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Allotment Popularity Continues To Rise

RachelDewis iStockphoto 157532338
  • Allotment popularity continues to rise, with search demand increasing by 12% in the past 12 months
  • South Tyneside Borough Council revealed as having the most allotment plots per 100,000 people
  • Stockport Borough Council has the cheapest average plot costs in England (excluding London)
  • Tom Armenante, director at GTSE.co.uk discusses the findings revealed by analysing FOI request responses from 36 Metropolitan Borough Councils

New research has revealed huge differences in allotment availability and costs in England’s Metropolitan Council areas. With Council run plots varying by up to 1,015 in number and the average costs ranging between just £17 and £382!

With search demand around “allotments” increasing by 12% in the past year, GTSE.co.uk conducted research to take a closer look. The DIY brand used FOI requests to compare data from 36 Metropolitan City Council areas in England (excluding London Boroughs due to high land value and population densities).

Tom Armenante, director at GTSE cable ties said,

“Our research has found that there are huge differences in availability and costs surrounding renting allotments in England. However, there are multiple factors at play here with each council managing their city’s allotments differently. Some are council run, whilst others are completely independent. Some plots are larger in size and others have higher costs due to water access and the amount of work required to maintain.

Despite this though, it’s clear that demand is high and that location really does play a role in how much residents might end up paying and how long they might be waiting to start their allotment journey. It really is a postcode lottery.”

Councils with the most Council run plots per 100,000 people

Two South Yorkshire cities were revealed to be amongst the highest number of plots per 100,000 people, coming second and third in the research. Barnsley and Sheffield were revealed to have 785 and 675 plots per 100,000 people respectively.

South Tyneside Borough Council had the most at 1,015, topping the table. The borough was joined in the top five list with fellow Tyne and Wear Councils, North Tyneside and Sunderland.

Metropolitan Council

County

Population

Number of plots (Council run)

Number of plots per 100,000 people (Council run)

South Tyneside Borough Council

Tyne and Wear

147,800

1,500

1,015

Barnsley Borough Council

South Yorkshire

244,600

1,920

785

Sheffield City Council

South Yorkshire

556,500

3,754

675

North Tyneside Borough Council

Tyne and Wear

209,000

1,308

626

Sunderland City Council

Tyne and Wear

274,200

1,685

615

Councils with the most plots per 100,000 people (Council run and Independents combined)

South Tyneside also topped the table when looking at both Council run and independently run allotments. North Tyneside climbed the table when independents were added to the total, taking them from 4th to 2nd place, with 993 allotment plots per 100,000 people. Swapping places with Barnsley Borough Council. Doncaster entered the top 5 in 3rd place, whilst its South Yorkshire neighbour Sheffield, dropped down to 15th.

Metropolitan Council

Metropolitan county

Population

Total number of combined plots

Total number of combined plots per 100,000 people

South Tyneside Borough Council

Tyne and Wear

147,800

1500

1015

North Tyneside Borough Council

Tyne and Wear

209,000

2076

993

Doncaster Borough Council

South Yorkshire

308,100

2554

829

Barnsley Borough Council

South Yorkshire

244,600

1920

785

Sunderland City Council

Tyne and Wear

274,200

2035

742

Councils with the least and most expensive average plot cost

Plot costs vary hugely from one location to another based on many factors. The most expensive Council on our list was Rochdale with the average cost to the nearest GBP being £382. Whereas, in Stockport, tenants are paying on average just £17! This could be down to the average plot size and amenities however, what this does show is that locals could be priced out in Rochdale. Especially with 15 sites in Rochdale currently being so busy that even the waitlists are closed. Our research found that a total of 9 Councils (25%) had one or more closed waitlists and only 14 (39%) had plots immediately available.

Least expensive average plot cost

Metropolitan Council

Metropolitan county

Average cost of a plot (to nearest £)

Stockport Borough Council

Greater Manchester

£17

Kirklees Borough Council

West Yorkshire

£21

Wakefield City Council

West Yorkshire

£26

Sunderland City Council

Tyne and Wear

£33

Dudley Borough Council

West Midlands

£36

Most expensive average plot cost

Metropolitan Council

Metropolitan county

Average cost of a plot (to nearest £)

Rochdale Borough Council

Greater Manchester

£382

St Helens Borough Council

Merseyside

£259

Bury Borough Council

Greater Manchester

£223

Sefton Borough Council

Merseyside

£164

Tameside Borough Council

Greater Manchester

£126

Our research shows that the barriers to accessing allotment plots in England are extremely location dependent. 56% of allotments offer some form of discounts for tenants which will certainly help to give more equal opportunity. Discounts for over 65s are as high as 50% in areas such as Tameside and over 60s in Liverpool for example.

Whilst there are many benefits to having an allotment, the maintenance requires commitment and hard work. Tome suggests starting with a small plot to grow your skills, or even making a small space in the garden (should you have one) to test whether it is the right decision for you. Read more on our blog about ways to use cable ties to better utilise the space in your allotment.

Source : GTSE.co.uk

Image : Rachel Dewis / iStockphoto.com (157532338)

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11 August 2023

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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