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Allotments – protection

With the increasing pressure to build new homes, there is a possibility that areas designated for allotments might be under threat of development.

The main protection for existing allotments is contained in s8 Allotments Act 1925. This says that, where a local authority has purchased or appropriated land for use as allotments, it must not sell, appropriate, use or dispose of the land for any purpose other than use for allotments without the consent of the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Only statutory allotments benefit from the s8 protection. Where land has been acquired or held by the council for some other purpose, but is used on a temporary basis for allotments or is privately owned, it does not benefit from the s8 statutory protection.

Section 8 restricts the giving of consent to a disposal unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that:

 

  1. adequate provision will be made for those allotment holders who are being displaced;

  2. such reprovision is unnecessary; or

  3. such reprovision is not reasonably practicable.

 

Interestingly, nearly 100 allotments have been listed as assets of community value (National Allotment Society). While the listing does not provide a right of first refusal for a community group, or any obligation on the owner to sell to them, it does give a degree of protection to temporary allotments in the event of sale.

However, the timing of the asset of community value listing is key. An asset can only be listed if, among other things, the local authority considers that it is realistic to think that there can continue to be non-ancillary use of the building or other land which will further (whether or not in the same way) the social well-being or social interests of the local community. For a wider discussion of issues relating to allotments, see article [2019] 369 Property Law Journal 15.

 

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