POCKETS of unused green land around the Capital’s housing estates are set to be transformed into mini-allotments following a U-turn by finance chiefs.
Community food campaigners pressed for a rule change that would allowed strips of urban grassland to be rented out to food growers for a knockdown rate.
An earlier council policy – known as concessionary lets – once ensured local authority assets were leased at a commercial rate, meaning rents could reach £150 per year. They will now be offered at a peppercorn rate of £1.
And the about-face could spark a swathe of community growing projects similar to Pilton Community Gardeners and Granton Community Gardeners, opening up unused wasteland for food production.
Kirsty Sutherland, a volunteer with Pilton Community Gardeners, said: “I am really proud of Pilton and the way young and old have joined in to transform a neglected grassland into a productive garden for everyone to share. I’m so glad the council have recognised the many benefits to health and wellbeing this brings.”
Tom Kirby, from Granton Community Gardeners, said the city’s decision was “very helpful” and his group was “very excited” about “cultivating loads more food this season”.
Finance convener Alasdair Rankin said: “The concessionary lets policy was never intended to act as a barrier to garden schemes. The policy is being reviewed and we have agreed this measure until a report comes back to the finance and resources committee in April. ”