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8.6 Parks and Green Space Strategy (2009) In the Parks and Green Space Strategy, allotments are noted as a way of providing opportunities for those people who wish to grow their own produce as part of the long-term promotion of sustainability, health and social inclusion. Additionally, they are recognised as promoting healthy eating, recreation, exercise and links with education.
8.7 Consultation – Assessing Local Need Consultation undertaken as part of the study identified a general satisfaction with the allotment provision in the district. However, a few issues were identified as part of the residents survey. Problems identified include vandalism, litter and the misuse of sites. Points made as part of the Needs
Assessment are as follows:
• Over 90% of people surveyed, either in the street or using the household survey, do not use allotments;
• over a third of those who responded to the surveys had no opinion regarding the quantity of allotments, but of those that did the majority thought there was about enough (24% householder survey, 41% onstreet survey);
• provision of allotment land was felt to be adequate for most though in the West Inner and the North West Outer areas there were ‘not enough’ and more allotment spaces were needed;
• over 40% of the population surveyed ‘didn’t know’ about the quality of allotments and of those that did, the majority were satisfied;
• most people expect to walk to an allotment site;
• stakeholders identified the need to increase provision and distribution to meet the waiting list and highlighted an insufficient supply in the East, North West and North of the district;
• the majority of council workers feel that there is ‘not enough’ (39%) or ‘nearly enough’ (39%) allotments regarding the quantity and that the quality is ‘average’ (28%).
8.14 Plan 8.1 shows a wide distribution of sites across the urban area and obvious gaps in the rural North, Wetherby and central Leeds.
8.15 54 of the sites have a waiting list ranging from 2 to 100 people. The areas with the highest demand on the waiting list are North West Inner, North West Outer and North East Inner. These three areas make up 49% of the demand for the whole district. 52% of allotment sites within these areas have a waiting
list. The five sites with the largest waiting lists are:
• Roundhay Allotment gardens, North East Inner (waiting list of 100);
• Parkside Road Allotments, North East Inner (waiting list of 72);
• Burley Model Allotment, North West Inner (waiting list of 69);
• Hollin Lane Allotments, North West Inner (waiting list of 62);
• Firthfields Allotments, East Outer (waiting list of 54).
8.16 The five most popular sites listed above contribute to approximately a quarter of the district wide waiting list. In the North East Inner area, the waiting lists for Roundhay Allotment Gardens and Parkside Road account for almost 75% of the total number of people waiting for allotments. Since the audit was conducted, Church Lane Allotments in Kirkstall, a previously disused site which had a waiting list of 16, is now operational with a waiting list of 22. The waiting lists and the location of the five most popular sites suggest a localised demand within the North inner areas.
8.17 Between January 2010 and January 2011 the overall council waiting list for allotments increased by 25% (373 names) to 1,841 (1,491 if discounted). On an area basis, the number of people waiting for an allotment site ranged from 3 to 347. The North East Inner area increased to 347, making it the area of largest increase, in excess of 100 names and the highest demand of all areas.
Demand fell in East Outer, North East Outer, North West Inner, and South Inner. District wide, 76 allotment sites had waiting lists, ranging from 1 to 100.
The site with the highest waiting list (100) remained as Roundhay in North East Inner analysis area.
8.18 Given most allotments are the same size (approximately 250 m²) once the total area of a disused site is known an estimate can be provided of how many allotment plots it could accommodate (this figure should be reduced by 10% to take into account supporting facilities such as paths, highways, toilets etc). This would equate to 36 full plots per hectare. Using this figure if all the disused sites were brought into use the majority of analysis areas would still be oversubscribed, as the waiting list outnumbers the potential new plots.
The only area where the potential plots is greater than the waiting list is East Outer. Unfortunately, as can be seen from Plan 8.1, the disused site is in the Micklefield area to the East, a considerable distance from the sites that have waiting lists. The North East Outer area has no disused sites but has a waiting list of 26 in Boston Spa.
8.19 Plan 8.2 shows that the areas with the largest waiting lists (all with a waiting list above 200) are concentrated together in the north and north west of the district. The lowest levels of demand (with waiting lists below 100) are in North East Outer, East Inner and the South Inner areas.
8.20 The application of the local quantity standard for each area is set out in Table
8.2 below. The table illustrates the application of the standard against the current provision, and the likely implications of each of the three projected growth scenarios.
Table 8.2 Provision of Allotments in Use per 1,000 Population based on the Three Population Growth Scenarios
8.21 The table shows three scenarios based on different population growth. It demonstrates that future provision of allotments available to the public would reduce, reaching as low as 0.14 hectares per 1,000 population, if the city experiences very high population growth. It should be noted that these scenarios are applied to only those identified allotment sites that are currently in use, and take no account of the existing waiting lists or disused sites.
Setting the Standard Quantity
8.22 It is recommended that the quantity standard for allotments should be derived from the local needs assessment and existing provision. Current provision was viewed as “about right” from the residents surveyed. However, the allotment demand is currently 1,183 (discounted) people on waiting lists for sites, and the potential number of full plots available are 396, which leaves an outstanding demand for 787 plots assuming the disused sites could be returned to use.
8.23 The majority of demand from the waiting lists are for sites in the North West Outer, North West Inner/Outer and the North East Inner areas with the latter having only 7 potential plots and 232 (discounted to 198) interested people already on the waiting list.
