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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  14th March 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services

 

Allotment Strategy: 2012 - 2017

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek Cabinet agreement of the draft Vale of Glamorgan Allotment Strategy, 2012 to 2017.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet agree the draft Strategy.

2.             That all relevant stakeholders are now consulted on the Strategy.

3.             That this report is referred to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee.

4.             That Cabinet agree that a sum of £10k be made available, from the Visible Services Asset Renewal Budget for 2012 / 2013, to assist in funding the improvement works detailed with the Strategy.

5.             That on conclusion of a 2 month consultation period, a further report be provided to Cabinet advising of the consultation responses and proposing agreement of the final Strategy document.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure Cabinet agreement of the Strategy in draft.

2.             To obtain the views of all stakeholders on the draft document.

3.             To obtain the views of the relevant Scrutiny Committee.

4.             To fund improvement elements of the Strategy.

5.             To agree the consultation input and the final version of the Strategy.

Background

2.             The demand for allotment spaces within the Vale of Glamorgan is increasing and the purpose of this Strategy is to provide the necessary direction and guidance to enable the future supply of allotments to more accurately match demand.

3.             The Strategy also seeks to ensure improvements in the quality of provision and increased community involvement and control.  The draft Strategy document is attached at Appendix A.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The Strategy has been produced to consider all sources of allotment provision within the Vale of Glamorgan.  The issue of insufficient allotment space will not be solved by this Council alone and this is recognised within the Strategy.

5.             The Strategy utilises data from the 'Open Space Background Paper', from the Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011 - 2026.  This document was produced in November 2011, and therefore some of the data may have changed.  However, due to the increasing demand for allotments, if anything, it is suggested that the position as regards overall waiting list numbers could be worse (the report details 875 residents on various waiting lists).

6.             The Strategy compares allotment provision against 4 different National Standards, with 3 out of 4 of these standards, suggesting an under provision in the Vale.

7.             The Strategy also compares the Vale of Glamorgan's position against our neighbour in Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC).  Whilst there is an excess of provision in BCBC against a greater number of the standards, the proportion of overall allotment space directly provided by the Vale of Glamorgan is greater than BCBC.  In addition, BCBC sites are all managed by local allotment Associations, where the majority of Vale sites are managed directly by the Council.

8.             The Strategy looks at income and costs and suggests measures to work towards a break even position from the current deficit, it also promotes an increased use of grants or private funding in allotment provision in the future.

9.             The Strategy links to the Council's Corporate Plan and Community Strategy and shares the same vision as these documents.  The specific aims of the Strategy are:

·               To provide a cohesive framework for the actions necessary to increase and improve allotment provision over the next 5 years.

·               To better engage and empower individual plot holders and other sectors in the future provision and management of allotments and to make a positive contribution towards sustainability and the well being of communities.

10.        The Strategy features 9 inter-related objectives as follows:

·               To ensure that all Vale of Glamorgan Council allotments are managed and maintained so as to achieve maximum plot occupancy and quality;

·               To assess both the current and latent demands for allotments throughout the Vale area for the next 5 years;

·               To work with Community and Town Councils in addition to the private and voluntary sectors in meeting future allotment demand;

·               To facilitate and encourage improved local management and control arrangements for allotments;

·               To hold a central database of all allotment provision and waiting lists for all sectors;

·               To give consideration to the provision of allotments as amenity space on all new residential developments, where such a demand exists;

·               To reduce the future revenue costs of Vale of Glamorgan Council allotments;

·               To reduce the environmental impact of allotment sites by promoting sustainable growing methods and working practices;

·               To promote a healthier lifestyle by utilising allotment gardening as a method of addressing certain forms of ill health.

11.        Achievement of these objectives is supported by an Action Plan which features 19 distinct actions, most of which are to be completed within 12 months.

12.        A further report will be provided to Cabinet on conclusion of the consultation process for the final Strategy to be agreed.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

13.        The revenue costs of the Strategy will be met from existing Parks and Grounds Maintenance budgets as this mostly involves officer time.

14.        It is proposed that Cabinet agree to the use of £10k from the Visible Services Asset Renewal Fund for the 2012 / 2013 period, towards the costs of the service improvements suggested within the Strategy.

15.        Additionally part of the Strategy work involves a review of costs and income and the aim of this work is to reduce the financial burden of allotments during the 2012 / 2013 period.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        The legal framework for the provision of allotments is set out within the draft Strategy at Appendix A but there are no legal implications arising out of the formulation of an Allotment Strategy in itself.

17.        The draft Strategy will be subject to extensive consultation and specific areas of work arising out of the draft Strategy may require legal support in relation to, for example, providing new allotment space, tenancy agreements, management agreements, removing land from statutory allotment use etc.

Crime and Disorder Implications

18.        The site security for allotments is an important consideration that will be addressed via the Strategy.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.        An equality impact assessment will be required as part of the consultation process on the draft document.

Corporate/Service Objectives

20.        The Strategy links to the Corporate Priorities; "working with partners to develop a sustainable community which maximises opportunities for economic growth, social improvement and environmental regeneration and protection" and "managing the Council's workforce, money, information and assets efficiently, effectively and securely".

Policy Framework and Budget

21.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

22.        As the report is Vale wide no specific ward Member consultation has been undertaken.

23.        It is proposed that the Strategy now be subject to consultation via the following stakeholder groups:

·               Allotment Holders

·               Town and Community Councils

·               Countryside Council for Wales

·               Local Health Board

·               National Farmers Union

·               Private allotment operators in the area

·               All residents currently on allotment waiting lists

24.        In addition, it is proposed that the document be made available via the website for all Vale residents to provide comments.  It is hoped that this will allow residents who do not currently benefit from an allotment to also have an input into the Strategy.

25.        It is proposed that the consultation process lasts for a period of 2 months and that it be primarily web based, to keep costs to a minimum

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.        Economy and Environmental Regeneration

Background Papers

Growing in the Community - Second Edition

Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan: 2011 - 2026

Bridgend County Borough Council Allotment Strategy: 2010 - 2021

 

Contact Officer

Miles Punter, Head of Visible Services

Tel: 02920 673 101

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Planning and Transportation

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Group Estates Officer

Accountant, Visible and Building Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick, Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration

 

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