Bloomin’ hell wait for land!

GARDENERS have raised concerns about a lack of allotment space following news that waiting times for a patch have been estimated by the council at around 50 years. Camden s Sustainability Champion, Cllr Alexis Rowell said the waiting list had been

GARDENERS have raised concerns about a lack of allotment space following news that waiting times for a patch have been estimated by the council at around 50 years.

Camden's Sustainability Champion, Cllr Alexis Rowell said the waiting list had been closed in autumn 2009 because of the lack of space.

Freedom of Information requests recently revealed that the waiting list in Camden for allotment space stands at 983, with Brent Council's waiting list a bit smaller at 615.

On top of this, one allotment in Brent was closed because the wait was at least ten years long.


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Cllr Rowell said: "When I was elected the waiting list was about five years which I thought was too long and so didn't join. By last autumn it was an estimated 50 years so Camden closed the lists."

He said while there has been no new allotment provision in Camden since 2006, there are now more food growing areas which are community allotments rather than traditional 'one person, one plot' sites.

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And he pointed out that Islington Council, 'which is as challenged as Camden on the land issue,' put �1 million into creating new food growing sites in 2009 and 2010.

Cllr Rowell added: "Camden could be doing a lot more than it is but there's still a lot going on here, especially on housing estates, which is where most of the potential sites are. We need to be creative in an urban environment like Camden."

Petica Watson, who runs the Kensal to Kilburn Transition Town movement and is on the waiting list for an allotment in Brent, said she was told the wait would be about a year long.

She said she was actually 'surprised' the wait was not longer but said she was puzzled why the waiting times diverged so much according to which lot you applied for. "Of course, I would like to see more land put over to allotments.

"There must be land available. It's worth having a look."

Richard Harrison, who runs the Mill Lane Garden Centre in West Hampstead, said: "If you go to other boroughs, you can get one in a few months.

"It is pretty bad but it reflects the amount of land that's available."

He said he would like to see Camden Council put more land aside for allotment use.

"There is obviously a demand there. People are interested in growing their own food and healthy eating."

ben.greening@archant.co.uk

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