Finding Land

Approaching Local Authorities - Top Tips


If you are having trouble finding a suitable site for your community growing group,  or if you have already found a site but are not sure who owns it,  then approaching your local authority is a good starting point as they often control or own disused land.  However, it can be daunting to approach such a big institution and hard to know where to start or even who to ask. The following top tips will help you get started.


Finding Land: Site Features Checklist

Before you can decide whether a site or land agreement is suitable for your group, you need to plan what you will use the land for, both now and in the future. This checklist will help you prepare for your land search and for the agreement with the land owner. Tell the landowner what you expect to build and what you think your requirements will be. Make sure essential items are permitted in the lease.

Site Features Checklist



Buying Land: Community Owned Farms

This document has useful information, based on the experience of Fordhall Community Land Initiative in Shropshire, about buying land, tenancy issues etc

Setting Up And Running A Community Owned Farm



Finding Land: Approach Letter to Landowner

CLAS has created an example letter (see below) which is intended as a draft template to help community growing groups put together an appropriately-worded approach to a landowner about using a site.

Approach Letter to Landowner



News: Government Guide on Space For Food Growing

A new advisory document aimed at inspiring communities to find disused green spaces for food growing, featuring a number of FCFCG-created case studies, has been launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A recent survey revealed that nearly two thirds of adults want to grow their own food. However, it is increasingly difficult as local authority allotments are significantly oversubscribed - with waiting lists over ten times longer than those in 1996.


CLAS Advisory: What Landowners Want From Land Users

Landowners may be more willing to offer land to your group if you can demonstrate that you are able to act on a potential landowner's main needs, aims and concerns.  Finding out what these key needs, aims and concerns are will help you when negotiating with the landowner.  The following Advisory document, written by CLAS, gives more information on this important topic.

What Landowners Want From Land Users



Finding Land: Briefing Sheet For Landseekers

Somerset Community Food, is a grass-roots charity in Somerset which aims to re-connect people with the social, health and environmental effects of growing, buying, preparing and eating local food. It has produced a briefing sheet which gives tips on finding land for food growing.

Briefing Sheet For Landseekers



Leases: Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995

This piece of legislation is important to know about, as it is the basis of tenancy agreements if the land is being used for a business:

Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995



Useful Link: Urban Fringe Food Report

A Making Local Food Work report outlining a range of issues for urban fringe food production. Concerned with commercial scale production but also covers community participation with an excellent section on planning issues and land access.

Urban Fringe Food Report



Useful Link: Community Rights (Localism)

The Community Rights are a set of powers which give people more control over their community, allowing them to have a say in what happens to important local amenities including open spaces, and how the area develops. It also means groups have the chance to deliver local services and develop them into community enterprises. The new Rights are contained within the 2012 Localism Act, devolving power from government to communities, local authorities and individuals. There is information on community right to bid, buy, challenge and on neighbourhood planning.



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© Community Land Advisory Service 2018