I’m supporting Sign for Victory
Published: 4th May 2015
Allotments have much more value than the price of the land they sit on. They feed, educate, heal and unite communities and are as vital as ever. That's why I'm supporting the Sign for Victory campaign, to help protect allotments across the UK from being sold off by councils to developers.
Between 2007 and 2013 the government accepted 195 applications out of 199 to close allotment sites*. OK, I know that Local Authorities have had to make massive, and I mean massive cuts over the past several years and I know the money needs to come from somewhere to keep services running and to generate income but when allotments are as well used and provide as much benefit as they do, the councils need to just stop, not put the cash first and think more creatively about alternatives. Here in Nottinghamshire for example, as in many other places, allotments provide educational opportunities, contribute to local food initiatives, keep food travel miles low, support vulnerable people, contribute to healthy meals and bring together a wide range of people of all ages, cultures and interests. In fact they provide many useful services that the councils are often not able to.
Aside from all that local residents want allotments, they really do! In many places there are long waiting lists to rent an allotment site (in Nottingham nearly two years). This isn't land that is sat idle, going to waste.
The Sign for Victory campaign was set up by Sara-Jane Trebar, an allotment-holder at Farm Terrace Allotments in Watford. This old site with a rich history has been reduced over the years but now the Watford council want to take over the whole plot to build housing and a car park. With the council's third submission in place (having lost the previous two), Sara-Jane and her fellow Watford residents are continuing to fight and are currently awaiting a decision on this third application. I wish them all the best and hope for a positive outcome. You can read all about it on the Save Farm Terrace website.
If you want to help...
- Sign the petition to Eric Pickles asking him to provide more protection to UK allotment sites.
- Join in the Sign for Victory poster campaign.
- Spread the word in any way you can, face-to-face, on the phone, online.
- Contact your local MP to ask if they will do all they can to support protection of UK allotment sites.**
*Figures provided by Sara-Jane Trebar via Freedom of Information
** At the time of writing this article parliament is dissolved ahead of the upcoming general election on 7th May. You will be able to write to your MP from 8th May onwards.