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GR3  The Protection of Allotments  Policy

Where allotments within the urban area, not listed under Proposal GR2, become surplus to requirements, appropriate development will be permitted unless:

(i) the site would have significant potential to meet a shortfall in the network of accessible public open space; or

(ii) the site would have significant potential to meet a shortfall in land available for sports pitches.

In these circumstances the Local Planning Authority will require that an appropriate area of land is retained for open air recreation.

Reasoned justification :

8.18 Wirral has approximately 52 hectares of land given over to allotments. This is just below the level suggested by the Thorpe Committee of 0.2 hectares for every thousand people.

8.19 In practice, the viability of allotments is closely related to the level of local demand, ground conditions, the adequacy of on-site facilities and security considerations. Where these all militate against the site there is little sense in seeking to perpetuate its use. However, a good allotment site, where local demand can be demonstrated and ground conditions can be proved to be good should normally merit protection.

8.20 Most allotment sites have statutory protection under legislation outside the Town and Country Planning Acts and all but 7 hectares are classed as statutory or permanent allotments. This effectively ensures that they continue in use. Statutory allotments cannot be lost without the consent of the Secretary of State for the Environment and unless plot holders can be re-accommodated on another statutory allotment site.

8.21 Allotments do not provide accessible public open space in the fullest sense because of their restricted access and so are not automatically protected under Proposal GR2. Nevertheless, when no longer required as allotments, they offer potential to alleviate shortfalls in the network of accessible public open space and in the supply of land for sports pitches, especially where other available open land is limited. In such circumstances the Local Planning Authority will be concerned to ensure that their potential contribution as public open space is fully taken into account, before allowing their release for other uses.