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What is our policy for allotments?

Allotments and community gardens are valuable green spaces and community assets that can help improve people's quality of life by promoting healthy food, exercise and community interaction.

Government recognises the unique role of allotments as places which bring all sections of the community together. They provide opportunities for people to grow their own produce as part of the long term promotion of sustainability and healthy living.

Public interest in allotments has undergone a recent revival in line with current thinking on healthy eating, organic food and exercise.  This has created a greater demand for allotments in some areas, which is critical to protecting them from a change of use in the future as a consequence of disuse or dereliction.

The Government's aim is to ensure that allotments are well managed, are considered as part of the overall green infrastructure, and are only disposed of where there is no demand for them and established criteria have been met.  We are committed to working with local authorities to promote best practice and ensure quality and appropriate availability now and for future generations.

How are allotments protected?

Allotments are uniquely protected through the legislative and planning framework within the wider context of a firm national policy to improve the quality of urban green spaces.

Government has strengthened the policies and protections afforded to allotments. In 2002 we strengthened the criteria for disposing of statutory allotments and revised planning guidance (PPG17), within the wider context of a firm national policy to improve the quality of urban green spaces.

The planning system through PPG17 (Planning for open space, sport and recreation) and PPS3 (Housing) provides a robust framework for the protection of urban green spaces including allotments and sets out that allotments should not be considered as previously developed land. (See related publications below).

PPG17 recognises allotments, community gardens and city farms in its typology of open spaces and sets out that Local Authorities should undertake robust assessments of the needs of their local community for open space.

PPG17 is supported by a companion guide: Assessing Needs and Opportunities, (see related publications below).

Allotments are further protected by specific legislation and their disposal is governed by a robust consents regime. To dispose of a statutory allotment a local authority musty obtain consent from the Secretary of State under Section 8  of the Allotments Act 1925. Requests are made by the local authority to the Government Office for the West Midlands and are considered against robust criteria including that adequate provision has been made for displaced plot holders and the allotments have been actively publicised.

The Government Office for the West Midlands is based at:

National Planning Casework Team
5 St Phillip's Place
Colmore Row
B3 2PW


Communities and Local Government has provided funding and support for the revival of urban green spaces, including allotments and other community spaces, through our Living Spaces programme and our Growth Areas Fund, and through our support of Groundwork, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and the Allotments Regeneration Initiative. (See links on right hand side.)

How do I find out more about allotments?

If you want to rent an allotment you should contact your local authority who will be able to provide you with details of allotment sites in your area. Most local authorities will have comprehensive information about allotments on their website, and some local authorities hold 'allotment open days' for prospective plot holders. (See link on right hand side).

Allotments: A Plotholders Guide (revised edition) was published in June 2007 by the Allotments Regeneration Initiative on behalf of Communities and Local Government. (See link on the right hand side).

The guide covers all the subjects which will be of interest if you rent (or want to rent) an allotment, or if you want to know about your responsibilities or those of your allotment provider. The Guide covers:

  • An introduction to allotments
  • Provision
  • Tenancy agreements and rules
  • Rents and funding
  • Health and safety on allotments
  • What you can and can't do on an allotment
  • Livestock and beekeeping
  • Protection and legislation
  • How do I get started and
  • Resources and glossary

Other publications and providers about allotments

Survey of Allotments, Community Gardens and City Farms
This summary presents key findings of the Survey of Allotments, Community Gardens and City Farms carried out by the University of Derby on behalf of Communities and Local Government (published September 2006). (See related publications below.) 

The following organisations can provide a wealth of information and support relating to allotments (see also section 10 of the Plotholders Guide):

National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG)
Tel. 01536 266 576

Allotments Regeneration Initiate (ARI)
Tel. 0117 963 1551

National Allotment Gardens Trust (NAGT)
Tel. 01752 363 379

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG)
Tel. 0117 9231 800


Related publications

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