Is this the end for allotments?
According to the National Trust, proposed planning changes threaten to squeeze out community-led initiatives in favour of a default ‘yes’ to building development proposals...despite the government promising communities the chance to have a say in plans for their local community – which included allotments and other schemes for growing produce.
While 70% of people would say ‘yes please’ to community growing spaces in new housing developments according to YouGov research commissioned by the National Trust, these planning changes could undermine the ‘grow your own’ revolution that has been unfolding over the last few years, and could dash the hopes of many of the 87,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists throughout the country.
The warning comes as the National Trust celebrates the early completion of its challenge to create 1000 new growing spaces on its land, with many of the plots now available on Landshare – the online community that matches growers with landowners.
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “It is a bittersweet day. We’re delighted to complete our pledge to create 1000 new allotment plots six months ahead of schedule, but we’re equally dismayed that the planning changes may undo a lot of this good work.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has also pitched into the debate, saying: “We can’t allow Government to put new growing spaces at risk. They are desperately needed in our urban areas. There is still huge demand from communities with more and more people wishing to experience a taste of the good life. It’s essential that land is still allocated in cities, towns and villages for this purpose.”
The National Trust’s allotments are listed on the Landshare website, where hundreds of new allotments have been made newly available. To search for allotments go to www.landshare.net.
To date more than 12,000 people have signed the National Trust petition against the proposed changes to planning regulations. To add your voice, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/planning
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allotments.
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