The law is clear on the provision of allotments. The Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, Section 23, states that allotments must be provided by Councils where demand is evident. It is today, quite easy to apply for an allotment via a Council’s website. The problem is that demand far outstrips supply in the UK.
Even so, it is worth noting that in the 70’s there was a huge demand for allotments. This may, or may not have been down to the success of the TV program “The Good Life”. Council’s expanded their allotment stock to accommodate the demand, but in the 80’s, as the UK economy took off, people abandoned their allotments in droves. The allotments became a wasteland and a testament to the wasteful spending of local Councils.
It is no wonder then, that today, Councils, whose budgets have been drastically reduced by “austerity” are not rushing to provide new allotments, but are being creative with the provision of their existing stock. Allotments are being halved from a size of around 300 square metres to around 150 square metres, some are even being quartered. Not very good if you want to become “self sufficient”, but acceptable if you want to play at being an allotment holder.
There are lots and lots of allotments that are not cultivated properly. But Councils do not appear willing to spend money administering the procedures necessary to terminate lazy plot holders. If you really want a plot of your own, it is well worth while having a walk around your local allotment site. You may have to hang around outside for someone to unlock the gates, but, showing interest could get you on the waiting list.
A lot of Councils have closed their waiting lists. I believe this is unlawful, simply because the Council has a duty at law to know what the demand for allotments is and closing waiting lists is obviously contrary to this duty. If you were unaware of your legal rights to an allotment, you may like to read the following Acts of Parliament…
The Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908
Allotments Act 1925
Allotments Act 1950