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Allotments in Warrington

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I've got quite a large garden and if anyone is really interested in say.... mowing lawns, they are more than welcome to come and practice their skills. I have a lot of weeds too so maybe someone with a weed fetish can have a go at them too..

 

Seriously though, Paul is absolutely passionate about this idea and although I am not the gardening type, I think it is a very good idea and would be the start of something good for a change. Maybe the Tory/LibDems could pick up on this as something to work on rather than wasting money on bloody traffic lights!

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Politicians are not noted for vision or innovation, especially if it helps the people rather than increases their revenues. :roll: We are entering a period of economic depression, with increasing price inflation - which will come as a major shock to a generation that has never done "frugal". :shock: The last time we were in such a state was WW2, when food shortages led to food rationing and folk were encouraged to "dig for Britain"; which meant growing food in every scrap of spare ground. :shock: Maybe the UK could become self-sufficient in food production, thus saving it being transported half way round the world to our tables?! :wink:

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Could I thank you all for the words of support and encouragement, it really does help. I am really pleased that Gary has arranged to do a story on this issue and I would like to thank him and James from editorial for trying to help. Sadly it seems that James is beginning to find out how unhelpful and patronising our council can be when they see fit. I am already in contact with my M.P. who says she has passed on this matter to the ministers responsible and I will be contacting her again this weekend and will keep you all posted. I will be renewing my badgering of my local council member and will be contacting every other councillor with a request for their help and views on the matter as it is a borough wide problem not just in my Parish.

I must say that I am quite disappointed that Councillor Kennedy hasn't given me his views on here as he is somebody who seems to care about the town and the interests of its people. I would also have liked to have had Cllr Kenny's input. Maybe there aren't any political points to be scored here for either of them to bother with what must seem like an unimportant issue. Sadly, more people are on the Lymm Parish allotment waiting list than voted for Cllr. Kennedy on May 1st. :oops:

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I just came across this Government statement which I think proves that this Council can and should be forced to provide adequate allotments to satisfy demand.

 

from here http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page12015.asp

 

The Government fully recognises the value of allotments and a whole range of green spaces in improving people's well being and the quality of neighbourhoods. Our green space policies and programmes are leading to real improvements in the quality of green spaces. A key part of our policy in recent years has been to strengthen the protections for allotments.

 

Statutory allotments are protected via Section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925 which requires that local authorities seek the Secretary of State's consent for disposal or appropriation to another use. Consent cannot be given unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that certain criteria are met. In 2001 we made it a requirement for local authorities to demonstrate that they had promoted and publicised allotments in their area before consent for disposal would be granted was also introduced. Clarified criteria for disposal were also issued to local authorities and Government Offices in February 2001. Now local authorities are required to demonstrate before consent is granted that:

 

the allotment in question is not necessary;

adequate alternative provision will be made for displaced plot holders;

the waiting list has been taken into account;

and that they have actively publicised the availability of sites.

In addition, Planning Policy Guidance 17 (PPG17) requires that local authorities make provision for all types of open space that may be of public value. It also requires local authorities to undertake robust assessments of local needs for, and audits of, existing open space, sports and recreational facilities and to establish standards for new provision. It is expected that by implementing the guidance in PPG17, local authorities should make adequate provision for allotments.

 

Furthermore, if an allotment authority is of the opinion that there is a demand for allotments in its area, it is required under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, to provide a sufficient number of allotments and to let them to persons residing in its area who want them.

 

Written representations may be made to the local authority on the need for allotments by any 6 residents on the electoral register or persons liable to pay council tax, and the local authority must take those representations into account (section 23(2) of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908). The Council must assess whether there is a demand for allotments in their area. If the council decides that there is a demand for allotments; they have a statutory duty to provide a sufficient number of plots. In terms of the duty to provide under section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 there is no time limit for provision once it has been established that there is a demand.

 

Now would any of you kind people be willing to be one of the six required to prove a demand? Although why the existance of a ten year minimum waiting list cannot be used as proof of demand is baffling. If you would p.m or email me with your details I would be most grateful.

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This seems like an issue I might be able to convince our local Friends of the Earth to get involved in. We are already campaigning for a farmers market, which would seem to tie in well with this. We are making good progress on the farmers market. I talked to Brian Axcell, and he is supportive on it. We will be having the ear of Ian Marks at our next meeting. We have many other issues to discuss, but I will try to squeeze in some questions about allotments if I can.

