Two hundred new food-growing plots planned for Southwark

1 April 2021

Southwark Council is giving green-fingered residents the chance to create new community gardening and food growing spaces with the launch of its Allotment Expansion Guarantee on 1 April 2021. This new initiative will empower residents to create their own community gardening spaces on council land.

The council’s Community Gardening Coordinators will support groups of residents to set up new growing spaces on council-owned land across the borough, where there is local support and suitable growing sites available. Southwark hopes to create over 200 new growing plots under this initiative by next spring.

Ian Zanardelli, a resident who enjoys access to a community growing space at the Rockingham Estate, said “Having access to a community allotment transforms your relationship with where you live. It gives you an opportunity to meet your neighbours and allows you to get in touch with nature. I would struggle to live a healthy, well-balanced inner-city life without it.”

Each new community growing site will be run by a local group, which will be responsible for maintaining the space, allocating plots and supporting individual plot holders.

Where new sites are being developed, there will be a consultation with local people who will have the opportunity to apply for a growing plot. The rental costs of each plot will be decided by the residents’ group managing it.

Councillor Stephanie Cryan, Cabinet Member for Council Housing, said “I’m thrilled to launch this new initiative which will help to meet the enormous demand for food-growing plots in the borough. Gardening has huge benefits for physical and mental well-being and I’m delighted to be giving Southwark residents the opportunity to grow their own food and nurture a love of outdoor spaces.”

Southwark already has many thriving food-growing initiatives on council estates, including allotment plots, community orchards and herb gardens. These sites are managed independently by voluntary organisations.

Southwark’s current formal allotments all have a specific planning status. The new growing plots set up under the Allotment Expansion Guarantee will be informal allotments regulated by the council’s housing department.

The Allotment Expansion Guarantee forms part of Southwark Council’s Great Estates programme, which guarantees that every council estate is clean, safe and cared for and gives residents the tools to garden and improve their estates.

Page last updated: 01 April 2021