Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Draft Food Growing Strategy

Consider report by Chief Officer Roads (copy attached).


10.1     There had been circulated a report by the Executive Director Finance & Regulatory introducing Scottish Borders Council’s first ever Food Growing Strategy – ‘Cultivating Communities’ and seeking approval for consultation on the Draft Strategy.  The report also set out the process and next steps in delivering the Strategy Action Plan, as well as associated changes to Allotment management, including new Allotment Regulations, as required by the legislation. The Food Growing Strategy supported the Locality Plans for the region and was itself supported with the proposed creation of new policy EP17 in the Local Development Plan. Chief Officer Roads, Jason Hedley, presented the report and provided further information by way of a slide presentation. He explained that Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 updated and simplified allotments legislation, bringing it together in a single instrument, introducing new duties on local authorities to increase transparency on the actions taken to provide allotments in their area and limit waiting times.  Allotments were defined in Part 9 as land that was owned or leased by a local authority and used wholly or mainly for the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers and not for profit.  A key requirement of the Legislation was for every local authority to develop a Food Growing Strategy under section 119 of the Act.  Each authority must set out in its food-growing strategy how it would provide land to meet demand for food growing as allotments or other forms of cultivation of vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers for community or individual growing.  Stakeholders such as Community Planning Partners, local 3rd sector organisations, Allotment Associations/Societies and Community growing project managers had been consulted with through a series of meetings, gaining insight into current growing activities and needs for future capacity building. A 12 week public consultation ran from 24 July to 16 October 2019 and was promoted to all Community Councils, In Bloom groups, 3rd sector organisations, publicly via a press release (30 July) and via website and social media.  It had a good response, with 300 respondents.  A summary of the consultation was included as an appendix to the Strategy.  The Allotment Regulations were subject to a statutory 1 month consultation, upon approval by the Executive. 


10.2     The report referred to COVID-19 which had transformed the way we lived our lives. It was felt that the Food Growing Strategy could contribute positively to the lives of our communities during the COVID-19 era.  The Strategy had been amended to include advice around working safely in communities to prevent any spread of infection. Following the consultation, the Strategy had been developed based on the information gathered.  The aim of this Strategy was to support and facilitate anyone who wanted to get growing, through existing growing opportunities and new approaches. As well as supporting and facilitating self-deployment of individuals and community groups to get growing, the Strategy set out the Council’s commitments through the Action Plan, which was detailed in the report.  The Draft Food Growing Strategy, Proposed Allotment Regulations and the consultation feedback summary were included as appendices to the report and proposals for resourcing the project were set out in the body of the report. Members expressed their enthusiastic support for the food growing strategy and congratulated officers for the extensive work carried out in its preparation. They noted the significant number of responses to the first consultation and recognised that there was a considerable demand in the Scottish Borders for shared accessible spaces and support for residents to grow their own vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers.



AGREED to approve:-


(a)        the Draft Food Growing Strategy for consultation;


(b)       the proposals for resourcing as set out in section 9.1 of the report; and


(a)          the proposed statutory consultation on the new Allotment Regulations. 


Supporting documents:



Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


For more Contact Details