Allotment survey results

The latest survey into allotment creation and provision is out and has some worrying trends, finds Matt Appleby.

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Allotments are as popular as ever.
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The number of local authorities planning to provide more allotments continues to fall, a survey from the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) has shown.

The State of the Allotments Market survey went out to local authorities and green space managers in July, asking about allotment size, shape, cost, allocation, management and future plans. Some 64 councils responded.

APSE’s 2016 state of the market survey of local authority allotment services has shown only 34% plan to increase number allotments. In 2015, the number of respondents whose council plans to increase allotment numbers shrunk to 41%, down from 49% in 2013 and from 64% in 2012.

Allotment rents are rising

Some 25.9% of councils had increased fees beyond inflation during the past two years, ranging from 2-50% rises. Some 19% charge over £70, with 22.8 % planning to charge over £70 in 2016/17.

Of councils, 38.4% have 100-400 people on the waiting list, up from 32 % in 2015 and down from 43 % in 2013.

Some 5.8 % have over 1,000 on the waiting list, down from 8.5 % in 2015 and up from 4 % in 2013.

The average budget is £32,000 for operations, £16,000 for staff, £12,000 for development and £10,000 for ‘other’. Main responsibilities are roads, fences and water. Only 32 % break-even and just 2% make a surplus.

Some 55% have some maintenance by grounds maintenance contractors and 7 % have some maintenance by plot holders.

Plot holder concerns

Report author Wayne Priestley said: “The increasing desire for building land and the lack of plots for new allotment holders is causing concern amongst allotment holders, as is the reduction in council budgets which is having an impact on the ability to maintain such sites.”

He suggested self-management and partnerships with the NHS to develop and maintain allotments could be the solution to the problem.

Matt Appleby

About Matt Appleby

Matt is a former teacher turned journalist. He took up writing while in New Zealand and trained as a journalist there. He has since written five books (three on cricket and two on gardening) with The Children's Garden due out in spring 2016 published by Frances Lincoln. He writes for Horticulture Week and other publications. Married with two boys, aged 3 and 6 he lives in London.
@mattapple1
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