Allotment law is quite complicated, but the following short guide should give an overview of those elements concerned with the protection of allotment sites against disposal by local government.
Responsibility for policy and legislation on allotments used to rest with the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, but during 2002 this department was split and Allotments now fall within the remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government
1908 Small Holdings and Allotments Act
Consolidates all previous legislation and laid down basis for subsequent legislation. Duty placed with Local Authorities to provide sufficient allotments according to demand.
1919 Land Settlement Facilities Act
Opened allotments to all, not just the "labouring population"
1922 Allotments Act
Provided allotment tenants with some security of tenure, also limited size and use of allotment plots.
1925 Allotments Act
Established STATUTORY ALLOTMENTS which a local authority could not sell or convert to other purposes without ministerial consent.
1950 Allotments Act.
Included various changes to allotment agreements including, compensation paid to tenants if tenancy terminated, extension of period of notice to quit to 12 months.
Local Government Act 1972
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980
Acquisition of Land Act 1981
All made some changes to allotment law.
But what happens if the local authority want to dispose of the land?
This depends on whether the allotments are designated statutory or temporary.
In Penwortham there are four main allotment sites;
On Liverpool road just before the River Ribble and Fishergate hill. These are owned and managed by Preston City Council
On Leyland road next to Penwortham Holme playing fields and the river. These are owned and run by Preston City Council
On Leyland road behind the Bridge Inn and the Methodist Church, These are owned and run by Penwortham Town Council
On Valley Road behind the Church allotments, these were formed to compensate allotment holders for the loss of plots from the main Liverpool Road site when the Penwortham by pass was built, and they are owned by South Ribble Borough Council
On contacting all the councils involved it is clear that all the allotments are statutory, and so have maximum protection under the law
Effectively this means
In order for the land to be disposed of there must be consent from the relevent member of parliament, at present this is the secretary of state for communities and local government. The Secretary of State will want to be satisfied of certain conditions
The allotment is not necessary or is surplus to requirements. (The issue of vacant and neglected plots)
The council will give displaced plot holders adequate alternative sites, unless this is not necessary or not practicable
The council has taken the number of people on the waiting list into account.
The council has actively promoted and publicised the availability of allotment sites and has consulted the NSALG (the national society for allotments and leisure gardeners)
The council is also expected to consult with plotholders before disposal.