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People With Multiple Allotments...

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Post by Sparhawk on 6th February 2011, 11:26 pm

In the U.K. there is a desperate need for more allotments, you can see tales in forums, in the papers, on the t.v. & in the magazines, with waiting lists getting longer & longer.

You can also see & hear of people with more than one allotment, today I was listening to a programme on the wireless & the interviewee was proud that she had four.

With so many wanting now should restrictions be put in place to limit the number that people can have...

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Post by MrsC on 7th February 2011, 8:20 am

Hmmm - difficult one. I think it may depend on local councils as to what their policy is. If we really do have a real real shortage then I do believe that councils should stop people who already have a plot (or more) taking on new ones, but I don't think people who already have more than one should have them taken off them.

But then, I'm not an allotment holder - we're struggling to keep up with our back garden!

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Post by AngelinaJellyBeana on 7th February 2011, 8:28 am

My friend just got her allotment yesterday. Someone who had 2 plots had given one up. In fact there were 3 available that had previously been owned by "double plotters". The man who showed us round said that the reason some people had 2 plots was that years ago they couldnt' give them away so to stop them becoming overgrown wasteland, people were allowed to have 2, which seems perfectly reasonable to me and also unfair just to decide to take one off a person just because someone new wanted one. Now these people have got older and can't manage 2 so plots are becoming available again.
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Post by Lottie on 7th February 2011, 9:03 am

Have to say, around here, there's a good uptake, but.. there are also 4 or 5 which are completely over grown with no takers. I think there's also a problem an other friend had with people getting all excited about taking on a plot, digging like fury for a few weeks, then giving up and just leaving them, bit like a fashion accesory.

I think the answer is more plots!!!! Very Happy

I don't have one, but used to spend alot of time on my friends.

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Post by Hairyloon on 7th February 2011, 10:19 am

I am yet to hear any tales of any group actively pursuing action against their council in respect of their failure to provide allotments.

I hear many, many tales of folk sitting on their arses and moaning a lot.
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Post by Adrian on 7th February 2011, 11:25 am

I think I would be happier to hear that more allotments were being created to satisfy the demand, that to hear the folk with multiples were being stripped of them..

I prefer the idea of levelling up than levelling down.

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Post by Chilli-head on 7th February 2011, 12:11 pm

Does the requirement for councils to provide allotments stipulate a minimum size of plot ?

Our local council first split plots in half lengthwise - I got one at that point, which is about 100 m^2, I estimate. Recently they have started halving them again. I was quite amused to see new plotholders erecting their sheds, compost bins, raised beds etc to find out that they are left with about enough growing space for a row of lettuce !
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Post by Hairyloon on 7th February 2011, 12:18 pm

I am curious upon what legal basis they could kick people off their plots unless they are in breach of the tenancy.
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Post by Mike on 7th February 2011, 1:19 pm

The first words "In the UK ....."

Clearly this is not a "global" problem. Clearly irrelevant that in area X there aren't close to enough allotments for the people that want them while in Y there isn't as bad a shortage. Clearly this is a place by place issue.

My thoughts ..........
1) Very likely totally useless to try legal action based upon the local councils obligation to make allotments available. Besides the possibility that the court will accept the defense "there simply aren't any" as has been pointed out there may be no size specified by law. In which case forcing compliance only means unusably small allotments.
2) If at some time in the past there were fewer takers than allotments and so leases were given for more than one that isn't correctible by confiscation. Or is that permitted in British law? Here our states/local governments can take property by eminent domain but they have to pay compensation for what is taken as deemed fair and acceptable by the courts, supposedly based upon "market value". Perhaps you have no such guarantees (many/most clauses in our Bill of Rights are there to correct what were seen as specific defects in British law of that time*)
Or are rights under a leasehold not considered "property" in Britain?


