Negotiating with your neighbours

My own allotment site was in our local newspaper last week. An article that detailed how the waiting list for allotments has been closed, because there are too many people on it already, but many plots (nearby tenants say) that are supposedly in cultivation are actually abandoned and unkempt. The argument is twofold:

1 – people who want allotments can’t get them because others who aren’t using them have blocked their access

2 – untidy and weed covered allotments make work harder for neighbouring plot holders who have to remove seeded weeds that blow or creep over the boundaries.

There is another side to this though; it’s not always easy to find allotment time – for example I haven’t actually got down to my site for nearly a week, which is daft at this time of year, but work and other commitments have just got in the way! Extra work or losing your job, illness, pregnancy, the dog having puppies or whatever … almost anything can derail the plans of even the most determined allotmenteer – especially if that allotment holder is relying on public transport, because even a twisted ankle can really put a spanner in the ‘travelling to the allotment’ works. So, if an allotment holder continues to pay the rent, the local council will tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, and quite often, after a few months of difficulty, the allotment holder will be able to return to their plot, and to the healthy exercise, satisfaction and nutritional rewards of growing their own.

So when a plot looks like this, and the neighbours get annoyed, there’s a complicated negotiation to be gone through between the allotment holder, the allotment officer, and the local council, to try and get things on the optimum course … and sometimes it takes longer than anybody expected (a bit like gardening really!)

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, August 23, 2007


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