Allotments are an important asset to any town, providing a wide range of benefits to both communities and the environment. They are not just a way of producing good and low cost food, though this is becoming more important as world-wide food shortages are now hitting the UK. They offer recreation involving healthy exercise, social contacts and the fun and challenge of growing a variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers. They contribute to the retention of traditional skills and wisdom.
Allotments are a valuable green sustainable open space, providing a haven for wildlife.
Current house building trends are towards smaller gardens, as pressure increases to optimise building land. Those who live in flats or small terraced houses often have no individual garden, circumstances that can disproportionately disadvantage those on lower incomes. Allotments can help to redress the balance.
All local authorities have a statutory duty “to provide a sufficient number of allotments if they are of the opinion that there is a demand for them”.
Ron McConville, the local party's life president, who is a keen allotment-holder, tells me that there is at least one acquaintance who wants an allotment. He also says that there is land at Sea View, Port Talbot, which was once earmarked for housing many years ago but still lies derelict. He is of the opinion that, if the council advertised the availability of allotment land, the demand would be demonstrated.
[Acknowledgments to Boston Borough Council for the source of the introduction to this piece.]