UPDATE -Allotment Self-Management Issues
As many of you may know SWCAA have been increasingly worried about the lack of regulations in place regarding self management on allotment sites. With more and more councils facing cutbacks they are handing over the running of these site to associations. Whilst many sites are run following the guidelines set out for them in their agreements and constitutions, many are not! With the increase in plot holders facing unfair evictions, bullying and in worse cases violence it promted us to write to various MP's and government departments expressing our concerns and to find out where Government stands on these issues.
We received an interesting reply from the Department for Communities and Local Government in October this year. We know that nearly all the sites facing problems with self management have had non or very little support from the council. As they see it they have handed over the running of the site so have no more to do with it. SWCAA have always argued that these councils still have aduty of care towards plot holders and should intervene in serious management situations but we have come across so many councils point blankly refusing to do so.
We can now clarify that the response from the Department for Communities and Local Government clearly states that " Whilst the conditions for each devolved management may vary, the Government recognises that such arrangements would typically allow for the allotment association to decide its own code of conduct for plot holders to adhere to, and also have the ability to enforce the rules of the allotment tenancy agreements in place on their site. However, the legislation still requires associations to comply with the same statutory allotments regulations that would be applied by the local authority.
The provision of land for allotments and adherence by plot holders to their tenancy agreements are matters for the relevant local authority to oversee. Where there are examples of associations failing to comply with the statutory allotments regulations or acting inappropriately, it is the responsibility of the local authority to take steps to investigate the complaint and to take the appropriate action. If plot holders are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution with the local authority, they can submit a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman"
This has clarified what we already knew should be happening, councils are responsible for sorting out these issues, they can simply not just walk away and let bullying, intimidation and unfair/unwarrented evictions carry on and do nothing. We are still in the process of pursuing this issue further with help from our local Government MP and will keep you updated as to any progress we make.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this isssue then please do get in touch.