Author Topic: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)  (Read 4047 times)

valentinelow

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Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« on: August 20, 2015, 13:44:58 »
I am a journalist on The Times (and an allotment holder), and am writing an article about allotment waiting lists.
Does anyone have particularly horrendous waiting lists in their area?
Also, is there anywhere where the allotment landlord - the council, or whatever - is doing something interesting to try to get the waiting list down?
It could be a good thing, or a bad thing...
Thanks,
Valentine Low

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Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« on: August 20, 2015, 13:44:58 »

picman

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 16:21:07 »
From my experience councils see allotments as a thorn in their sides , they put in as little resources as possible , even the officer looking after 15 sites locally is only supposed to spend half her time on allotment business, we spent 5 years of talking to them to try and get a site toilet , then did it ourselves with lottery money , some waiting lists are managed  by the site association and are closed when they get too long ( about 20) . One site has spare ground that could be bought back into lots of plots but the council seem unwilling to do it . whole thing needs a good shake up ... rant over  :icon_cheers: 

BarriedaleNick

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2015, 16:50:01 »
London checking in!  We are a private site, self run and our waiting list has been huge.  Over ten years.  Now we only accept applications at the start of the year and we are quite strict about people keeping in touch to stay on it.  Even so it could be years before you get a plot depending on how many people move on or die!
As we run our own site we have tried to promote smaller plots but there is only so small you can make them before they are useless for most.  We are also quite keen on removing those who don't garden or leave the weeds to go to seed so as to get new blood in but it isn't always quick or easy.

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/Documents/LewishamAllotmentInfo.pdf - details my local borough waiting times. However a mate got a plot immediately just down the road in Beckenham but then Kent's plots are all self managed. Similarly a mate in Welling got one with ease..

Ideally we need more land but here it really isn't going to work - there just isn't any space and we are lucky to have what we have.

valentinelow

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2015, 17:12:51 »
Thanks for your reply, Nick. Illuminating.

Digeroo

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2015, 17:33:34 »
We have had no official allotments for years.  Possibly about 35. They kept on looking for sights but never found any and then the list of people wanting them seemed to disappear. 
We are very lucky because a local farmer stepped in about six years ago.  So we are a private site and not technically allotments.  There are several plots available. 
The weed policy is a bit iffy, but we have to just cope with the weeds, they blow across from the fields and surrounding nature reserve anyway.
When someone leaves they plots are cleared so there is no need to sweat over an overgrown plot. 



sparrow

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2015, 23:41:38 »
And another reply from (south) London. We're a large self-managed site on lease from the Council. I waited over 5 years for my first plot and the average waiting time at the moment is 3-4 years. We're considering temporary quarter plots as a means to reduce the waiting list or to offer complete newbies a gentler entry into allotmenteering (all plots on site at the moment are half-plots - though the Council counts them individually but that's another matter entirely...) and I've been asked to research how other sites manage them.

So far it's been off-putting, with more disadvantages for the Committee and probably the site than advantages - particularly given the site's run by volunteers, all willing and able, but volunteers nonetheless. I see Charlie Dimmock's waded in on allotment plot sizes. I am betting she hasn't given much of a thought to how the blessed mess would be managed in an age of severely reduced spend & time by Councils and an increasing trend to voluntary-management.

I have 2 half plots - one of which I have split into two to share with a friend. It's rapidly become apparent to both of us that a quarter plot is quickly outgrown if you're keen.

I live in a flat and have no outdoor space at all so I really value the massive benefits the allotment gives me. I commute from south to north London and have quite a stressful job. I did no gardening before I got my allotment, had no knowledge at all and now (3 years on) growing fruit and veg has become so much a part of my life that I would feel completely lost without it now.

markfield rover

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2015, 08:05:08 »
We are in the Midlands and the time on the waiting list is not long at all , but we have found that people have been put off applying as they have been given the impression that all waiting lists are horribly long , this is not the case.

cornykev

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2015, 18:16:52 »
No waiting list in Cheshunt, Herts
Only waited a week or so
Just got lucky I suppose.
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MAY THE CORN BE WITH YOU.

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2015, 19:03:13 »
The District council is well short on provision, and shows little regard to its statutory obligations in regard to the growing population and allotment requirements. So what to do ?
Think outside the box.
Five years with a local landowner who had Diy livery stables, deal "fifty- fifty" on crop (but he and wife elderly and didn't eat very much!) On hand tractor rotovator, pump for local stream extraction, free (and erected!)polytunnel and a greenhouse once its resident chickens were evicted.Copious supply of fresh horse manure- "where would you like me to tip it now".
 Lost when to be sold for development.
Two seasons in the walled garden of an elderly neighbour, in company with about 8 other keen (?) others. Tap water, free run of orchard,free use of greenhouse in exchange for reglazing and renovating and winter log cutting. Sadly recently passed away .
New prospect within a smallholding.
 Approx area 1/2 acre of clay soil covered in well rotted manure. Only needs fencing against cattle and free range pigs. Water available. Exposed to prevailing wind on slight hilltop. Not cultivated in living memory, barely grows grass.
Now when shall I start   .Oh for an allotment.
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Lettisha Marie Howells

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 19:51:12 »
I'm  from Swansea, South Wales and had my name down at 4-5 different sites across Swansea. After 5 years I had a call back from one site and took on a 15x6 raised bed which is how they start newbies on site, then after a year or two if the chance comes up you get offered a full plot. It's a good way to get people off the list and a chance for people to show what commitment they have. They are having problems getting rid of people who have a plot but have not tended it for a number of years.
I'm about to start a number of Hugelkultur beds to give me more square footage to grow me veggies and I may do them in a 3 sisters  planting style.
Anyone else doing hugelkultur beds and any advice to help me bypass any common mistakes?
Thanks in advance.

