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Council admits 'significant' problem
A “root and branch” review of allotments is being carried out by Bradford Council to tackle the growing problem of more than 1,900 people waiting an average of three years for a plot.
A crackdown on those with vacant plots was launched by the Council last year in a bid to bring lists down.
But David Priestley, chairman of Bullroyd Allotment Association, had previously told the Telegraph & Argus that untended plots became eyesores and that the Council's crackdown did not seem to be working at all.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, the executive member responsible for environment, conceded that waiting lists were still a “significant” problem.
“We are having a root and branch look at the allotments services in the next few weeks,” he said. “I asked for the allotment action plan at the start of this year in response to issues raised with me by allotment holders and elected members.
“The action plan will set out the improvements that we want to make. It will be part of a report to the regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee.
“We know there is an issue. There is a significant waiting list with a number of allotments having a relatively slow turnover. People hang onto them and keep them for a number of years.”
There are 1,908 people currently waiting to be allocated a place at any of the district’s 38 sites, with 1,468 plots across Bingley, Shipley, Keighley and Bradford district all taken. None of the waiting lists are closed to further applications with Northcliffe and Caroline Street, Shipley, proving to be the most popular site for those wishing to grow their own vegetables.
The Council crackdown meant tenants must have three-quarters of their plot under cultivation at all times, new tenants must be working their plot within three months of taking it on and tenants of any plots not up to standard are contacted and told to bring them back into cultivation within three months.
Belinda Gaynor, Bradford Council’s operational estate manager, said the average waiting time across all sites was about three years.
“The popularity of growing your own food and demand for allotments has increased in recent years. In the early to mid 2000s the Council struggled to find tenants for plots,” she said.
“All spaces are either taken up or in the process of being re-let following the termination of tenancies.
“Measures are being taken to shorten the time that it takes to terminate tenancies of uncultivated plots to enable them to be offered quicker to people on the waiting lists and work is being organised to bring overgrown plots on three sites into use.
“In addition, sites are being identified that are suitable for letting to community organisations interested in creating and managing their own allotment sites.”
She said a new allotment site would be constructed at Beech Grove, Undercliffe.