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Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department’s policy is on the provision of allotments by local authorities; what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on the matter since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (290742)

The provision of allotments is the responsibility of local authorities. Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 places a duty on local authorities (except for inner London boroughs) to provide sufficient allotments where they consider that there is a demand for them in their area.

Government do not provide a formula for local authorities to determine the number of allotments they should provide. However, the Planning Policy Guidance Note 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation 2002 (PPG17) requires local authorities to make provision for all types of open space and requires them to undertake robust assessments of local needs and audits of existing open space, to establish standards for new provision. The accompanying guidance to PPG17 advises local authorities on setting local standards.

Given the ever increasing demand for allotments, my Department has recently written to the Government Office responsible for determining applications for consent for disposal of statutory allotments in England on behalf of the Secretary of State, to stress the need to demand and scrutinise evidence from local authorities to support their applications for allotment disposals.

“Growing in the Community”, a good practice guide to assist those who manage allotments to work effectively, was published by the Local Government Association in 2001. This was updated in March 2008.