Had been frozen for new applications during the pandemic
The borough has one of the largest number of plots in London
Hounslow Council has reopened its allotment waiting list and started work to renovate and re-let unused plots.
After the waiting list fell from 1,200 in May to 952 currently, the council has made the decision to allow new applications for the first time since the list was frozen during the pandemic.
The council says is working on a range of measures that will allow all residents who want to grow their own fresh fruit and vegetables the opportunity to cultivate land.
The borough has one of the largest portfolios of allotments in London with a total of around 1,950 plots. With an increase in interest in gardening and living a sustainable lifestyle, the Council published its Allotment Strategy in 2020 with the aim to offer an improved and modernised service by 2025.
It is now working on a comprehensive project to free up, renovate and improve a further 182 such plots for let by the end of March 2023.
Waiting lists are now open for 21 of the 29 allotment sites managed by Lampton Greenspace 360 in the borough. Hounslow currently lets around 92 per cent of all available plots but its target is to achieve 100 per cent let by March 2023.
Steps to achieve this goal include a focus on the reactivation of uncultivated plots that have not been maintained. Those that are uncultivated at time of inspection are being issued with an improvement notice giving a 40-day period to bring the plot back into a cultivated condition, any plots that are not cultivated on the reinspection, will be served with a termination notice of 14 days following which the plot will be re-allocated to a new tenant.
Tenants must keep the Council informed of any changes in address or contact details; this will also help the council to understand if the need for a plot remains with a tenant or if the plot is no longer needed and can be re-let.
A proportion of the allotment estate requires restoration after a period of non-cultivation. This can be a resource-intensive process but the council is committed to this as a way of improving availability.
Councillor Salman Shaheen, Cabinet Member for Parking, Parks and Leisure said, “Allotments are vital to the health and wellbeing of Hounslow’s residents. During COVID, they have provided a lifeline for our communities and for people’s mental and physical health. They are essential for the biodiversity of our borough and for our ambitions to see a greener Hounslow.
"We want to ensure all residents who value and treasure the land have a space they can call their own. That is why we are bringing in measures to ensure the spaces on our sites that are not being loved and cared for as they deserve to be are improved and cultivated and given to residents on our waiting lists.
“I’d like to underline our commitment as a council to maximising plots available to residents as we know that demand remains high. Beyond the 182 plots we expect to bring into use by March we are working on a new project to further increase allotment capacity across the borough.”
There are also alternatives to letting an allotment if you want to work on a gardening project. Residents can adopt trees through Hounslow Greentalk, join a local friends of parks group and/or the Environment Champions programme. There are also opportunities to volunteer at local community gardens or identify spaces where new community gardens could be created and maintained by volunteers in the local community.
To apply for an allotment place click here or call: 020 8583 6618.
For more on how to get involved in Hounslow Greentalk, click on this link or email the team at: Countryside@hounslow.gov.uk.
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November 11, 2022