Back in 2003 our allotment site was a mess.
The allotment bug hadn't bitten and infected the country. People who kept allotments were seen as weird and to be honest it wasn't something you brought up in conversation. Fruit and vegetables came from supermarkets, were clean and of regimental shape and size.
Our site was in danger of being lost and our plot was surrounded by a sea (rough high sea at that) of weeds.
We spent as much time keeping the weeds back from encroaching on our plot as we did gardening. When we were gardening we were hidden from view - no-one would have known we were there. Existing plot holders took on extra plots to try and safeguard the site's future. The council positively encouraged this and would have been delighted if someone had decided to take on all the vacant plots.
Around 2007 interest in allotments began to grow and some plot holders decided to publicise the fact that there were vacant plots on the site. They popped posters in local shop windows and dropped leaflets through doors. This had a positive affect and gradually more plots were taken. It was still a work in progress but we were getting there.
As allotment popularity grew our site developed a waiting list and soon all the plots were taken and the site was thriving. The site secretary managed the waiting list and vacant plots were allocated promptly. If a plot became too overgrown a few plot holders who owned strimmers strimmed down the weeds.
Recently for various reasons several plot holders have decided to quit allotmenting and so several plots have become vacant. Now the council manages the waiting list (if there is one) and for some reason the plots have been standing idle for a while. I know our plot neighbour gave up their plot in February. They had kept their plot in pristine condition and we commented that anyone being allocated this plot would have really fallen on their feet. The photo below was taken last year.
However, this plot as well as several others is still waiting for a new tenant.
Ours plots once again are surrounded - this time on three sides by plots that are full of nothing but weeds.
Time is running out for new tenants to make full use of these plots during this growing season.
I don't know why these plots are not allocated and just hope it isn't the case that we are going backwards as we head into the future.