Monday, September 14, 2015

The big allotment scam: How the system is stopping you from getting a plot

The big allotment scam: How the system is stopping you from getting a plot

Enormous waiting lists, pigeon lofts and 'dead man's shoes'
Waiting lists of around six years are stopping British families from going green and taking allotments on which to grow their own produce.
That's the opinion of an environmentally-conscious green fingered waste management company which says that many council- and committee-run allotment spaces are literally a case of "dead man's shoes", where the same people hold a plot for years and decades at a time.
On top of that, councils that are hard-pushed for budgets are tempted to sell off land for development, meaning there's ever decreasing space, the company says.
"Just at a time and more and more people are looking to grow their own produce, they're finding that the door has been slammed in their face," says Big Green spokesperson Mark Hall. "So many people have small gardens or no garden at all, meaning an allotment is the only real chance they have." spoke to councils across the UK to find out how long the waiting lists were for an allotment. The authorities who released figures led Big Green to find that:
  • The average waiting list for an allotment with six years
  • A significant number of councils had waiting lists as high as 250 people, with waits of around nine years
  • While the press made a big issue of 45-year waiting lists in 2009, there was no trace of any such figures now
  • The longest wait one (unnamed) council was prepared to admit was for 12 years
"The major problem is the lack of allotments for the folk who want to work them," says 's Mark Hall.
His solution is simple: "The average 10 pole (about 250 square metre) allotment is a lot of work for the average family. Split them in two, and double the number of available plots," he says. "Perhaps split them into three or four to give families a taste of growing produce, but on a big enough plot to bring decent results."
People are clearly getting impatient at the long waiting lists, and seem to think that the system is broken or skewed against new blood. spoke to some people on council waiting lists across the UK and heard:
  • "Three years we've been waiting. But you look over the fence and they've got empty plots. What's that about?"
  • "We were told we were right at the top of the list, and then they sold the whole field off to a developer. Disgraceful. We're still at the top of the list, but the other site's miles away."
  • "We desperately want to grow our own veg but we live in flats, but there's some selfish bloke who has six plots – one's got a pigeon loft and an old car! He can give one up for us, surely?"
  • "It's an old boys' club isn't it? We don't fit in, so we don't get a plot"
Those are damning words, says which lead on to other arguments: "There also needs to be a national debate about preserving allotment land," Hall says. "It's important green space, but all too easy for councils to earmark for development. Once that land's gone, it's gone. And that money only fills a budget hole for a single year."
One of the biggest problems that people on waiting lists find is people who occupy multiple allotments, or pay for a plot but don't use it as intended (or even at all).
"There's nothing worse than going down your local allotment site to find whole plots of land that have clearly not been cultivated for some time. The council direct debit is collected every year, so they seemingly don't care if it's left fallow," says Mark Hall. "We also know of plots which are nothing but pigeons, goats and chickens, and some who cultivate flowers and 'organic' crops sell at a profit. That's not what allotment ownership should be about."
Councils should also be stricter about multiple-occupiers who have a number of plots as well as commercial operations, denying other local people the chance to cultivate some land: "It's clear that many local authorities need to urgently reform their allotment provision. It's easy for users to abuse the system, when keen people are left kicking their heels, waiting for their turn," Hall says.
Unfortunately, such is the way the system works, new tenants have to wait for the previous person to actually die before they can take over a plot. There must be a better way of dividing up land and introducing new blood, says – "Dead Man's Shoes" just isn't good enough. says they recently heard of a council debating whether to increase the annual fee from £5 to £6 per year, and failing to come to a decision. And that's just goes to show how badly allotments are being handled by authorities.
"We'd pay ten times that much," says Mark, "If only we could get to the front of the queue!"
guest post from Big Green Waste Management is a leading expert in recycling and waste disposal for businesses of all kinds.
We manage waste and recycling collections for companies in and around major towns at the best possible prices with an emphasis on sustainable solutions.
Our company is committed to reducing wasteful landfill, and works to help companies increase their recycling targets. campaigns for tighter laws to discourage littering, wasteful behaviour, and to encourage greater recycling. We're the waste company that hates waste.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

saddle fit

saddle just returned from original makers , it was sent off to be widened  to fit Abbey better.. and had some D rings sewn on at the back to attach the picnic bags too.
now to try to get out on a picnic adventure...

Friday, July 24, 2015


I love this herd of horses, they're so chilled out , relaxed and feeling safe.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

extraordinary feeling of love

unconnected to the video... this happened today, visiting a house for work
I was standing, quietly waiting, I realised I could feel the house was so full of good atmosphere and love.. it was like being wrapped in a warm blanket of love,  I just rested there for five minutes until I had to go, it really was quite extraordinary, so I stood and accepted the love and felt thankful for it.
how awesome.
I know nothing of the people who live there,  I think that they grew up there then inherited the house so will have spent many years in it.
I imaging a happy, happy, loving family for generations.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

and again.....

Abbey nice and relaxed after her journey, we're back at our favourite yard which is close enough by to pop down twice a day if needed.. conscientious and knowledgeable owners,  a nice big field with lots of horses to chill out with , and some nice riding nearby without too much fuss. We've ridden over 15 miles this week , more than we've managed for a long time what with being busy and moving house three times this year...
Daisy and Smokey Tiptoes are with me in my room , they get out a few times a day for as long as they like. Rain or food brings them back in...
I start a new job tomorrow, nothing rocket science.. going round houses cleaning them, I hope I get on okay with it, its reasonable hours for reasonable money.
Money makes the world go round.. anyone disagreeing with that please contact me for details if you can send me donations towards keeping  my world going.. I need them. cheers.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

lazing in the sun

Abbeys summer coat gradually coming in, the weather keeps going warm then cold again so don't think the horses know what to do..
not been doing a lot of riding, just 20 mins a day up and down the drive bareback,  as I've been saving up to get my saddle adjusted to fit better.. she has widened (got fatter.. lol) so I won't use it till its been sorted.