Growing concern for the community allotment
sir – It is with some sense of irony that I note (report, September 9) that the Government is intent on getting people gardening for the sake of their health and wellbeing.
It may have escaped the notice of Telegraph readers that a recent ruling, following a tribunal hearing (Densham vs The Charity Commission), has supported a recommendation by the Charity Commission which could see many thousands of community allotment plots lost across the nation.
These allotments were transferred to parish councils in 1895, being historically classed as “allotments for the labouring poor” and held under trust. Dutiful parish councils have managed and nurtured these valuable community assets ever since.
Significantly, the Charity Commission decided that such allotments no longer fulfilled the purpose of relieving poverty and that they should now be sold to raise funds. Most allotments are in prime development locations. Can it be that those concerned with the provision of affordable housing have spotted an opportunity to provide cheap land?
If so, such a move seems to be completely at odds with a policy of encouraging healthy community activity, and spells the end of a great British institution.
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Dig for victory: a proud allotment owner in Foots Cray, south-east London, 1942