Grow­ing con­cern for the com­mu­nity al­lot­ment

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor -

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.

Hugh Mccarthy

High Wy­combe, Buck­ing­hamshire

Dig for vic­tory: a proud al­lot­ment owner in Foots Cray, south-east Lon­don, 1942

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