After a couple of kind visitors to the web site emailed me to alert me to the threat to allotments the government review of local authorities duties posed, I sent out an alert to my newsletter and wrote this article here: Allotment Threat – Act Now!
The threat was initially picked up, I believe, by NSALG and more helpful information was posted by Hollin Lane Allotments web site. The point was that the consultation period ended on 25th April 2011 and I wanted everyone to act before the end of that.
Come the 27th April (2 days after the deadline for consultation) it was picked up by the Mirror newspaper in an article and this morning, 1st May, in an exclusive (??? really) the Independent on Sunday is running the story!
Well, I’ll run my own ‘exclusive’ news story for you today. I had an email and a comment on my initial article which said
“Interestingly in the hidden column J on the spreadsheet DCLG Statutory duties on the review of statutory duties website , the following comment appears:
‘Given very high and increasing local demand for allotments – latest reports are of 100,000 on waiting lists for 300,000 allotment plots (not including data in respect of Parish and Town Councils, which is not available) DCLG and relevant stakeholders, including ODGs, have taken the view to date that legislation to support the provision of allotment sites and meet local demand is robust and should remain in tact – so on this basis we deem this is ‘Essential to keep’ at the current time”
It would be foolish to assume our allotment heritage is 100% safe but it certainly appears that the reviewing body realises scrapping the obligation on local authorities to provide allotments would be a huge mistake.
Politicians in the government are bound to be aware of the strength of feeling that attaches to allotments, especially now some of the national press has, somewhat late, got onto the bandwagon. It can’t do any harm in the long term to keep allotments in the politician’s view.
To sum up – I think we’re safe for now but if you are a politician – be warned, messing with our plots can seriously harm your re-election prospects.