This site was set up by independent allotmenteers of Brighton and Hove in March 2012.

For current information please see our Facebook page.

Allotments in the UK are under threat from development, huge rent hikes and plot 'chopping'.



IN THE NEWS (No Longer Updated.. please see our facebook page for latest news)


Mike Rock keeps his plot!
AN ALLOTMENT holder who fought an epic David versus Goliath fight to stop the council evicting him from his plot for only growing fruit trees is celebrating a landmark victory.

Threatened Allotments at Farm Terrace, Watford win victory !
Eric Pickles backtracks after plot holders mount legal challenge

'Dont Lose The Plot' in The Guardian

Britain may need to 'dig for survival', minister says
Britain faces an era of food shortages and the public may be forced to grow vegetables to survive, the government has suggested.

New 'Dont Lose The Plot' group formed in Norwich Lets see more springing up!

History
The Enclosure Acts of the 18th and 19th Centuries were a series of Acts of Parliament which enclosed the open fields and common land across the country. These Acts removed the existing rights of local people to grow food on the previously held common land. However, people still needed land on which to grow their food, and thus the first Allotments were created. The amount of land that was deemed sufficient for a family to grow enough food to supplement their diet was 10 Rods, (about 250m2) and this has remained the standard size of an allotment ever since. The right to an allotment was promoted by the Victorians and was eventually made law in the remarkably benevolent ‘1908 Smallholdings and Allotments Act’. Allotments were traditionally rented by those on lower incomes but during the World Wars and the Dig for Victory Campaigns whole towns took to the allotments and became self sufficient in vegetables. Allotments are a very valuable resource especially in time of economic hardship. The popularity of allotments has varied but has always traditionally been the reserve of the working classes, the unemployed and the retired, and these people have used their allotment to supplement and improve their diets.

Details of and links to items dealing with the threats to our allotments can be seen on our facebook page, (linked above)

Development
Allotments are also under threat from development. Some Councils are seeing the value of allotment sites as a way of raising funds in these desperate times. A typically depressing fight is taking place in Watford, where the Mayor has applied to the Secretary of State for permission to build houses on an allotment site that is over 100 years old. There are other sites that are threatened as well. We will post details on our facebook page as we hear about them. Please join us in highlighting the benefits that allotments bring to our cities, and in stopping the erosion of the allotments before it is too late.

Save Farm Terrace Campaign

Save Farm Terrace Facebook page

Rent Rises
Many Councils up and down the Country are trying to increase rents by unbelievable amounts, rises of 100% 200% and even more are being seen, check out the links on our facebook page to see how widespread the problem is.

Plot Chopping
Plot chopping is the covert and not so well known attack on the allotments.
Very recently, due perhaps to television gardening programs and greener lifestyle choices it has become very trendy to have an allotment. A different class of person, ‘the leisure gardener’, has become interested in having an allotment. Demand has increased dramatically and has outstripped the supply, and there are very large waiting lists across the country which Councils are struggling to deal with. In 2011 Eric Pickles, The Communities Secretary sought to abandon the requirement that the 1908 Act makes on Councils, that they should supply a ‘sufficient’ provision. However, there was a huge public backlash and his plans were withdrawn, thankfully leaving the 1908 Act intact. That still left the Councils with the problem however, of fulfilling their statutory obligation. Unfortunately, most Councils, including Brighton and Hove City Council has decided to deal with the problem, not by providing more allotments, as the spirit of the law intended, but by chopping the plots in half and only allowing new tenants a maximum of a half plot. The logic is backed up by the assertion that many people are very happy with a half plot and cannot cope with more. While that is certainly true for the new class of ‘leisure gardener’ who are probably in full time work and do not have time to tend a full plot, it is certainly not true for the traditional allotment gardener who may be in part time work, unemployed or retired. These people are being denied their right to a plot big enough to grow food for themselves and their families. A half plot is easily filled by just a crop of potatoes leaving no room for anything else. The ancient right, enshrined in Law by the Victorians, that the poor, the unemployed and the retired can rent a piece of the previously common land big enough to feed themselves a healthy diet is being eroded.

While we accept that leisure gardeners who want a half plot should be able to have one, it should not be at the expense of those growing for economic or sufficiency reasons. There should be a choice of half plots and full plots. More people will probably choose half plots anyway, but the right to a full plot should remain. The Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation Committee has formally asked the Council which is currently controlled by the Green Party (March 2013), to stop restricting applicants to half plots and allow those who want or need full plots to be able to rent them, as has been the case for over 100 years. They have declined to do this, and are continuing the policy of only offering a maximum half plot. Whenever a full plot becomes vacant it is chopped in half. Our ancient right to a piece of our own land to farm is shrinking, and at the current rate of chopping the ability to gain any degree of sufficiency will have disappeared in 2 years.

In the news: Have a look at this article from the Royal Horticultural Societies magazine 'The Garden' from April 2013 The Garden

copyright 2012