Community Gardens Ireland’s submission on the Planning & Development BillPosted on: 05/03/2023
Help us improve the law on community growing in Ireland
In February 2023, Community Gardens Ireland became aware of upcoming changes in the draft Planning and Development Bill. The draft proposed to do the following:
- Remove the definition of an allotment (note: community gardens were never defined).
- Remove the role of local authorities to reserve land for communities to grow vegetables or fruit.
- Remove the role of local authorities to promote, facilitate or control the provision of land for that use.
We immediately got in contact with all members of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government & Heritage. We also publicised it heavily on social media and within a few days we had been told that it was an omission that the above sections were deleted and that they will be included in the final draft of the bill.
This is good news, however, agreement still needs to be reached on what the new wording will be.
Since then, Community Gardens Ireland have been working on a list of proposals for what we think should be included in the revised bill. We have included the following in our submission:
- Adding the definition of spaces for community growing to be provided by local authorities to include allotments and community gardens (community growing spaces)
- Requiring local authorities to reserve land for community growing and for them to regulate, promote, facilitate, control, record demand and provide access to land within a timely and affordable manner for that use.
- Adding Ministerial approval as a requirement for disposal or change of use of community growing spaces by local authorities.
- Adding role of Minister to make regulations on community growing spaces (e.g. to provide waiting lists, specify that plots should be affordable, and a maximum time by which local authorities must provide land for communities for this purpose).
- Adding requirement for local authorities to prepare regular Local Food Growing Strategies.
We believe this to be in line with best practices throughout Europe and would serve to help communities throughout Ireland set up more allotments & community gardens, along with adding additional protection.
We have also included detailed references for improvements to be made to the wording in the bill which we feel would serve to improve the number of allotments and community gardens in Ireland. These improvements include references to other countries such as Scotland and Wales who have made similar improvements to their community growing laws in recent years, all to the benefit of local communities.
We again need your help to make this happen.
Please contact your TD or Senator and highlight to them how improvements are needed to the planning and development bill and you support Community Gardens Ireland’s submission.
To get in contact with them, check out their contact details here!