8.24 Whilst Leeds currently has no quantity standard for allotments, current city wide provision is at a level of 0.17 hectares of allotment land (in use) per 1,000 population or 0.19 hectares when also including disused sites, has a waiting list of 1,183 (discounted) and an unknown latent demand. As a minimum, the latent demand should be calculated using a projected increase of 11%. This is based on the amount of extra land required to satisfy the 2010 waiting list in the East Outer analysis area. This area requires the lowest proportional increase (11%) to its existing amount of in use allotment land increase to satisfy demand arising from the names on the waiting list.
This is the lowest proportional increase of all the analysis areas and is in addition to demand identified on the waiting lists.
Existing level of provision = 0.19 Hectare per 1,000 population Proposed level of provision = 0.24 Hectare per 1,000 population
8.25 The recommended local quantity standard is 0.24 hectares of allotment land per 1,000 population. As shown in table 8.2, East Outer and South Outer areas meet the recommended quantity standard of 0.24 hectares per 1,000 population at present. However, without an increase in provision, none of the areas will meet this standard by 2026 when compared to the three growth scenarios.
Current Provision Quality
8.27 All the points above were assessed in the site audit, with marks being given for categories including good and safe access, litter and waste management, and grounds maintenance. When auditing allotment sites the provision of particular facilities were considered as beneficial, including an information sign containing the name of the site and a contact number, the quality of paths and boundaries between the plots and building or infrastructure maintenance (this included water supply and communal structures).
8.28 Table 8.3 below presents the results of the quality assessment for allotment sites in use. It is expected that these are better maintained and kept to a higher standard than those that are currently disused. Disused allotment sites are often overgrown and require substantial improvements to facilitate further allotment use. The disused allotment sites scored on average 3.24 out of 10 and were considered to be of poor quality. The score ranged from 0 for St Barts Allotments to 5.5 for Club Lane Allotments. Over two thirds of disused allotment sites score less than 4 (considered to be of a poor or very poor standard).
Table 8.3 Quality of Allotments in Use by Analysis Areas
8.29 As shown in table 8.3 above, all areas scored an average of less than 6 with the average Leeds score being 5.10. In total, 11% of sites (15 out of 128) scored over 7 and are considered a good standard, over half ( 59%) scored more than 5. It would be reasonable to expect deliverable improvements to improve the majority of sites to a score of 7 or above.
8.30 As demonstrated in table 8.3, East Inner and East Outer score 3.73 and 4.78 respectively with North West Inner scoring 4.79. These are the only areas that possess an average score below 5. The highest area average score is North East Inner with a score of 5.87.
Setting the Standard – Quality
8.31 The Green Flag award is assessed in two key ways, firstly by reviewing a site management plan, and secondly a field assessment based primarily on observation during a site visit. Each category is given a score out of 10, with a maximum of 30 points for the desk assessment and 70 points for the field assessment. To achieve the standard a minimum of 15 on the desk assessment and 42 on the field assessment is needed, however, an award can only be given if the overall score is greater than 65. The council’s Parks and Countryside Service operate a rolling programme of assessing 150 of the city’s most popular parks and green spaces against an amended Green Flag standard. This exercise is known as Leeds Quality Parks (LQP) and assesses 50 sites every year, or 150 sites over 3 years.
8.32 In assessing sites for LQP, the Green Flag desk assessment is not carried out as most sites do not have a management plan. Thus, only the field based assessment is conducted, and as explained above, the score required to reach the standard is in effect 48. On average, each category must, therefore, achieve 7 out of 10 to reach the standard, although there is no minimum score for each category.
8.33 As the PPG17 audit considered on-site quality using a field based assessment, the proposal is that the Green Flag quality standard, for the field assessment, is extended to all allotment sites. To account for the absence of the desk assessment and retain the disproportionate Green Flag emphasis on an overall pass mark, it is proposed to set the quality standard at 7 out of 10, or 70%. This is consistent with the council’s existing LQP standard.
Existing Quality average is 5.55 Proposed Quality Standard is 7 out of 10 (70%)
8.34 The overall perception of allotment sites within the study is average or good.
The audit scores also reflect this and based on the current scores most sites are achieving or would be able to achieve a 7 with a few improvements.
8.35 The needs assessment surveys identify that most people expect to walk to allotments and on average most people would expect to walk 15 or 20 minutes to an allotment site.
8.36 60% of Leeds households live within 720 metres (15 minute walk time) of an allotment site currently in use and larger than 0.2 hectares. The only analysis area significantly below this level of access is North East Outer area with only 32.23% of households within 720 metres of an allotment site. The average distance to an allotment site is 766 metres.
8.37 Plan 8.3 identifies areas of Leeds which are further than 15 minutes from an in use allotment site. These areas include Middleton, central Leeds, Cookridge, and Wetherby, reinforcing the areas of deficit identified in the quantity analysis.
Setting the Standard - Accessibility
8.38 Accessibility is important to all allotment sites to maximise the number the potential users. The survey found that the majority of people expect to walk between 10 (480 metres) and 15 minutes (720 metres) to an allotment site.
The average distance to an allotment site is 766 metres.
Recommended Accessibility Standard
8.39 The recommended local accessibility standard for allotments is a 15 minute walk time.
8.40 The application of the recommended quantity, quality and accessibility standards is essential to understand the existing distribution of allotments and identify areas of deficiency. Whilst it is important to consider the application of each standard in isolation, in reality they should be considered in the context of other green space typologies.
8.41 The application of the local quantity standard for each area is set out in Table
8.4. The table illustrates the application of the standard against the current provision, and the likely implications of three projected growth scenarios. The figures represent the difference in hectares between the area of land required to meet the standard and the current provision.
Table 8.4 Application of Quantity Standard for Allotments to show Deficits and Surplus by Analysis Areas