More space must be provided to secure the future of the humble allotment, an MP warned yesterday.
Keen allotment holder and Tory MP, Tony Baldry, said that land available for the much-loved garden plots was shrinking just as demand was growing.
Mr Baldry (Banbury) said councils and the Government needed to act to ensure that more land was freed-up to meet the spiralling allotment demand.
The origins of the allotment date back more than 200 years from the enclosure legislation of the 18th and 19th centuries.
They have offered urbanites room to enjoy the great outdoors and grow fruit and vegetables despite living in the midst of congested and polluted cities.
Mr Baldry, who told the Commons that allotments were a great place to â€œchill outâ€, was introducing his Allotments (Planning) Bill to free up more space for the plots.
He said waiting lists for allotments were now as long as ten years in some parts and urgent action was required.
â€œWe should all be championing allotments on the grounds of health, the environment, community relations and ethnic diversity.
â€œThe reason why Iâ€™m seeking to introduce this Bill is as demand for allotments is increasing, the number of available plots is decreasing.â€
Mr Baldryâ€™s Bill would encourage local authorities â€œ..to consider imposing duties on developers to provide land for statutory allotments when determining planning applications; and for connected purposes.â€
He told the House: â€œAllotments are in big demand for growing fruit, growing flowers, growing vegetables or just as a great way to chill out.
â€œAnd in this, the centenary year of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, it would be very good if this House and the Government could find the way and the will to enable new laws to be created to meet spiralling demand for allotments and to expand allotment availability as we go into the 21st century.â€
The Bill, which has cross-party support, was given an unopposed first reading but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of Parliamentary time.
Taken straight from PA somewhere.