More draconian rules are not the answer.
Last year new stricter rules were bought in by the council, the new rules were seen as unnecessary by most allotment holders. The rules were not needed, and it seems that they were introduced as a way of making it easier to evict people from their allotments. This has happened, and we have heard of the new laws being used to evict people for the smallest of indiscretions. Allotments have 'ticked along' for hundreds of years, but, we fear, are now being seen as a source of revenue due to their rising popularity. The balance needs to be readjusted. The allotments are ours, we have a right to them, and we now need to make a stand against the commercial tide bearing down on the true ethic, nature and purpose of allotments. It seems like the councils want to open the allotments up to market forces thereby maximising the revenue they can get from them. Dont lose the plot, join in the campaign to protect them.
Until recently there were many more allotments on Council owned land. (our land)
You can actually see in this image that the bushes and weeds are still growing in 10rod allotment shapes.
This image is to illustrate the fact that we had many more allotments in use until recently. This specific land was in use as allotments until about 14 years ago. There are other examples of now derelict plots that could be bought back into production.
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The answer is for the council to open more allotments.
The council has lots of land. Until recently there were many many more allotments surrounding Brighton and Hove, allotmenteering declined after the war but is now seeing a massive resurgence. The onus is on the council to provide land for allotments again. Which land to use would be subject to consultation with local people and environmentalists. We would prefer to see land which is currently not biologically diverse being turned into allotments.
The Allotments and Smallholdings Act 1908, section 23 subsection 1, says that if there is evidenced demand for allotments, this activates the mandatory obligation of provision and letting of allotments, on a local authority. The local authority must by Law provide a ‘sufficient’ number of allotments. I would say that having 2000 people on the waiting list shows that there is not a sufficient supply of allotments.
“The obligations in s. 23 (1) are absolute ; they admit of no defence, argument or challenge. Section 25 Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 confers powers of compulsory acquisition of land for allotments on municipal authorities, and land so acquired can be within or without (say) the parish boundaries.”
We are considering a legal challenge to the council on this. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has published details on how to mount the challenge.
It is also worth noting that the council rents thousands of acres of farmland to tenant farmers at very cheap rates, We have been told as low as £30 an acre. We have been informed that allotments provide £300 an acre in revenue. So the denial of more allotments doesnt even seem to make economic sense.
Whitehawk Hill Allotments circa 1910
The whole town used to be surrounded by allotments, as this image shows. This was the view of Whitehawk Hill, showing the slopes of Craven Vale form Freshfield Road in about 1910.