Saturday, 23 April 2011

Government Review of Statutory Duties - Links & Tips

Further to the previous post regarding the upcoming government review, which could threaten the provision of allotments, here are some more links and guidance with regards to the online forms and what we can all do to help.

The Government has announced a "Review of statutory duties", aimed at identifying and removing duties from local authorities which are a "burden".  One of the duties they are considering removing is the duty to provide sufficient number of allotments for people in the area who want one. This means ALL allotments, including existing ones, not just new ones.


Look at the Government's web page on "Review of statutory duties placed on local government" at:

Then fill in the "Statutory duties webform" which is in the top right-hand corner, or go to:

Time is short. We have only until 25 April.

The form is a bit confusing, so please find below some model answers which you can use, or you could of course write your own. But do fill in the form!

Statutory duties webform questions, with some suggested answers:

1. Please quote the reference number for the duty or duties you are commenting on.

2. What does this duty help local authorities to achieve?
Provide sufficient number of allotments for those in their area that want one.

3. Does undertaking this duty present local authorities with a burden?

4. In your opinion, could this duty be removed?

5. What are the particular benefits of this duty being removed and who would benefit?

6. What do you consider are the adverse effects of removing this duty and who would this affect?
We could lose many allotments just at a time they have become hugely popular in
many sections of the community, and when were are increasingly concerned about
the need for more exercise and a healthy diet for individuals, and about food security
for the nation...

7. Are you aware of any guidance - statutory or non-statutory - associated regulations or powers that are associated with this duty? If so please list them here.
Non statutory guidance: "Allotments: A plot holders' guide" at

8. In your opinion are powers and/or guidance helpful or do they create a burden?
The guidance is helpful.

9. Would you like to add any general comments about this particular duty?
Local government allotment provision has functioned well and at very little expense for many years.
The benefits to the public are difficult to measure, but must be substantial, and reach beyond allotment
holders and their families to the community at large...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Your chance to have your say - local council allotment provision

Our local council allotments officer has drawn our attention to the following, which should be of interest to all.

The duty of local councils to provide allotments is included in an ongoing government review of 'burdens' on local authorities.

 Please follow the below link to see details of this "review of statutory duties placed on local government":
Allotments are only mentioned at line 137 of the first spreadsheet, so this item takes some finding.

The review is under consultation until next Monday, April 25th and responses are invited from the general public as well as from councillors and council staff.

If you'd like to register your views, follow the link on the right of the web page to the  'Statutory duties webform'.  It's quite quick and simple to complete.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Bean Poles, Fence Posts & Bamboo Canes

Various structural support solutions are now available at the Allotment Association's shop on Scarcroft

Come on down to take a look.

Silver Birch Bean Poles: £9 for 15 poles

These 8' Silver Birch poles (pictured above and below right) are cut from sustainably managed woods in the Vale of York.
The uneven texture of the poles gives the plants a better grip than imported bamboo cane.
A bundle of fifteen poles will make a sturdy frame with seven uprights each side and one crosspiece.
Properly stored they will give you several years' service.

Fence posts: £2 each, 5' 6" x 2"

Sturdy fence posts are also available at the bargain price of only £2 each, pictured to the right resting amongst the bean poles, and modelled below by the glamourous hut assistant, George.

Bamboo Canes: Various lengths available

See attached photo, always available in the Association Shop.

Seed Potatoes: Now only 50 pence per Kilo!

Seed Potatoes at just 50 pence per kilo, now available at the Allotment Association's shop on Scarcroft  Assorted varieties available, come down to the shop to take advantage of this special offer before they are all snapped up.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Meet our new PCSO

Keith Hall PCSO 5457

Meet Keith Hall, one of our new police and community support officers.  His colleague is John Iemboli, not pictured here.  Scarcroft and Hospital Field allotment sites are part of their new patch, they are members of the Safer Neighbourhood Team.  Do say hello when you see them around, they are often to be seen on foot or on their bikes.
Remember, if you have any problems on the allotments - vandalism, criminal damage, trespass or rough sleeping (if rough sleepers present a problem for you) please let the police and the allotment association know.  If you witness a crime in progress ring 999, if you want to report a crime that is not happening at that moment please ring 0845 60 60 24 7.  The police may not be able to do anything about these non immediate crimes, unless there are witnesses, but telling them about what crime is happening on the plots with as much detail as possible about what, when and where, helps them build up a picture of the key times and areas and allows them to adjust their patrolling patterns accordingly.  And sometimes they will be able to act, as rumour has it that they were able to lift finger prints off one Scarcroft Allotment plot holder's smashed up greenhouse last year and were able to link the prints to an individual who was subsequently arrested.

