However, auctions of local authority land and the default yes to development threaten to put an unbearable squeeze on suitable land in and around cities, towns and villages throughout England.
While 70 per cent of people would say ‘yes please’ to community growing spaces in new housing developments according to YouGov research commissioned by the National Trust, the planning changes published by Ministers in July undermine local wishes with a presumption which favours business interests above all else.
These changes could undermine the ‘grow your own’ revolution that has been unfolding over the last few years, and could dash the hopes of many of the 87,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists throughout the country.
The warning came as the National Trust celebrated the early completion of its challenge to create 1,000 new growing spaces on its land, with many of the plots now available on Landshare – the online community that matches growers with landowners.
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said:
‘It is a bittersweet day. We’re delighted to complete our pledge to create 1,000 new allotment plots six months ahead of schedule, but we’re equally dismayed that the planning changes may undo a lot of this good work.’
‘We strongly welcome attempts to engage local communities in the planning process – but to undermine these efforts with a planning framework that favours development for short term financial profit is fundamentally misguided.’
‘The only voice that communities are being given is the voice to say yes to development. What communities really want may go out of the window in the face of a default yes.’
Have your say on this story using the comment section below