Thursday 7 March 2024

Finding An Allotment

The question that comes up on a regular basis on Allotment Facebook groups relate to waiting lists or people asking advice on how to find an allotment site and plot near to where they live.

 As with many article produced on, I’ve produced this so that I can offer advice very simply by linking to this article when I see the question ask on a forum yet again.

The first thing to do is to check with your local town, parish, borough council or local authority. These days you don’t get to talk to a human with a brain, it’s normally a call centre who will pass on your request, and you might if you are lucky get a return call and an answer in two to three days.

These days, as with everything else in life, the message while you are waiting will inform you that you can find the information on line somewhere and tell you where to look.

The other way to find out where to look if you’re not sure who is responsible for allotments near to where you live is to visit Apply for an allotment - GOV.UK (


Enter your post code into the field (I entered mine) , hit the find button and then you will be presented with a screen similar to this on for your area showing who they have matched your post code with. 

 Click on the Go to......hyperlink button and you will get to the information you are after

Above is an example using my post code to establish who the local authority is.

If you know who is responsible for allotment in your area in my case London Borough of Sutton, visited their web site and done a search for “allotments” you will find a page similar to the one above.

Which ever way you got to the web page, you should find information about how many sites there are in your area, a map showing where they are located. Information about the rents charged, an application form or directions where to download an application from.

Lots of Local Authorities have now out sourced the management of their allotments and the contact details should be given. In some areas they have encouraged committees and plot holders to become self managed and you may have to contact the committee on a plot directly. 

Regarding waiting lists, the council or the managing agents may or may not be able to tell you what the current waiting list is. In the London Borough of Sutton the council have not got the time or resources to publish this information and to be truthful its only ever a snap shot in time. 

I volunteered to collate and publish the information on behalf of Sutton Council and their agents idverde and below is an example:-

Things to consider when selecting an allotment is the number of plots and how many people there are on the waiting list. 

For example Pylbrook Triangle only has two plots and has 9 people waiting for a plot to become free, whereas Duke Street has 23 plots and only one person on the waiting list. It's not rocket science to work out which waiting list is going to move faster.

Another thing to consider is that in the London Borough of Sutton one plot holder could put their name down for 3 allotments and until recently when the software was re written if they got a plot on one of their choices their names were not removed from the other two until they got to the top of the list were offered and then informed the managing company that they already have a plot on another site. 

The number or people wanting an allotment dramatically increased during the pandemic as it was considered a safe place you could go and people had a lot of time on their hands. During that year our waiting list went up by a factor of 4. Many of these people as they get to the top of the waiting list and are offered to view, no longer want a plot. So don't be discouraged if the waiting lists look large. 

Thankfully in Sutton now the allotment software has been updated and idverde who run Suttons and Merton's allotment has an allotment officer who is on the ball and the amount of vacant plots have dramatically reduced and the turnaround from becoming vacant to being re let is a couple of months not years as it once was.  

If your council or local authority has an extremely long waiting list look for other allotment options in the area. Organisations such as the Church of England and National Trust sometimes provide allotments, as do private landlords, so find your local allotment society or gardening community group to find out what else is available in your area.

Another way of locating allotment is to use The National Allotment Society - Allotment name Sourcing Tool 

Select the Accept Button 

The default area is Birmingham for some reason but use your wheel on your mouse to zoom out and then click and drag to where in the country you want to look at. 

I zoomed out and then click and dragged until I could see the area of country I was interested in then 

Zoomed in closer to see a reduced area of interest 

Until finally zooming into the two allotment sites I have had plots on, Unfortunately at the moment this GIS (graphical Information System) only has the name of the allotment and no other details about who is responsible for it. It does however help you locate allotment plots around you. 

If you deselect the Allotment Polygons radio button and select Missing Allotments you will find red dots that indicate the the Ordinance Survey know there is an allotment site there but don't know what it's called. Thus it will be up to you to investigate and find out what its called and who runs it 

Rent an allotment privately -

If you can't find a plot in your area another option is to find a spare garden locally. 

AllotMe is a garden rental service hailed as the 'AirBnB of gardens' that lets people with large gardens rent out sections as allotments, although the service is still quite new so it may be a struggle to find something in your area. 

If going down this route read any terms and conditions carefully – you don't want to put in months of hard work only to be evicted before you even get the chance to enjoy your product. The prices range from FREE to amounts of money per month that would just not make it viable. 

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