Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
‘Use them or lose them’ policy likely as waiting lists lengthen
Bradford Council is looking to bring in new eviction procedures over untended allotment plots, as it emerges that some residents are so keen to get a plot they are on waiting lists at six different sites in the district.
A crackdown was launched by the authority last year in a bid to bring waiting lists down. The current list contains 2,023 entries, which amounts to 1,440 people. Almost 500 of these have their names on more than one waiting list. The majority are on two waiting lists, but it has now emerged that people with their names on six separate lists have been identified by the authority.
In addition, the Council is investigating the possibility of reducing a three-month notice period served on tenants who are not tending plots, to one month.
This would leave the individual with a short period in which to bring the plot up to cultivation standards, or they will be evicted.
Belinda Gaynor, the Council’s operational estate manager, states in a new action plan: “We have noted the frustration of plot holders, prospective plot holders and members at the time that it has taken in the past to deal with tenants failing to cultivate plots and the slow turnaround of plots.”
She outlines key actions that will be taken as part of the action plan to address this, including an audit of all sites which is expected to be completed by the end of March, regular inspections instead of annual site inspections, new eviction procedures from April with the possibility of tenants being served with a one-month notice period in which to start tending their plots or face eviction, and a review of waiting list procedures and the management of these lists.
The new eviction procedures will see tenants issued with one warning letter, which also gives the tenant three months’ notice of eviction. If they fail to bring the plot up to the required standard during that time period, they will be evicted.
This will enable uncultivated plots to be turned around more quickly and will also help to reduce waiting lists.
The feasibility of reducing this notice period to one month is currently being explored by legal officers at the Council. Tenants who do make progress during the one month would be placed on probation for the following three months, but could still face eviction if they fail to maintain the progress.
In addition, a register is being prepared of vacant Council-owned land which could be used either temporarily or permanently for food growing. A new allotment site is being constructed at Beechgrove in Undercliffe, with 12 plots expected to be ready to let in around two years.
David Priestley, chairman of Bullroyd Allotment Association, previously told the Telegraph & Argus that nearly a quarter of its plots were still not being used despite a growing waiting list.
In August, the Council began a crackdown with tenants told they should have three-quarters of their plot under cultivation at all times. Mr Priestley said that abandoned plots were turning into weed-infested eyesores and that the crackdown was not working.