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Norwich allotment holders could face eviction

PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:28 02 July 2010

Sam Emanuel

Allotment holders who neglect their patches will face speedy evictions as part of a council bid to improve allotment provision in the city for keen gardeners.

Allotment holders who neglect their patches will face speedy evictions as part of a council bid to improve allotment provision in the city for keen gardeners.

While legislation requires Norwich City Council to give three months' notice before terminating a tenancy on an allotment, the council plans to streamline the process to ensure it gives the “bare minimum” notice it can and thus allow others to take on the patch as soon as possible.

The city council owns and manages 1,532 plots on 18 allotment sites around Norwich, but interest in allotments has grown in recent years, with the green movement and the recession contributing to a renewed zest for growing fruit and vegetables, meaning there is still a waiting list of more than 500 people in the city.

The pledge to improve eviction efficiency was made yesterday at a scrutiny committee meeting at City Hall, where green spaces manager Simon Meek outlined the plans.

He said: “People get three months to clear vacant plots when they take it over, and if they have not started the work on it by then, they are given first a notice to remedy and then later a notice to terminate.

“Historically that wasn't implemented as quickly as possible, and we used to get a range of stories about why the tenant wasn't doing it, but now we are showing them we mean business.

“Although we are restricted by legislation, we are reviewing the system to reduce the timescales and we are now looking at giving the bare minimum in terms of notice that we need to.”

The proposals were approved by the committee, as was a report produced by officers, which recommended that an allotment strategy be prepared, that growing-your-own in places other than allotments be encouraged, and that the use of other council land be investigated in case it is suitable for gardening.

The report says that allotment associations or site representatives should be established for each site, and adds: “Allotment administration should be streamlined so that Parks and Open Spaces Officers (POSOs) can focus on supporting the associations and helping them to help themselves.”

Have you come up with a scheme to help people in your community? Call reporter Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email sam.emanuel@archant.co.uk.

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