Norwich allotment holders’ call for review of the service rejected

Norwich City Council will extend the consulation period for changes to allotment rules. Picture: Denise Bradley Norwich City Council will extend the consulation period for changes to allotment rules. Picture: Denise Bradley

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
7:00 AM

Council chiefs have rejected a call from allotment holders to review the management of the service after they raised a series of concerns about recent changes.

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Margaret Todd of the Norwich Allotment Association (NAA) told last night’s meeting of Norwich City Council that it was formed because of three major changes.

She said these were the increase in rents in October 2013, a “sudden change of enforcement practice”, which she said had see a sizeable proportion of tenants being given notice, and concerns that the half-size plots offered to new tenants could lead to that becoming the normal size by default.

She said: “While these three changes have led to a high turnover and a reduction in the very long waiting list, we are concerned that a growing number of tenants are losing heart and giving up because the allotment regime is becoming too restrictive.

“Many feel their allotment is no longer a peaceful retreat when they are fearful of an inspection.”

Ms Todd told councillors she was concerned about a current consultation on proposed changes to the rules which she said did not give reasonable access to all tenants because it was conducted by email.

Keith Driver, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said the council had reviewed allotment rules in 2009 after complaints from tenants about some allotments not being used properly.

He gave an assurance the normal size of a plot will remain at 250sq m in the future, and added: “I can assure you that those tenants who want to apply for a further half plot are welcome to do so.”

He said the current consultation was a clarification of expectations about cultivation and waste, and also included a section on criminal activity and safeguarding. He said: “Tenants do not need to email in their comments and are welcome to contact us by any route they wish.”

He added he was extending the consultation period by four weeks, and it would now end on August 15.

He said the council had invested in security, tracks improvements and water supplies, and was keen to develop the use of site representatives as a link with the council, and so believed “I do not consider there is a requirement for a review of the policy and management of the allotment service”.

Do you support the council’s allotment policy? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

2 comments

  • Have always found the allotments to be to big, if they were all divided in half or even into thirds they would be more manageable and more of them available to those on a waiting list and after ll you can grow quite a lot of stuff in quite a small place. When I had one off Sprowston road it was often vandalised or else everything would be taken by people wanting free food.

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    blister

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

  • Interesting... I was on a waiting list for an allotment for almost 3 years. Finally I got one close to my house and started working on it. Unfortunately I then broke my leg so couldn't carry out the neccessary work. Not long after I got an 'eviction notice' in the post stating that I had not been maintaing the upkeep of the plot. I had to attend a council meeting to plead my case and ask for it back - which I thankfully did. As a father with a young family, it was always my intention of getting the children there to help out so they could experience the 'fruits of their labour'. I was then told that there was a rule change and that a certain % of the plot had to be used for growing vegetables. Up until then I had just dug out a few 'beds' and used them for potatoes, etc. Then to add to the misery, unfortunately my plot was being vandalised fairly regularly. I was spending more time there just tidying up the mess. The final straw came when it was vandalised the night before an inspection. Obviously I got a letter stating that it wasn't tidy and that I should be evicted. By then I had lost all enthusiasm and inclination to fight back. Strangely enough, the day I emptied my shed, I had no end of fellow allotment holders talking to me asking me for the water butt, paving slabs, greenhouse perspex, etc that I had taken down there.... All just left a rotten taste in my mouth...

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    Chipin

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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