How to Get an Allotment
The first thing to do is go here to a super whizzy allotment finding database thing. all you have to do is type in your postcode and it will bring up allotments page for your local council and surrounding councils. You can apply directly online, or by phone.
If you’re very lucky they’ll say “Yes that shouldn’t be a problem, we’ve got a choice of sites for you” and then all you have to do is follow this 10 point checklist to help you choose the plot that suits you best.
In some areas that’s entirely possible, these days it’s quite an unlikely scenario. In many cases you’ll be added to the waiting list, so make sure you ask how many are above you and how long it takes to get to the top. If you discover that you may well be pushing up daisies yourself before you get to the top of the list for your ideal plot, you may wish to apply for more than one site. So when applying it’s a good idea to be sure what you’re applying for – a plot on any council controlled site, or the specific site of your choice. It’s also worth checking with the council whether there are any other land owners renting out land for cultivation by allotment holders.
Once on the waiting list, it is worth calling occasionally to see how things are moving along, but be careful not to make a nuisance of yourself – just in case someone miraculously moves you back to the bottom of the list!
If you don’t live in inner London and you think there’s really no hope of getting to the top of the waiting list, find five like minded people who would like an allotment too and are registered council tax payers. Then submit a formal letter (standard form is here) to the local council. Send one (you can put all six letters in one envelope) by recorded delivery and one hand delivered. All local authorities (except in London) are obliged to provide allotment provision under Section 23 of the 1908 Small Holdings and Allotments Act. The only potential problems is that there’s no time scale attached to this process…..so more diplomatic chivvying……If they have land available things might move quite quickly, but prepare to grind them down. They do have powers to make compulsory purchase of land, assuming there’s budget available, but give this is unlikely right now, you may have to attend meetings of the Amenities Committee (or whatever your local council calls it) so that you can keep the issue on the agenda.
If you have no luck with the local authority and established private landlords, don’t give up… look around your area and see if you can spot any vacant land which would make a good allotment. Find out who owns the land and ask anyway, it might just be that you can use it for growing vegetables…it’s amazing what the promise of homemade bit of strawberry jam can do