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Scotland: Many are still on the waiting list for allotments in Edinburgh

Allotments at Inverleith. Photo: © 2020, Martin P. McAdam

The council manages 1586 allotments in Edinburgh but it needs to provide 1,500 more to meet its legal obligations in terms of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.

By Phyllis Stephen
The Edinburgh Reporter
November 17, 2020


Scottish local authorities are obliged to provide allotments and a council must also to take steps to ensure that nobody is on a waiting list for more than five years. The waiting list should not be more than half of the number of allotments provided.

There are currently 3,292 people on the waiting list with many new applications made during lockdown. There was a threefold increase in applications between April and July 2020 meaning that there are 1,095 would be gardeners out there without a plot. There is already a total of 615 people who have been on the waiting list for over five years.

Such is the demand for allotments that the council has carried out regular inspections and has ended some tenancy agreements where the allotments were not being tended. In total in 2019/20 the council contacted tenants 500 times to ask for improvements.

But it seems will take time for the council to fulfil its legal requirements.

The council has no funding allocated to providing allotments, and some of the land which could be used is what is known as common good land. The use of this land would require a court decision to allow that, which would be expensive.

There are potentially 200 more allotments which can be created at Clerwood Walled Garden, Little France Park, Gypsy Brae, the former Leith Links bowling green and Fernieside Recreation Ground. Since there is no council funding any applicants for new allotments will be encouraged to form an association to raise funds themselves.

Read the complete article here.