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Brighton and Hove has second longest waiting list for allotments in country
Nearly 2,000 people are on a waiting list for an allotment in the city - the second worst record in the country.
One wannabe plot-holder among the 1,927 on the list has been waiting since January 1999 for his green dream.
John Clarke, who has just given up his allotment in Brighton, said: “Little is being done to combat the long waiting lists, and no one is taking responsibility.
“When I got my plot in 1984 there was no waiting list - I got my allotment on the same day as asked for it.”
Brighton and Hove Allotment Holders group told The Argus the waiting list had grown because having a plot had become “fashionable”.
In a statement, it said: “I believe this came about due to the amount of TV programmes apparently showing how easy it is to create a beautiful plot with lots of produce growing in every nook and cranny.
“What isn't shown is the endless days and weeks and months of digging a plot which has three foot high grass brambles to be cleared first.”
No new sites were opened in 2011 and 2012 due to the lack of space.
Brighton and Hove City Council said it was cutting plots in half to reduce the waiting time, among other measures.
Councillor Lizzie Deane, deputy leader of the council, said: “We are increasing the supply of allotments by dividing full-size plots when they become available, which makes them more manageable so less space is abandoned or wasted.
“It's a difficult issue because space is so limited in the city and demand is high.
“But we are opening a new site later in the year and we are also asking developers to include food-growing areas in new housing schemes.
“This is a really pioneering move which recently won a national planning award.
“We are currently working on an allotments strategy, together with the Allotment Federation and other partners such as Harvest, which will be ready by the end of the year.
“It will be a joint approach to meet demand and manage allotments better.
“Plot holders, those on the waiting lists and residents will be surveyed for their views.”
Gary Johnson, of the Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation, said: “The BHAF are aware that there are long waiting lists and are currently working together with the council to check how accurate the waiting list is and reduce the waiting time.”
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