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Many thanks Shelley , (and at the risk of sounding like your opposition) every little helps :)

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This seems like an issue I might be able to convince our local Friends of the Earth to get involved in. We are already campaigning for a farmers market, which would seem to tie in well with this. We are making good progress on the farmers market. I talked to Brian Axcell, and he is supportive on it. We will be having the ear of Ian Marks at our next meeting. We have many other issues to discuss, but I will try to squeeze in some questions about allotments if I can.

 

Would that be a question at the next full Council Meeting. With regards to Cllr Axcell, being the Deputy Mayor, he is no longer on the Executive, that being said, maybe Environmentalism could be his theme in his Mayoral year.

 

With regards to allotments, I think they are a great idea as are genuine Farmers Markets, however with regards to land for allotments, such is the financial state of the Council, I think that anything that can be "flogged off", will be.

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Would that be a question at the next full Council Meeting..
I don't know about that, but the meeting I was talking about was our next FoE meeting. Ian Marks is coming to it so that we can talk to him about a number of issues.

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Paul, thanks for commenting. Nothing personal but your reply is typical of the attitude of councillors and council officers in this town. You're too concerned with finding excuses not to confront a problem rather than trying to find a solution. As you can see from the Governments statement above the law states that sufficient allotments should be made available to satisfy the demand. That is not a guideline as some might have you believe but law of the land going back a century. It may be inconvenient and you may be struggling to afford to do your duty to your constituants but many people find it inconvenient and struggle to pay their council tax but as it is the law they do so or face the consequences. As you are unable to meet my legal rights am I ok to not pay council tax?

 

I can assure you that I have absolutely no intention of letting this matter drop, ever. You are elected to do a job. The law of the land lays down the description of your job, please try to do what is right.

 

As I said this is not a personal tirade against yourself but a general vent of frustration at the apathy which seems to exist amongst this council and its officers towards the whole issue of allotments.

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I think the last bit should read "a general vent of frustration at the apathy which seems to exist amongst this council and its officers towards the whole issue of just about everything"

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I think the last bit should read "a general vent of frustration at the apathy which seems to exist amongst this council and its officers towards the whole issue of just about everything"

 

:D:D

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I think Paul has a valid point.

Money.

Given the dire financial state of the Town's finances, where in the priority table would you put allotments?

Just because a few people have decided to go "Green" and produce their own food, should the rest of the Community lose something of value to subsidise these new allotments?

 

I am not against the idea, but you shouldn't expect it to happen overnight.

Maybe you need a strategy for change, and get public support.

:wink:

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Peter I know that money is the main factor in all this but, when did the Council last open new allotments. Probably when we had half the population that we do now. How much money has been raked in converting land to development sites which make billions for the developer but put nothing back into the local community except traffic problems and polution.

 

I do not want a free hand out, I have never been a scrounger, and I am prepared to pay the rent for an allotment which is more than can be said for lots of people who want everything for nothing. I have identified a piece of waste land quite locally which has stood unused for decades. A few years ago it was earmarked and permission was given to build a link road straight through it. There was not a murmer of protest from any local or political group to try to stop this development going ahead. Then all of a sudden it has become a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation. This is at best disingenuous given that the same people were prepared to tarmac over the area a few years back.

 

I have also suggested that land which is aquired for development be used for temporary allotments as projects such as Omega are expected to take at least 25 years to complete. The allotmenters contract could easily include a 12 month notice to clear site from day one and then there could be no complaints when the time to quit came. People working the temporary plots could be moved to the more permanent sites as and when the space became available. i have also pointed out many millions of pounds in grants which are available to green projects and especially local food production. Sadly the endemic apathy throughout this council means that instead of trying to do something positive and constructive and getting the money together for this they hide behind trotted out excuses and instead ignore peoples basic rights and expectations. Observer summed it up perfectly when describing them as being in a comfort zone which they have no desire to leave.

 

Peter, believe it or not I am trying to obtain public support for this injustice but sometimes, probably because I feel so strongly about the issue, I get a little carried away with my rants. If this is the case I do apologise but cannot assure you it will not happen again.

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I think Paul has a valid point.

Money.

Given the dire financial state of the Town's finances, where in the priority table would you put allotments?

Just because a few people have decided to go "Green" and produce their own food, should the rest of the Community lose something of value to subsidise these new allotments?

 

I am not against the idea, but you shouldn't expect it to happen overnight.

Maybe you need a strategy for change, and get public support.

