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Want an allotment? Join Brighton and Hove's 2,000-deep queue
Allotment demand is soaring as the wet summer failed to dampen people’s enthusiasm for growing their own.
Brighton and Hove City Council has confirmed there are currently 2,071 people on its waiting list.
Despite setting itself a target of reducing the number of people in line for a plot in the last 12 months, this compares to 1,714 last year – an increase of more than 350.
Some of these have been waiting since January 1999.
The local authority said it was doing everything it could to bring plots into use but admitted there would always be a queue.
Peter Burrows, a site representative at Tenantry Down allotments in Brighton, said: “I’m quite surprised by the fact there are more than 2,000 people waiting, but when you are going down the list to fill vacated plots there are a lot of people on there who do not want one anymore.
“That’s because they have moved or circumstances have changed and do not contact the office to let them know.
“I think there are still a lot of people who do not realise how much is needed to look after an allotment.
“You need to spend at least ten hours a week on it. It’s a lot of hard work.”
The increase comes despite the local authority increasing the number of plots by 116 in the last year.
A council spokeswoman added it was due to open about 40 more plots at sites across the city soon.
Bill Robinson, 37, of Lewes Road, Brighton, said: “I’ve always wanted a plot but I took one look at the waiting time and knew I had no chance.
“It’s just not worth it.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The demand for allotments in Brighton and Hove continues and while we are doing everything we can to ensure that the best use is being made of allotments in the city, there will always be waiting lists.
“Our priority is to make sure that all allotments currently tenanted are being used. If not, they should be released to those who can make good use of the plots.
“There are always some vacant plots as people give up their allotments or have their tenancies terminated.
“These vacant plots are re-let, often after being split into two smaller plots, and the site representatives do a good job in ensuring that they are allocated to people who want them.
“Letting tends to be done in blocks at certain periods during the year.”