South Ribble Borough Council
Draft Policy & Strategy for Allotments
The policy sets down the Council’s decisions on the way in which it proposes to supply and run allotments in the Borough with a declared intention to –
- Work with the private sector, community groups, public and voluntary sector organisations to bring forward and run a sufficient range of garden and allotment facilities capable of meeting the needs of all members of the community.
- Introduce a rolling five year action plan to identify specific sites and establish a mechanism for their introduction into productive use, subject to the annual review financial review below.
- Review annually funding provision in the Capital & Revenue Programmes for providing, developing and maintaining land for allotment use in a “fit for purpose” condition as part of the prioritisation of resources.
- Allocate one allotment only per person whilst there is a waiting list for plots
- Allocate allotments only to residents of South Ribble.
- Set standards for the development and use of plots through a “model allotment” example
The aim of the strategy is to establish a framework for the provision and management of allotments within the Borough to deliver the policy aspirations in a way which supports and contributes to the Council’s Corporate Objectives.
- Corporate Objectives
Allotment gardening offers a range of benefits which support and promote the Council’s vision of making South Ribble a great place to live, work, visit and play. In particular it promotes the Corporate Objective of Strong and Healthy Communities within the Borough through –
- a healthy, active lifestyle contributing to the physical and mental wellbeing of participants
- economical means of producing good, low cost food
- sustainable & reduction in carbon footprint
- socially inclusive fostering sharing of experience & knowledge
- promotion of healthy diets through organic cultivation of produce
- learning & developing skills
- supports a range of habitats for a variety of flora & fauna
In order to fully achieve these objectives the Council aims to meet demand, within the resources allocated, with an adequate supply of plots & facilities which are –
a. Easily accessible to all members of the community
b. Well maintained, well used, with a high rate of occupancy
c. Fit for purpose, with appropriate facilities
d. Managed consistently and well
e. Targeted on areas of the community where most beneficial
- Statutory Framework
Under the 1908 Smallholdings & Allotments Act it is –
“…the express duty of every allotments authority, where they are of the opinion that there is sufficient demand for allotments in their area, to provide a sufficient number of them and then to let them to persons resident in the area.”
This obligation is taken in conjunction with planning legislation explained below.
- Planning Framework
The importance of allotments is highlighted in the Local Plan and the Community Strategy and, although the current provision virtually meets recommended standards across the Borough, there are some areas with local deficiencies particularly in the western Parishes.
In order to comply with the requirements of Planning Policy Guidance Note 17, ‘Planning for Open Space and Recreation’ (2002), the Council decided to undertake a Borough-wide Open Space study. Briefly, this involved gathering evidence on open space and recreational uses in the Borough to assist in formulating new open space policies and proposals.
The Borough-wide Open Space Study carried out by PMP Consultants in 2006 recommended the Council to –
- Investigate the demand for allotments in the Central and Leyland analysis area
- Set guidelines for the quality and maintenance of private sites
- Investigate the demand for allotments to help inform any decisions about the future of allotments in South Ribble.
The results were used to inform the Open Space Policy OSR1 which states –
“Proposals for all new residential development that results in a net gain of 5 dwellings or more will be required to provide sufficient public open space and recreational needs generated by the development, in accordance with the standards set out below”:
The target figure for Allotments is 0.14ha per 1000 population and is set against an actual provision of 0.13 ha per 1000 (including Penwortham Holme allotments).
Policy OSR7 within the South Ribble Local Plan states “allotment areas are to be retained and protected from development. If development is to be permitted any statutory or other essential facility will need to be replaced elsewhere”.
- Supply & Demand
The provision of allotments is demand led and fluctuates in response to a range of social & economic conditions. Demand has peaked during and immediately after the wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45 and died off in the interim directly in response to the economic and social circumstances which prevailed at the time.
In more recent years demand has increased due to social pressures on sustainability and, more particularly fashion through many TV programmes on gardening, landscaping and the like and now stands at its highest level since the 1950s. At the same time supply has decreased as allotments have fallen into disuse towards the end of the 20th century so there is now a mismatch between supply and demand
The Council will ensure that all land intended for use as allotments is suitable for such
use, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Land that is known or suspected to be contaminated will be considered for use as an
allotment site if it can be demonstrated through investigation that the land will not
present an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.
The Council will aim to ensure that allotment land is suitable for growing. For example,
excessively stony land or land with poor soil or poor drainage will be avoided where possible, to reduce the effort required to make it suitable for cultivation.
The Council will investigate the scope for new areas of allotment land as well as areas that could be used for communal food growing, following the ‘Giant Veggie Patch’ model of shared use of land.
- Management & Maintenance
Where Council-owned land is identified for provision of allotments, the Council will lease
the land to a properly constituted and governed Allotment Association through a partnership agreement/lease. An economic rent will be agreed between the Council and the Allotments Association, at a level which covers the Council’s costs in providing the land without yielding income from it.
The Allotments Association will be responsible for the works undertaken to establish the
allotments. This will include, but not be limited to, the division of the land into allotment plots, fencing, creating pathways, water supply and toilet facilities.
The Council is currently engaged in an initiative to create a community garden facility in the Borough referred to as the ‘Giant Veggie Patch’. This is a pilot scheme out of which the management and maintenance arrangements will evolve. Initially Council officers will facilitate the establishment of a management regime with the intention of withdrawing involvement as early as practicable. This model can then be rolled out in appropriate areas across the borough as envisaged by the action plan.
The Council will implement statutory consultation for all planning applications which may be required.
- Allocation & Occupation
The allotment association will be responsible for raising funds for the establishment and running of the allotments, allocation of plots, collection of rents, management of waiting lists, keeping of accounts and ensuring proper usage of the plots.
The allotments association will be required to maintain a register showing details of
tenancy, acreage and rent of each allotment, and any unlet allotments.
Waiting lists will be maintained by the allotments association and the Council separately
for each allotment site.
The arrangements for community gardens will be developed during the pilot scheme.
- Equality Impact Assessment
The Council will develop and implement an equality impact assessment for each allotments site.
- Action Plan
A 5 year action plan will be developed illustrating how resources will be made available by the Council to meet demand and reviewed each year as part of the Capital and Revenue Programme process.