According to a recent study by development site sourcing specialist, Searchland, England’s allotment space is vast enough to accommodate the construction of over 200,000 new homes, estimated at a market value of £84bn. The analysis reviewed allotment sites across England, the total land covered, and the potential quantity of new homes this land could accommodate, along with their current market values.
Searchland’s research discloses that there are approximately 4,554 allotment sites spread across England. Each of these hosts an average of 39 plots, each occupying around 250 sq m of space. This equates to an estimated total of 44.4m sq m of land occupied by the nation’s allotments.
Considering that the average plot for a new build is approximately 222 sq m, these allotments have the potential to house over 200,007 new homes. Given that the current market rate for a new build averages at £418,519, this suggests a potential market worth of £84bn of new homes if allotment lands were to be utilised.
Interestingly, London emerges as the top location for allotment housing, with 720 allotment sites spread across 7m sq m of land. This could potentially yield 31,622 new homes, with an estimated market value of £18.4bn.
The use of allotment lands could also result in the construction of 12,780 new homes across Tyne and Wear with a market value of £3.8bn, and 11,726 new homes in the West Midlands with a similar market value. Other areas ranking within the top 10 include Greater Manchester, County Durham, West Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Devon and Kent. Despite the East Riding of Yorkshire being home to just four allotment sites, this land could still accommodate the construction of 176 new homes.
Mitchell Fasanya, Co-founder and CEO of Searchland, emphasised the important role of allotments in local communities. He stated, “Allotments can play a vital role in the community, providing an outdoor space for many to socialise who may not otherwise have the chance, particularly in major urban hubs. So we’re certainly not suggesting that the answer to the housing crisis is to cement over the nation’s allotments.”
He continued, highlighting the urgent need for new housing and calling for open discussions, “We do desperately need to build more homes and it’s a conversation we want to ignite, as so far the government has largely neglected to address this burning issue. Utilising allotments is a drastic measure and one we needn’t ever consider should the government stop bending to the pressures of NIMBYism and the subject of building on the green belt to deliver homes on land that is more than fit for purpose.”