Camden gardener waited 18 years for an allotment

18 YEAR wait for an allotment: Gardener in Camden was awarded plot after 6690 days with London borough topping the list of longest waiting times in UK, figures show

  • Over 100,000 Britons are waiting for a plot, as demand rises over 200 percent
  • Most sluggish average waiting times are in Camden, East Lothian and Islington
  • Nottingham has the most aspiring hoe-holders, with a list of 6845 hopefuls 

A gardener was left tapping their green fingers for an extraordinary 6690 days in Camden before finally getting their plot, making them the longest-waiting applicant in the UK, figures have revealed. 

The London borough tops the list of the longest wait for an individual to finally get their hands on their own slice of land after making an application, followed by Richmond, Derbyshire Dales and Edinburgh.

And the figures show that Camden also comes out on top on current average waiting times at 17 years and six months, followed by East Lothian, 15 years, Islington, 13 years, Richmond upon Thames, 11 years, and Rochdale, 10 years. 

On average across the whole of the UK, an individual will be waiting two years and eight months for an allotment, data from a Freedom of Information request shows. 

Currently more than 100,000 people in the UK are waiting for an allotment.

The longest time waited for an allotment was 6690 days by a gardener in Camden, followed by 6314 days (Richmond upon Thames) and 5475 days (Derbyshire Dales)

Interest in allotments has spiked during lockdown, with one council reporting a 233 percent increase in the size of their waiting list

 Across the UK, over 100,000 people are waiting for an allotment. Nottingham tops the country for aspiring allotment owners, with 6690 on their list currently

The research, carried out by MyJobQuote, come from a Freedom of Information survey of 302 local authorities. 

In Richmond upon Thames, a gardener waited 6314 days before getting their shovel in – during which time the UK changed prime ministers four times and the English football team competed in nine international tournaments. 

In Derbyshire Dales, an aspiring soil-turner – who received their allotment this year – waited 5475 days, or 15 years.

And in Edinburgh, an applicant sat on the waiting list for 5173 days, or 14 years, before finally getting a patch. 

Nottingham City Council said their waiting list comes in at 6845 names, making it the longest in the country. 

Southampton (with 4820 hopefuls), Edinburgh (4259) and Newham (4071) come in second, third and fourth with giant backlogs of aspiring gardeners.

However, some councils have more plots and higher turnover of patch-holders, meaning a longer waiting list does not always translate into longer waiting times.

Demand for patches has ‘massively inflated’ during the Covid pandemic.

West Northamptonshire Council said its waiting list had ballooned from nine people per site to 30, a 233 percent increase. 

Britons prefer to have an allotment than a sports car, a survey has found. Asked to choose the ‘top goals’ in life, it was among the three most popular

Over 100,000 Britons are on a waiting list for an allotment. Tending a vegetable patch is no longer the reserve of the retired gentleman, with demand soaring by over 200 percent during lockdown in one part of the country

‘We have found that owning a garden allotment is a lifetime commitment, with ill health and moving out of the area being the main reasons for letting them go’, said a spokesperson for Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. 

They continued: ‘It has become more and more popular in recent years as a thing to help people relax and help with their mental health and has become especially so during the pandemic with a lot more enquiries.’ 

Aside from the mental health benefits, research suggests Britons are increasingly attracted to allotment-ownership as a way of ‘being green’ and escaping the trappings of an excessively consumerist lifestyle. 

A study by green energy firm Bulb found eco-conscious Britons would prefer to own an allotment than a sports car.

The result, from a poll of 2,000 adults, echoes the 1970s sitcom The Good Life, starring Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal as Tom and Barbara Good, who give up the rat race to grow their own food and become self-sufficient. 

The study found Brits top three goals in life were using renewable energy, picked by 25 per cent; lowering carbon footprint (also 25 per cent); and having an allotment (24 per cent). Buying a sports car came in at number 13, chosen by just six per cent. 

Meanwhile, almost two thirds – 64 per cent – of council allotments in London are now occupied by women, according to a study by Dr Tilly Collins and Ellen Fletcher, of Imperial College London.

They surveyed a sample of 24,883 plots over 682 sites in the capital and found that 63.7 per cent of holders are women. The average age was found to be 57 with men typically older than women.   

Dr Collins said that traditional allotments have really ‘moved on’ and become a ‘very different kind of space’ where women want to relax and be self-sufficient.

She said: ‘These green spaces are now known to be so good for people’s physical and mental health. Whether they are digging on their allotment or not, just relaxing there makes them feel so much better. And I think women are taking allotments on with their children and grandchildren in mind to give them an understanding of food production.”

Diane Appleyard, of the National Allotment Society, said: ‘Looking at councils’ allotment strategy reports… it would appear there are now at least as many, if not more, women on sites. Life has changed. When it was predominantly men on sites, domestic roles were relatively defined. Now men probably have less time because they are doing more domestically.

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