* An excellent book by Justice Douglass spelled out clause by clause the specific case/precendent in the British legal tradition that was the inspiration ----- Thus that the defense has the power to subpeona witnesses was the "Ireland" case (at the time, only the prosecution could compel testimony and simply refused to call into the court the people Ireland said would testify to his "alibi"). Sorry if I can't by name refer to other clauses.

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Post by polgara on 7th February 2011, 1:34 pm

Don`t think they should take plots from people who keep them in good order, after all they have made the plots workable.

They should be stricter about keeping plots in good order & if they are not then stop the tenancy, after all a badly kept plot affects all the others.

I don`t think they should rent newly aquired plots to people who already have a plot, unless they have advertised it to new renters, & waiting lists certainly here on the Island are long.

I would also be nice if people thought a bit more about others instead of just themselves.

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Post by Chilli-head on 7th February 2011, 1:42 pm

Despite a waiting list of over 60, an existing (and fairly new) plotholder at our lotty got a second plot by the simple device of applying in her husband's name.

Now, I'm not sure what I think about it. The two plots together are probably not much bigger than some of the older plots, and they are always well maintained. On the other hand, so many newcomers seem to last only just long enough to discover that it is actually hard work, then the plot gets abandoned til next spring. Presumably this problem will reduce with time when the current fashion for allotmenting fades Rolling Eyes
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Post by Mike on 7th February 2011, 1:58 pm

Look, we need to specify the rules in effect. Makes no sense otherwise to argue about unfairness.

a) 60 people on the list but "got another" --- well, what is the rule? Is this list a FIFO queue or is it a "heap" from which names drwan randomly? Both methods would be fair (although we might have a strong preference, that wouldn't be based upon "unfairness").

b) 60 people on the list but "got another" (another member of the household did) --- well what's the rule? Are allotments applied for/assigned to households or to people?

c) Are the rules nationwide or local? --- if the latter, that can make reports of something happening in place X seem unfair by the rules used in place Y. We need to be careful about that.

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Post by Sparhawk on 8th February 2011, 12:20 am

Moral, Political and Ethical Discussion...

Not

Argue about unfairness...

Just merely posing a question that I had with reference to something that is happening in the U.K. at the moment, & from what I have read has been happening for a little while...

I do know a little about the history of allotments, ie: the size that they were worked out at, & why they came about, & would guess that they could be bigger in some countries if they have them...

Unfortunately somebody thieved the book that I was reading a few months ago when I left it a work...

I do also know why councils are reluctant to release land now... Better price for development...

I will state here & now I do not want one, I don't have the time, I merely thought it would be topic for discussion...

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Post by Hairyloon on 8th February 2011, 8:31 am

Mike wrote:Look, we need to specify the rules in effect. Makes no sense otherwise to argue about unfairness.
The applicable law is the Allotments and Smallholdings Act 1908 (or is it 1907?), which says that local councils must provide allotments where there is a need.
I'll find a link and quote it later, but I'm busy today.

Beyond that, the local councils can make their own rules regarding how they are kept and allocated, as long as they follow the law regarding provision.

The get out for the councils is the law does not specify any timescale, and the people on the list are too apathetic to take any real action.

As I said before: they like to sit on their arse and moan a lot... it's the British way these days.
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Post by polgara on 8th February 2011, 10:44 am

There have been some very active people on the Island who have found land, approached the farmer & the council & ended up with allotments with facilities & a very happy farmer. There are groups who do this, lobbying the local council & most seem to be fairly succesful.

There is a problem in the inner cities & towns, though I do believe Glasgow has a large number of lotties that are well used.

The other way the Brits in some places are going is to take on an older persons garden, especially older ladies gardens, & work them like lotties sharing the produce & also keeping old people in contact with the outside world. Another thing that has been very good on the Island.

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Post by Mike on 8th February 2011, 2:12 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
The applicable law is the Allotments and Smallholdings Act 1908 (or is it 1907?), which says that local councils must provide allotments where there is a need. I'll find a link and quote it later, but I'm busy today.