Digeroo

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2015, 08:10:41 »
We now have no waiting list as there are several available plots.  We had not turn over for about four years.  Soil very fertile to start with but then some people were getting very poor crop and gave up:  when the soil ran out of nutrients in my opinion.  But also they did not know just how much work was needed. 

The seed packet say sow the seed and then when to harvest, nothing about what needs to be done in between.

We are on a private site, no council run allotments here for about 35 years.  Previous ones had footpath through so were constantly vandalised.

andyswarbs

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2018, 08:52:03 »
Our waiting list is generally less than 10 and sometimes down to 2 or 3. We're a village of 2,500 homes with a clear mandate to serve those homes.

Beersmith

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2018, 12:29:33 »
Medium sized town in the Midlands.

Across the whole town, no problem at all getting a plot. Getting a plot on the site of your choosing is an entirely different matter. Some sites are more prone to thefts and vandalism, some have pest issues especially rabbits, and the ones with a proportion of badly maintained plots are less popular. These sites have plots readily available.

But a newly opened site not far from where I live was massively over subscribed with reportedly more than 50 on the waiting list.  The best sites, well kept with few untended plots, tend to have waiting lists but not long enough to qualify for the nightmare scenarios of having to wait decades.

At present my own site seems nicely balanced. It is large with a good proportion of elderly and retired plot holders, so each year natural turnover frees up a few plots as advancing age means people downsize, going say from two plots to just one or from a large plot to a smaller one, or give up entirely. Add a few others who perhaps lose interest and an odd eviction for non cultivation and you probably get between 6 and 10 plots becoming available each year. With a waiting list of roughly similar size few applicants have to wait long, six months or less. Fussy applicants- must be near a gate / next to a water trough / want a shed / etc sometimes have to wait a bit longer. Less fussy - don't mind clearing an overgrown plot - and it can be just a few weeks.

So the situation in my locality is one of considerable variation. A few with long waiting lists, some with waiting lists but not long, and some with plots available albeit perhaps overgrown and needing some hard work.

Not mad, just out to mulch!

johhnyco15

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2018, 14:00:36 »
here on the sunshine coast we have a very high number of older people however people are a lot fitter and have more than one hobby so time even though they are retaired are a premium so to combat this we have turned 2 plots into 6 thirds roughly 14 mtrs x 4 mtrs and a shed they have gone down a storm and a year in all let and very well looked after and the waiting list has shrunk by 6 sometimes i think smaller is the way forward as the days of people working local and having a weekend to pop to plots alas seems to be no more peopleare working longer, longer hours and travel time has increased all of which is taken from ieisure time hope this helps
johhnyc015  may the plot be with you

ACE

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2018, 11:26:58 »
The local council allotment site is full and a long waiting list, they have recently restricted the letting of available plots to the town only and not the surrounding areas. I rent from a private site out of town and they have just re-let 5 plots due to retirements and non cultivation, but still have 2 empty. Even with offering them to the council owned waiting list we are too far out of town for people to commit to. Most village houses on the isle of wight have good size gardens compared to the town postage stamps.

Plot 18

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2018, 16:31:15 »
There are appx 160 on the local council waiting list, over 11 different sites.
The list was a longer, but the big plots of old have, mostly, been divided into 2 or even 3 smaller plots as the tenants have slowly vacated them. In some cases I think they have actually made plots too small for any rotation as such, but it has reduced the waiting list considerably, seems to be about 18mths - 2 years now.
About 8 years ago, I waited 3 and a half years for my small plot (roughly 24ft x 32ft)  - and have finally managed to move from a tiny plot to a larger one, as not many people have the site as first choice, they all prefer the other side of town, it seems. :)

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2018, 19:42:45 »
I am a journalist on The Times (and an allotment holder), and am writing an article about allotment waiting lists.
Does anyone have particularly horrendous waiting lists in their area?
Also, is there anywhere where the allotment landlord - the council, or whatever - is doing something interesting to try to get the waiting list down?
It could be a good thing, or a bad thing...
Thanks,
Valentine Low
I can make no more useful response than suggest that, given the resources of your publication, that you make specific Freedom of Information requests of each local authority. I assume you have this :
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwjXrPTytonfAhUKDsAKHecyBqQQFjAAegQICRAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fresearchbriefings.files.parliament.uk%2Fdocuments%2FSN00887%2FSN00887.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3-OHxqdSBv813MNNEzJ_St
In my district, the waiting list is excessive, I have been waiting for years but the provision of new plots is tiny. 60 plots in 20years while new housing built would be in excess of 10000. It may be "the best place to live in England"(Halifax BS survey) but certainly not for growing vegetables!
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42377578
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

Plot 18

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2018, 21:20:04 »
I don't know why we have replied, when the post was started in 2015 - I only noticed after I'd replied  :dontknow:

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Waiting lists (and what to do about them)
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2018, 21:39:19 »
I don't know why we have replied, when the post was started in 2015 - I only noticed after I'd replied  :dontknow:
But its only 3 years ago, a mere aeon !
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

 

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