Additionally, if you want to report crimes to the association, either do so by coming into the allotment shop or by emailing us on our usual email address If the committee knows how extensive crime is on the plots, they are able to put pressure on various groups to make reducing crime on the plots a priority.

You can make a difference to the level of crime on our plots by doing the following:
  • don't leave any valuables in your sheds or hidden on your plots
  • mark any tools you do leave on your plot so that they are less easy to sell on
  • don't leave petrol on your plot as it can be used to set fire to sheds
  • don't leave weedkiller on your plots as it can be used to vandalise other plots
  • either leave your sheds and greenhouses unlocked or lock them with a very sturdy lock
  • get to know your neighbours and challenge people you don't recognise (if you feel safe to do so).  Remember most paths on the sites are not public rights or way so people are trespassing if they are not going to visit a plot.
  • always take your phone with you when you go to your plot so you can call the police if you see vandalism in action or call a friend to come an join you if you feel threatened
  • make friends with your local dog walkers as they can be our eyes and ears early in the morning and later in the evening when fewer plot holders are around
  • display the 'there are no valuables in this shed' sign on your shed - these are available free from the allotment shop
  • visit your plot regularly so, if you are the victim of a crime you are able to give more accurate information as to when it happened
Here's hoping for a crime free season.

Monday, 11 April 2011

York University - Approaches to Growing

York University's Catherine Heinemeyer (BSc MSc) is running an urban horticulture course starting Monday 18 April.  Their website describes the course content as follows.

Cities may appear to be unlikely and sometimes hostile environments for food growing, yet traditional societies have overcome equally adverse conditions (water scarcity, soil erosion, extremes of temperature). We will look for inspiration and strategies from a variety of sources: creative ‘closed-loop’ solutions from traditional agriculture; modern technological approaches; gardening philosophies and movements from conventional, to organic, to permaculture. Students will learn basic gardening principles to assess the constraints and potential of sites for growing, and use these as the basis of sustainable ‘closed-loop’ garden design. We apply these lessons also to cities in general – how the urban food cycle could become more productive by tapping the resources available. The module will make use of visits and guest speakers, and end with a project in which students investigate the potential of currently underused compostable resources in York.

Term: Summer
Day: Monday
Start Date: 18 April 2011
Time: 7-9pm
No. of weeks: 11
Full fee: £107.00

More information and Enrolment details can be found at:
Or you can contact the Courses Administrator, Helen Briggs, using the following details:
Centre for Lifelong Learning
University of York
Tel: 01904 328473

Sunday, 3 April 2011

National Trust Gardeners' Question Time Event‏

The National Trust are holding an event at Treasurer's House which I am sure will be of interest to our members.

Gardeners' Question Time and Tea will be held at at Treasurer's House, Minster Yard, York (YO1 7JL), on 4th May from 12pm - 2pm.

It will feature an afternoon with a National Trust Gardener who will be able to answer your questions and give you hints and tips, whether you have a window box or an allotment plot.

Beginners are welcome too!

After question time enjoy a delicious gardener’s tea in the tearoom.

Cost: £12

Booking: Booking essential, call 01904 624247 or e-mail

NGS Gardens Open For Charity - 8th May

As part of the National Gardens Scheme's Gardens Open for Charity programme of events, John Plant's garden in Skewsby will be open to the public on Sunday 8th May 2011.

Admission will be £3.50 (children free) and there will be plants for sale.

All monies raised are for the National Gardens Scheme charities.

If you cannot make it along on this occasion, it will also be open on Sunday 24th July 2011.