Strategic Asset Management

Community Growing Policy

The Community Growing Policy was adopted by the Isle of Wight Council in September 2014. It aims to give not for-profit community organisations access to council land for community growing projects. The policy defines community growing as the production of vegetables, herbs and fruit.

The purpose of the Community Growing Policy is to give access to the community to suitable land for the production of fresh produce. This does not include village greens, common land, cemeteries, development land or land considered unsuitable by the council. It is recognised that there may be competing ‘uses’ for land, for example, for habitat creating and promotion of biodiversity, and the process for approving community growing schemes  will ensure that areas used for community growing do not have a more suitable use. Land will be available at a pepper corn rent.

Improving the Island’s self-sufficiency in local food production (i.e. local food) is considered to be a key element of the council’s approach to improving the overall sustainability of the Island because:- 

  • it increases local resilience to food shortages or interruptions to food supply;
  • it reduces food miles;
  • it provides opportunities for jobs and economic growth;
  • it improves health (nutrition and exercise) and wellbeing;
  • it can help addresses poverty.

The Policy will ensure that land is made available for community growing schemes in accordance with specified criteria which are provided in the Community Growing Policy (PDF, 88.53KB, 3 pages). In short, the policy will ensure that:

  • land will only be available to groups, not individuals;
  • produce may be sold, but groups must be not-for-profit organisations which are capable of entering into a proper legal arrangement for the land;
  • parcels of land will be available for up to 25 years, with a five year break clause;
  • a peppercorn rent will be charged, with recovery of the council’s legal costs;
  • land nominated for community growing schemes must not have a well-established recreational use;
  • projects must support habitat creation and biodiversity and be compliant with the Bee Policy;
  • the land may only be used by the group having the agreement with the council for the purposes of the community growing scheme.