City residents face nine year allotment wait

More than 2,700 Edinburgh residents are facing a wait of up to nine years to get an allotment, according to new figures revealed under a Freedom of Information request. Picture: Dan Phillips
More than 2,700 Edinburgh residents are facing a wait of up to nine years to get an allotment, according to new figures revealed under a Freedom of Information request. Picture: Dan Phillips
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MORE than 3000 people on the waiting list to get an allotment in the Lothians are facing a wait of up to nine years, new figures have revealed.

In Edinburgh, 2700 people are currently on a council waiting list, with the waiting time for sites varying between four and nine years - and an average wait of around four or five years.

East Lothian Council said it has 333 people on its waiting list - and admitted the list goes back goes back as far as 2005, suggesting some people are still waiting after 8 years.

And Midlothian said it has 15 people on its waiting list, with each facing a wait of up to two years. West Lothian council said it does not manage any allotments.

The figures were released by the Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, who said they highlighted a mounting crisis in Lothian region for the increasingly popular idea of growing your own food.

She also said statistics showed that the long waits come despite a third of Scotland’s population lives within 500 metres of vacant land, with Edinburgh Council having 110 hectares of vacant land, West Lothian 559 hectares, Midlothian 253 hectares and East Lothian 38 hectares.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and food spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “These figures suggest Scotland needs Right to Grow legislation in the same way we have seen community groups being given the right to buy land that comes up for sale. It is appalling that across Lothian than are over 3,000 people on waiting lists and probably hundreds more who feel it’s pointless putting their name down.

“It is hugely embarrassing that in East Lothian – known as the Garden of Scotland – there are over 300 people waiting yet the local authority doesn’t want to set timescales to reduce the lists.

“I will be looking for opportunities in the forthcoming Community Empowerment Bill to give control to the increasing numbers of people looking to grow their own food. The demand is there, the land is there and the benefits are obvious.”