Allotment Waiting List
Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation (BHAF) is an independent group of volunteer plot holders whose role is to represent plot holders interests to the Council.
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Brighton and Hove Council have made changes to the allotment waiting list. The changes that have been made were recommended by the 2014 Allotment Strategy process. The strategy was created by Brighton and Hove City Council in consultation with the Brighton & Hove Allotment Federation and The Food Partnership and also with allotment holders in the city.
From page 70 of the Allotment Strategy
Covering the costs of managing the waiting list
Managing the waiting list has a cost attached which currently is included in the general cost of running the service, meaning that the waiting list service is in effect paid for by existing plot holders. The strategy includes recommendations for improving the experience of people on the waiting list, particularly better communication with them, which could further increase the cost.
This strategy recommends to help fund better management of the waiting list a non-refundable waiting list fee (£15) should be introduced. This fee is waived for groups listed below.
Currently you are able to apply for an allotment free of charge if you
· are 60 years of age or over
· are a full-time student
· receive a long-term disability allowance
· get the majority of your income from benefits, such as income support
Some of the improvements have already taken place
Waiting List Lookup.
People on the waiting list are now able to look up their position on the waiting list using the email address they registered with. This is a big improvement for both prospective tenants and the Council’s allotment office as there are a lot of requests for this information, and up till now it had to be pulled out manually, which took time.
A change which was recommended but which has not taken place was that the process of making an application should be automated. Currently every application made online has to be manually input again into the actual waiting list. This is obviously very time consuming and has lead (during Covid restrictions) to a large backlog of applications.
Inaccurate Waiting List Issues.
During the strategy, we investigated what was then a very high waiting list. We found out that we were unable to contact a large percentage of the people on the waiting list. Nearly half the people on the list were unobtainable or no longer wanted an allotment. It seemed that quite a lot of people signed up for the waiting list on a bit of a whim or had perhaps moved away since signing up. This made it hard for the Council to gauge an accurate figure of those actually waiting for an allotment.
It also meant that the Allotment service perceiving that the waiting list was double it’s actual size attempted to bring in measures restricting all plot holders to only be entitled to a half plot maximum. The Allotment Federation strongly contested this and argued that everyone should have the historic right to a full allotment if they wished. A full size allotment of approx 250 square meters (10 rods) is the historic size of allotment deemed the minimum size required to supply a family with a supply of vegetables all year round. Plot holders should be able to choose either a full plot or a half plot depending on their needs.
A decision was made to charge a small fee to join the waiting list (waived for the certain groups above). Hopefully this will mean that only people who are serious about taking an allotment will now join the list.
Some of the fee will also be used to improve the waiting list system. For a start people are now able to look up their place on the list. There are also other improvements planned. Hopefully soon, Site Reps will also be able to access the data as well, which we hope will mean increased efficiency and a smoother experience for all.