Below is a list of frequently asked questions for plot holders and people considering getting an allotment. Also, you can check out the welcome guide given to all new plot holders.
Can tenants choose the size of the plot they take on?Yes, depending on what is available when the offer of a plot is made. Most beginners start with smaller plots and apply for a larger plot at a later date once they are sure of the commitment involved. Plots are let in multiples of 1 perch (25 sq m/30¼ sq yds)Site Representatives should discuss available plot sizes with prospective tenants and new tenants should be made aware that they cannot take on a large plot and work only part of it.
Plot sizes – A large plot is around 250 square metres (10 perch)
– A number of large plots (10 perch) have been split into two smaller plots,
each around 125 square metres (5 perch)
– No plot, unless it is a raised bed, should be smaller than 75sq m (3 perch)Most beginners start with smaller plots and apply for a larger plot at a later date once they are sure of the commitment involved. The size of plot is up to you in consultation with the Site Representative and depending on the plots available when you visit. You should be able to carry out 1 hour of work per perch per week as a guide to the commitment needed
8.2 Plot sizes
· A large plot is approximately 250 square metres (10 perch)
· A 10 perch plot will need a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week
· A 5 perch plot will need a minimum commitment of 5 hours per week
· No plot should be smaller than 75sq m (3 perch) as the area is not large enough for crop rotation
When do I have to pay rent?If you take on the allotment plot between 2 February and 1 December in the same year, the full year’s rent is due. If you take on the allotment plot between 2 December and 1 February the following year you will be sent an invoice in December for the allotment year which starts on 2 February the following year.
How much will it cost?Depends on the size of the plot. Allotment plots vary in size and are let in multiples of 25sqm known as a “perch”, a full size plot is 250m² (10 perch).
I’ve had to give up my plot, will I get a refund?Depends on how long the tenancy has been running. If you have paid the full rent for the allotment year and have given up after 6 months, you will get a refund for the remaining 6 months, in all other cases there are no refunds issued.
Are sheds, greenhouses or polytunnels allowed?If you want to install anything on the allotment plot prior permission in writing is required before any structure is erected. A Structure application form should be completed and submitted via your Site Representative. The Structure application form is provided at Appendix 5.Structures must not exceed the following sizes:· The total area of all structures on the plot should not exceed 30% of the total plot area
· Shed – no larger than 1.9m x 1.4m (6ft 6”x 4ft 6”) in area – (2.2metres (7’ 6”) height at apex) – maximum of 1 shed
· Greenhouse, coldframe, fruit cage or polytunnel – no larger than 3.2m x 2.4m (10ftx8ft) or 30% of the plot in area (2.2metres (7’ 6”) height at apex) – maximum of 1 greenhouse, coldframe, fruit cage or polytunnelOn Locally Managed site, before approving any structures, the Site Representative should ensure that it will not cause nuisance to adjoining plots or adjoining landowners.
On all allotment sites, the plotholder should be advised that they are responsible for insuring their own property.Any requests for structures that exceed the above measurements should be passed to the Allotments Officer. No structures should be erected before consent is given and it should be made clear that consent may not be given in every situation.Permission for the erection of structures will be subject to the following conditions:
· All tenant provided structures must be temporary – that is, they must not have permanent foundations and must not be built of bricks, blocks or concrete.
· No structure may be more than 2.2metres (7’ 6”) high.
· If local planning conditions are in force, tenants must also apply for planning consent and should be advised that permission may not be granted.
· Structures must not occupy more than one third of the whole plot area
· Existing structures that fall outside of the above criteria must be removed at the end of the tenancy.
Can tenants fence their allotment plot?No. As a general rule, fencing of allotment plots is not permitted. However, the Council recognises that some sites have problems with mice and rabbits and will permit the installation of this type of fencing as long as:
· Permission has been granted by the Council
· The fencing is less 1 metre high
· The fencing is installed within the boundaries of the plot and must not obstruct pathways
· The fencing does not present a hazard to other users. Site Representatives need to make sure tenants discuss their proposals to install rabbit fencing prior to installation. If there are any difficulties the Site Representative should raise the issue with the Council.Any fencing higher than 1m must be reduced to 1m, tenants should discuss any difficulties with the Site Representative in the first instance who can then discuss any specific requests with the Council.
Can tenants have more than one plot?When demand for allotment plots is high tenants can only take on one plot. However, they can ask to go on the waiting list if they want to swap from a small plot to a larger plot and the waiting list and letting procedures are followed.
If demand reduces, additional plots may allocated with the following criteria taken into account:
· Tenants wishing to have an additional plot must put their name on the Council’s waiting list.
· When existing tenants are at the top of the list, they may be offered another plot provided that their total holding does not exceed 250sq m (10 perch) and they Existing tenants with more than 250sq m (10 perch) may retain their current holdings for the time being, but this may be subject to review in the future.
Can tenants use vacant plots?No. Tenants cannot remove property or crops from plots that appear abandoned, there may be reasons why a plot appears to be uncultivated and any removal of property or crops will be considered theft and your Tenancy Agreement will terminate immediately and without notice.
Can tenants swap plots with family/friends?No. Transferring tenancies is not allowed, but if another family member or friend wants to help out, make sure their details are put on the waiting list and a joint tenancy can be set up.
Can tenants share plots with family/friends?Yes. If you want to share a plot with family/friends this would be set up as a joint tenancy where more than one person is named on the tenancy agreement form. A joint tenancy can only be put in place if both persons are on the waiting list when a plot is offered.
What is a joint tenancy?A plot may be held by more than one tenant, the first named tenant is the person responsible paying the bill and for receiving all correspondence.
