Allotments guidance for local authorities: consultation

Consultation on draft statutory guidance for local authorities relating to certain sections of Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 - Allotments.

11. Scope – What type of land should be included?

11.1 Local authorities must ensure that they take a balanced and considered approach when considering what greenspace, both existing and planned, could be used as growing space.

11.2 There are many different forms of food growing spaces that local authorities should include in their strategies, from the traditional to the innovative. Local authorities should incorporate as many appropriate forms of growing sites, and types of growing, as their local areas allow. Examples of these are shown in the table below:

Types of growing Growing sites
  • Allotments;
  • Orchards;
  • Community growing spaces;
  • Edible hedgerows;
  • Hydroponics/ aquaponics;
  • Green walls and roofs
  • Planters or containers in hard-landscaped areas;
  • Suitable 'street corner' space;
  • Landshare or gardenshare schemes;
  • Appropriate spaces for green roofs / green walls;
  • Growing spaces in schools, hospitals and other public areas;
  • Community establishments with open areas;
  • Unused or underused areas of land;
  • Vacant, derelict or brownfield land, considering alternative growing methods where decontamination is not feasible;
  • Non public sector land suitable for leasing (or purchase) from a private landowner;
  • Land which is due to undergo future development and may be suitable for "meanwhile use";
  • Places for beehives;
  • Indoor growing.

11.3 Further forms of growing space and types of growing are set out in greenspace scotland's Community Growing Matrix [59] .

11.4 Local authorities may, if they consider it appropriate to their local area, consider other food-growing locations such as in local residents' homes or care homes with large private gardens. For example an agreement brokered whereby a person grows produce in a neighbour's private garden, in exchange for a share of the produce grown, may satisfy that person's growing space needs, resulting in them voluntarily removing their name from the authority's allotments waiting list. Organisations such as Edinburgh Garden Partners [60] facilitate such arrangements in their local area.

Identification of land audit

11.5 Local authorities should carry out an audit of land, both to identify all existing growing areas, and to identify new land which will be suitable for growing. Such an audit to identify growing land must however be balanced with other greenspace land requirements.

11.6 New land identified which will be suitable for growing can be any appropriate land – local authority owned land, other publicly owned land, or privately owned land that the authority could lease (or purchase).

11.7 Excluding private gardens, there are a total of 119,299 hectares [61] of greenspace in urban Scotland. Nationally, there are approximately 33,000 hectares of land in local authority ownership, a further 856,000 hectares [62] of land in public ownership, and 2,478 hectares [63] of vacant and urban derelict land in public ownership. Local authorities should consider assessing the suitability of appropriate areas of such land for community growing, in addition to identifying suitable areas of privately owned land which could be leased (or purchased) for growing.

11.8 The Open Space Audit will identify land currently used for growing. When looking for other land which will satisfy future demand for growing space for allotments and other community growing space, a variety of methods should be used, such as:

  • Analysis of datasets such as the OS MasterMap Greenspace [64] ;
  • Vacant/derelict/brownfield land mapping, and whether identified sites could be used as growing spaces;
  • Other local open spaces, e.g. schools, hospitals, and other community establishments with open spaces;
  • Public workshops/consultation to identify current and potential future growing sites;
  • Temporary or "meanwhile use" of land due to undergo future development, such as the temporary use of land as an allotment site at the Grove, Edinburgh; [65]
  • Options for leasing (or purchasing) land from local private landowners;
  • The local development plan which will identify new residential land releases and developments which may be suitable to incorporate growing space.

11.9 When identifying new areas of land suitable for growing, local authorities must also be satisfied that there is a current demand, or that there will be a future demand, for food-growing land in that area for it to be deemed suitable land.

11.10 Local authorities should consider all options for land and other type of growing space when considering what land may be suitable, from the traditional types of growing land to the more innovative approaches such as green walls or hydroponics; from large spaces to suitable 'street corner' growing space.

11.11 The outcome of the Open Space Audit, detailing existing growing space should be mapped or otherwise recorded. Authorities should also map planned future growing space, such as within future housing developments.

11.12 In addition to mapping existing and future growing space, local authorities should also assess and map current demand for growing space – both allotment site demand and other growing space demand. Engaging with community gardens and their volunteers will help to identify current demand, in addition to demand identified via waiting lists. When considering demand, authorities should also map where future demand for food-growing space is likely to be, such as where new housing development sites are being planned, particularly those developments which will provide little or no garden space to residents.

11.13 Local authorities should also consider any existing 'unofficial' sites there may be in their local area. The history of Granton Community Gardeners [66] , Edinburgh, is an example of how an initially 'unofficial' site flourished and continues to grow and benefit the local community. Authorities may identify and consider appropriate action, for example if the unofficial site is on local authority land, adopt and include such sites within their list of local authority allotment sites. This may also assist the authority to increase their allotment or growing space land. If the community group who have been managing the 'unofficial' site wish to request delegation of certain functions of site management, this should be considered in the usual way, in accordance with section 123 of the Act.

11.14 If it is appropriate, a local authority may wish to consult a neighbouring authority and work across boundaries if there is suitable land available in a different region which would help to satisfy current or future identified demand for allotments and other community growing spaces.

11.15 Local authorities may also wish to consider how to engage with schools to not only raise the profile and highlight the benefits of growing in schools, but to identify possible growing areas within school grounds.

Question 23 Are paragraphs 11.1 to 11.15 of the FGS statutory guidance clear and understandable, to allow the local authority to deliver its statutory obligations under Part 9?


If no, i.e. you consider that the guidance is not clear and understandable, please tell us why you think this, and how it needs to be improved. Please include the relevant paragraph numbers in your response.

Question 23 comments:

Question 24 Are there any gaps or omissions in paragraphs 11.1 to 11.15 of the FGS statutory guidance?


If yes, i.e. you consider that there are gaps or omissions, please tell us what you think is missing. If appropriate, please include the relevant paragraph numbers in your response.

Question 24 comments:


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