Author Archives: Stuart Bourne

Ex gardener, now a stay at home father. Joined in December to fight for liberal progressive values - @stueybourne

We need to be talking about allotments more

They may not be sexy or glamorous, and they may rarely come up on the doorstep when talking to residents. Yet since the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, the demand of allotments has skyrocketed, and we as a party need to start talking about them more.

Allotments have the potential to do so much to help some of the important issues facing our country. Growing our own fresh food dramatically reduces food miles and the carbon footprint of supermarkets. Studies have indicated that allotment sites vastly increase biodiversity, showing that they can increase insect populations by 70%.

Also, with our nation facing a health and cost-of-living crisis, what better way is there to resolve this with more people exercising on their allotments growing cheap healthy food? Allotment sites are a great catalyst for bringing communities together. Whatever your ethnicity, country of birth or age, I’ve seen them talking and chatting together, side by side as they work their plots. It’s getting to the point where I have trouble finding an issue that can’t be helped by having more allotments.

I undertook some research and talked to allotment holders in my local town of Medway, to see what the current state of the application process was, and the results were not great. In just the last 4 years, the waiting list has tripled. From 695 applicants in 2018, it has grown to 2009 in 2022, tripling in four years. The average waiting time for a person is now 2.5 years, and one person has waited 5 years. Speaking to allotment wardens, they say even though they have sped up the process of identifying disused plots and getting them to new tenants, the demand just keeps growing.

In 1971 the government introduced a recommended number of plots per household and councils still use this as benchmark today. It recommends 15 full sized plots per 1000 households. In Medway we have just 9 plots per 1000 households, so clearly Medway needs more allotment sites.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 9 Comments

A House of Specialists – A New House of Lords

House of Lords reform has been a cornerstone liberal democrat policy since I can remember and has been a hot topic in the country for the last year. Whether it’s the issues of unelected hereditary peers, promoting political cronies, or the many expense scandals. All parties now agree that if you had to design a second house today, you wouldn’t choose the one we have now. So if you could design the second house from scratch, what would it look like? Well, I’m going to have some fun and describe how I think it should be —my own House of …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 24 Comments
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