A joint tenancy may be set up when the plot is let.
A sole tenancy can be changed to a joint tenancy as long as the request has been recorded on the Council’s waiting list and the existing tenant agrees. If the. request is approved, a new tenancy form will be completed for the joint tenants to sign.
What do I do if I’ve lost my key to the gateSpeak to your Site Representative who can organise a replacement. You will have to pay a deposit for any keys that are issued, the deposit will be returned when you hand back the key at the end of the allotment tenancy.
Can I burn woody material?No. Fires on allotments are a breach of your tenancy agreement and The Environmental Protection Act 1990. A bonfire night event on or near 5th November will be tolerated as long as the event is organised by the Site Association and the Council has been notified before the event at least 8 weeks before the event is planned to take place. Any burning that takes place at any other time of year is a breach of the tenancy agreement.
Can tenants keep bees on their plot?Yes, but subject to consent and specific sites and plots only. Any request to keep bees must be made in writing. The Council will check whether there are any objections from either plotholders or neighbouring houses/properties. If there are objections, permission will not be granted. The Council will also take account of any impact on existing pollinator populations in the area near the allotment site.
If permission is given, the Council will confirm this in writing and it will be subject to the following conditions:
· Hives should be positioned on the approved plot at the agreed location only
· Every effort shall be made to minimise the risk of people being stung
· The tenant shall provide evidence that they have attended a recognised training course and obtained a formal recognised beekeeping qualification before installing the hives
· The tenant shall have valid current insurance in case of injury claims
· The tenant shall ensure that the hives are inspected by a recognised beekeeping organisation at least once a year.
Can tenants keep chickens on their plot?Yes, but subject to consent and specific sites and plots only. You should contact Parks Services in writing with your request and you will be advised whether your plot and allotment site are considered appropriate for keeping chickens.
If the site is considered suitable the Council will carry out consultation to find out whether there are any objections from plotholders or neighbouring houses/properties. If there are objections, permission will not be granted. You should make your request to Parks Services, in writing and you will need to complete and return an application form. You will be advised whether the allotment site and your plot are considered appropriate for keeping livestock. You will not be reimbursed for any equipment/materials purchased if consent is not given. You must be able to provide evidence of valid insurance and vaccination records.
Can tenants plant trees on their plot?Yes, tenants can plant fruit trees only, subject to the following conditions:· Fruit trees must be maintained so as to not exceed 14ft or 4m in height – a dwarf rooting stock is strongly recommended (M9 or similar)
· Fruit trees must not obstruct pathways and must not cause shading to adjacent plots or neighbouring land.
· A maximum of two fruit trees on a dwarfing rootstock will be permitted on a 250 square metre (10 perch) plot.
· Plots smaller than 125 square metres (5 perch) are not considered suitable for planting fruit trees. Tenants are not permitted to plant broadleaved, conifer or willows either on their allotment plot or on the allotment site.
Are dogs allowed on the allotment site?Yes. Dogs are allowed on the allotment site as long as they remain on your plot. They must not be allowed to roam the site or wander onto or defecate on other plots.
Can children visit the site?Yes. Provided they remain on your plot and are supervised at all times. The allotment site is not a playground. Children may not visit the site without an appropriate adult.
Can I use carpets or tyres for ground-cover or temporary planters?No, carpets or tyres must not be brought onto allotment site, these items will be considered as fly tipping which is a breach of the allotment tenancy agreement. There are many preferable alternative ground covers.
If the Site Representative has approached a tenant and asked them to remove carpets or tyres from their plot and they have refused, tenants should be advised that if they do not remove the carpets or tyres when requested, Parks Services will begin enforcement action to deal with the fly tipping and end the allotment tenancy.
How should pests be dealt with?The Council deals with the following pests on an allotment site:
In the event of pests being identified, the Site Representative should contact the Allotments Officer who will arrange for Pest Control to visit the site.
Please note: Slow worms are not a pest and are an endangered species. Harming slow worms is an offence under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and anyone identified as causing harm could be liable to prosecution.
Wild bee swarms should be reported to the Allotments Officer who will make appropriate arrangements to have the swarm relocated.The Council does not deal with:
Can I use chemicals/pesticides?Yes, but you should follow the manufacturers guidelines and take care not to spray neighbouring plots.
Can I use a hose pipe?No. Using a hose pipe is a breach of the allotment tenancy agreement. Most sites have water troughs or a standpipe for you to fill watering cans. If you have a shed/greenhouse, you should collect rainwater in water butts. Check the site noticeboard which will have details of any upcoming sales of water butts.
What do I do if my crops are vandalised and/or stolen?You should report the theft/damage to the Non Emergency number 101, you should also inform your Site Representative.
What do I do if my property is vandalised and/or stolen?You should report the theft/damage to the Non Emergency number 101, you should also inform your Site Representative. It is your responsibility to insure your own property against loss or damage.
What can I do about nuisance neighbours?Contact your Site Representative, but also let us know via C2C, Tel: (029) 20872087
What can I do about anti social behaviour?You should report this to the Non Emergency number 101, but also let us know via C2C, Tel: (029) 20872087.
What happens if there is an emergency?You should telephone the emergency services but also let us know via C2C, Tel: (029) 20872087 and let the Site Representative know after the emergency has been dealt with.
Do you offer waste disposal/recycling options for plot holders?Yes. If you have green waste, please leave this under the trees on plot 10 and under the trees opposite plot 121. If you have any scrap metal, then please leave this under the trees opposite plot 119B. Check out the allotment map if you’re unsure where these plots are. Any other waste (plastic, glass, timber and carpets MUST be taken home and disposed of the usual way