Council approve new allotment plans

CITy planners could soon be including allotments on their applications as part of a fresh push to improve access to the plots of land.

Monday, 27th March 2017, 9:04 am
Updated Monday, 27th March 2017, 12:19 pm
A ten-year plan to increase the number of allotments has been approved.

It comes after council chiefs rubberstamped a new ten-year strategy aimed at improving access to allotments after a surge in demand for the Capital’s reserve.

There are currently 1488 council-managed plots in Edinburgh, with a waiting list of 2510 people.

The new strategy, Cultivating Communities: A Growing Success 2017 – 2027, also aims to investigate potential new sites and encourage people to develop and manage plots on council-owned land.

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Lesley Hinds, transport and environment leader at the council, said the new strategy served to recognise the social, environmental and health benefits provided by time on an allotment.

She said: “The popularity of allotments has soared over the last couple of decades, as people recognise the many benefits allotment gardening can offer in terms of healthy eating, relaxation and social interaction.

“In response to this, our third allotment strategy aims to improve and increase accessibility to allotments.

“As well as investigating new sites ourselves we are keen to see communities take on and cultivate allotments on council land, which we would fully support to help alleviate demand.”

Since the Capital’s first allotment strategy was implemented in 2002 the city council has increased the number of plots available for use by more than 200.

The latest strategy – now the council’s third – comes after the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 placed a requirement on local authorities to provide and protect existing allotments.

Stuart McKenzie, president of the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Associations (FEDEGA), which is represented on the allotment strategy steering group, said the new strategy was good news for residents across the Capital.

He said: “FEDAGA welcomes the adoption of this strategy to empower Edinburgh communities to fund, build and manage their own allotment spaces whilst also ensuring every inch of our precious allotment stock is used effectively.

“We look forward to working alongside the council allotment service to achieve these strategic objectives.”

As well as investigating a list of potential new sites, the strategy also aims to ensure plots are accessible to all and to promote biodiversity on new sites.