A Lot to Lose: London’s disappearing allotments October 2006

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Greater London Authority October 2006


Beyond the clamour of a London street there is a copse of willow, a wooden fence, the giveaway roof of a ramshackle shed. You may have walked past it, or never noticed that it was there at all. Because an allotment is, by its nature, a hidden treasure.

It is a treasure that is fast disappearing. The relentless pressure on land in the capital, the need to build at high densities, and, in some cases, neglect and disuse, mean that allotments are slowly but surely being eroded. A few cases are high profile: the patch of clayey land from which four generations have coaxed a living harvest, fallen victim to the bulldozers of the Olympic development. Others die quietly, starved of attention, labelled an eyesore, abandoned by gardeners who know closure is only a matter of time.

And yet, paradoxically, while sites close across London, demand has never been higher. The unprecedented interest in organic food has led to a renaissance in allotment gardening, particularly among women and young families. Apply in some boroughs and you will find a ten-year waiting list with 400 people ahead of you. Many popular sites have closed their waiting lists altogether. . .


 A Lot to Lose: London’s disappearing allotments_2006

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