Why we are concerned over the future of allotment sizes
Saturday 28 February 2015
MAGNUS Gardham’s excellent article on allotments in (“Anger flourishes over fears size of allotments set to wilt”, The Herald, February 26) very clearly makes the point that the Scottish Government can’t seem to (or won’t) grasp.
If local authorities are set targets by the Community Empowerment Bill to reduce the waiting lists for allotments without any restrictions on what they can do to plot sizes and rents, we will inevitably see smaller plots and higher rents in the future.
The Scottish Government’s statement that “there are already powers in the bill to protect minimum plot sizes” is simply not true. Yes, the bill in its current form does give the Scottish Government the power to legislate on plot size – but it chose not to include any specific provisions in the bill that was presented to the Scottish Parliament.
In discussions since then, we thought that the Minister had understood our concerns, but the latest suggestion is that while the Government now proposes that the bill will require ministers to legislate on size, it appears to be proposing to define an allotment as an area of ground up to 250 square metres.
Unless the use of the English language has changed dramatically since I went to school, “up to” implies a maximum, not a minimum and would give local authorities free rein to sub-divide plots as they see fit – even encouraging them to do so. Are we heading for an age when allotmenteering is the new name for Square Foot Gardening?