When you get a chance that might be a good idea. It is often the case that laws like this fail to specify criteria that make them meaningful. In other words, they are meerly expressions of "intent".

For example --- if the law doesn't specify size and/or suitability for the purpose then clearly isn't something that could be effectively enforced against a council. Else a single football field could satisfy the "provide one" reuirement for a small city of ~50,000 (everybody gets a 1 square foot allotment).

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Post by Hairyloon on 8th February 2011, 5:43 pm

23 Duty of certain councils to provide allotments. E+W

(1)If the council of any borough, urban district, or parish are of opinion that there is a demand for allotments . . . F1 in the borough, urban district, or parish, . . . the council shall provide a sufficient number of allotments, and shall let such allotments to persons . . . resident in the borough, district, or parish, and desiring to take the same.

(2)On a representation in writing to the council of any borough, urban district, or parish, by any six registered parliamentary electors or [F2persons who are liable to pay an amount in respect of council tax] resident in the borough, urban district, or parish, that the circumstances of the borough, urban district, or parish are such that it is the duty of the council to take proceedings under this Part of this Act therein, the council shall take such representation into consideration.
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Post by mr_sfstk8d on 8th February 2011, 9:25 pm

"[T]ake such representations into consideration." That can mean a lot. In some African dialects, there is a saying "I will consider it forever". It's a polite way of saying no.
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Post by Hairyloon on 8th February 2011, 9:50 pm

English law makes great use of the word "reasonable". It is usually implied where it is not written.
If the people make such representation, then is is not reasonable for the council to conclude there is no demand for allotments.

And to pre-empt the next question: "reasonable" is traditionally defined as what the man on the number seven bus thinks is reasonable.
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Post by Adrian on 8th February 2011, 10:25 pm

I would have thought that in the "Big Society" it would not be unreasonable for people to expect access to the 5 acres that John Seymour talked about being the minimum that a family needed to be self sufficient.

After all, isn't that what the "Big Society" is all about eh making you less reliant on the state... Laughing

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Post by Compostwoman on 8th February 2011, 10:54 pm

Ha Ha

An allotment group in Ledbury gave up waiting for the local Council to act, instead leased a big field off a local farmer and got busy dividing up the field into allotments and organising access, water etc ...there is now a thriving allotment society site to the N of Ledbury,

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Post by Mike on 8th February 2011, 11:08 pm

Badger wrote:I would have thought that in the "Big Society" it would not be unreasonable for people to expect access to the 5 acres that John Seymour talked about being the minimum that a family needed to be self sufficient.
After all, isn't that what the "Big Society" is all about eh making you less reliant on the state... Laughing

Pass a law increasing the size of Great Britain so that there will be more than ~50 million acres of it? That wouldn't work, but could pass a law decreasing the legal size of an acre. Then easy to give 5 of them to everybody.

I did see "reasonable" in that law but not applied to how much of an allotment there was to be. Presumably to grow food on but that doesn't help much either (a square foot is plenty for a head of lettuce or several onions of garlic)

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Post by Sparhawk on 9th February 2011, 5:16 pm

Mike wrote: Pass a law increasing the size of Great Britain so that there will be more than ~50 million acres of it?

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] I like that idea Mike, can think of a couple of countries that I would love to annex, depopulate & divide into allotments... Cool

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Post by mr_sfstk8d on 9th February 2011, 11:10 pm

Most of the countries I'd like to depopulate (for political reasons, not racial bias) wouldn't make good allotments. Too arid, lol.
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Post by Chilli-head on 10th February 2011, 10:20 am

Actually, I understand Britain can produce domestically about 60% of its food requirement. Given that we have 18.7M hectares of agriultural land and about 20M households, that suggest about 3.5 acres per household. Modern households may be smaller than a family unit in Seymour's days, so it agrees quite closely.

Given that it is reckoned that ~33% of food is wasted, and around half of British adults are overweight, if we can cut waste and stop gorging we might just be able to manage with the land we have.
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