages."

- 300,000 allotments in England
- 150,000 surveyed
- 90,000 on waiting lists
- 59 people waiting per 100 plots, on average

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