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Petition for More Allotments

To Cambridge City Council:
We the undersigned, being registered parliamentary electors in Cambridge City and/or liable for council tax in Cambridge City, respectfully request that you fulfil your statutory duty to make available suitable and sufficient allotments to meet the needs of the residents of Cambridge.

Allotments provide a wide range of benefits to the community and the environment. They combine physical activity with social interaction, learning and skills, recycling and the production of food which is healthy, fresh and local. They contribute directly to the sustainability and biodiversity of our city.

The current supply of allotments is insufficient. Hundreds of people are waiting for an allotment plot in Cambridge, and the waiting lists are lengthening. Some people are put off from applying because they expect a long wait. Others travel some distance, often by car, to an allotment because no plots are available near their home. Meanwhile, dense housing development is bringing new residents who, lacking garden space suitable for growing food, are more likely to desire an allotment than residents of older houses.

We welcome the planned provision of new allotments in Cambridge’s urban extensions. However the area of new allotment land for the new residents has been calculated based on existing provision, not on demand, so it is also likely to be insufficient. We note that this new provision is not intended to address demand from existing residents.

We therefore believe that there is an increasing and unmet demand for allotments in Cambridge. We note that if an allotment authority is of the opinion that there is such a demand, it is required under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 to provide a sufficient number of allotments and to let them to persons residing in its area who want them.

280 Cambridge residents signed at the first Cambridge Food and Garden Festival in September 2008.

The petition is now closed with the signatures of 715 Cambridge residents.

We submitted the petition for validation on 24th November 2008 and formally presented it to the full Cambridge City Council on 4th December. We argued that there is strong demand for more allotments already, that the upwards trend was likely to continue, and that providing more plots would help the city meet its carbon reduction targets and improve our food security. A motion calling for sufficient allotments was debated by councillors and passed by 38 votes for, and 0 against.

This is the petition presented to Cambridge City Council on 24th November.

Total valid signatures: 715

Latest update: 09/01/09