:wink:

 

Peter,

 

just think how much of our money has been ploughed into buying buses and building a new bus terminal.... not everybody in the town has a desire or a need to use a bus. Doesn't mean they shouldn't be there does it? (Mind you, when you think of how many buses travel the town with just the driver on them it makes you wonder.... but thats another story!)

 

As Paul has quite rightly pointed out; it is a Legal requirement that the council fulfil these obligations; not a "well we will see if we have any money left after we have put traffic lights everywhere" type of obligation

 

Baz

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Try thinking outside the box folks! :wink: Who has the monopoly on food production and distribution, and therefore controls an ever rising price? :? With food being brought half way round the world, up and down our motorways, at the expense of exploited suppliers, and at the mercy of increasing fuel costs, packed and sorted into correct sized produce (under or over sized items being wasted) with excess plastic packaging, all in the name of our convenience. :roll: Perhaps a new (municipal) source of fresh organic, locally grown produce, could provide an element of competition on the super-markets, and IF Local Authorities WERE given powers outside their current straight-jacket, they could begin to levy the super-markets in order to fund such innovation? :wink:

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[quote name="PJ Callands"

 

I have also suggested that land which is aquired for development be used for temporary allotments as projects such as Omega are expected to take at least 25 years to complete. The allotmenters contract could easily include a 12 month notice to clear site from day one and then there could be no complaints when the time to quit came. People working the temporary plots could be moved to the more permanent sites as and when the space became available. i have also pointed out many millions of pounds in grants which are available to green projects and especially local food production. Sadly the endemic apathy throughout this council means that instead of trying to do something positive and constructive and getting the money together for this they hide behind trotted out excuses and instead ignore peoples basic rights and expectations. Observer summed it up perfectly when describing them as being in a comfort zone which they have no desire to leave.

 

Peter' date=' believe it or not I am trying to obtain public support for this injustice but sometimes, probably because I feel so strongly about the issue, I get a little carried away with my rants. If this is the case I do apologise but cannot assure you it will not happen again.[/quote]

 

Nothing to apologise for.

 

I believe that to achieve things, it is sometimes necessary to bang the drum.

 

As for the previous paragraph, it requires an application of common sense and lateral thinking, something that the world seems short of these days.

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That is not a guideline as some might have you believe but law of the land going back a century.

 

I would be most grateful for details of that law.

 

 

PS When people say "nothing personal", they normally mean it is

personal. :wink:

 

PPS I've now found the details of the Allotments Act 1922, and will give the matter some thought.

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I have identified a piece of waste land quite locally which has stood unused for decades. A few years ago it was earmarked and permission was given to build a link road straight through it. There was not a murmer of protest from any local or political group to try to stop this development going ahead. Then all of a sudden it has become a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation. This is at best disingenuous given that the same people were prepared to tarmac over the area a few years back.

 

 

Identify the land please.

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Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 :wink:

 

Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 puts the authority under a duty to provide a sufficient number of allotments and to let them to persons residing in its area who want them. :D

 

Can I have an allotment now PLEASE :lol:

 

Ones in Warington currently only cost about ?30-?40 per year to rent (or half that if you are an OAP or WBC Leisure Card holder.)

 

No wonder they are so hard to get hold of.

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Paul, thanks for commenting. Nothing personal but your reply is typical of the attitude of councillors and council officers in this town. You're too concerned with finding excuses not to confront a problem rather than trying to find a solution.

 

By making that comment it is evident that you know nothing about me or my background, your comment is therefore one made with a fair degree of ignorance. :wink:

 

If time and the opportunity permits, I will ask the question regarding allotments.....although I have to say my biggest concern at the moment is the over ?100 million of WBC borrowings and its pension deficit which was last estimated at ?80 million, althought my guess is that with revised mortality rates and movements in the stock market that figure might well now be in the region of ?100 million.

 

So allotments as you can see are a question of priorities, accepting that like other things they can be the sole focus and be all to some people.

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Priotities vary depending on who you are and what it is that you want to do with you spare time, money and life :roll:

 

Unfortunately the 'priorities' seem to be set by those in supposed power and everyone else can get stuffed :roll:

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Indeed, but priorities can conflict can they not.

 

Not always, some just happen to be more pressing than others and failing to try and deal with them will have more of a long term impact for current and future generations. :wink:

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Although highly important, the rationalising of Council finances, cannot be your only focus Paul? :roll: On the basis of the application of certain principles, it is possible to procede on a broad front. :wink: However, in order to achieve the necessary freedom and flexibility to introduce innovations, one not only requires the local vision and imagination, but a release from the restraints imposed by central Government, which may create some local interest in local politics. :wink:

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