The Council's advice for new tenants

What you need to know as soon as you get a plot

By Matt Hewes (Access Manager)

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Council's advice for new tenants' page

Welcome to your new allotment. The following information has been compiled as an introduction to the allotments service and allotment rules in order to give you the best possible start on your allotment. We have abridged some of the main rules that will especially apply to new tenants. The council have recently undertaken a major rule review and new rules will be posted out to all tenants for summer 2010.

Site representatives:  Each site has a site representative who acts as a representative for allotment tenants and keeps an eye on the condition of each site.  Site reps should be informed of any serious issues, and can feed back issues to the council.    Find your site rep.

What should I be doing straight away?

Clearing your site: If you inherit waste on your plot then you have one month to gather waste at the edge of your nearest haulage way and arrange clearance. Please do not block paths with waste or include any organic material such as weed roots or timber – weeds are best composted and timber can be stacked until winter when it can be burnt. You can ring in clearance requests to the allotments team on 01273 292929 or by emailing allotments@brighton-hove.gov.uk.  You will need to provide your name, allotment site and plot number.

Plot numbering: You must number your plot in some way – ideally a bold number on your shed on fence which is clearly viewable from the path. A painted number is fine but it must be clearly visible and the number given to you in your welcome pack.

Get off to a quick start and pass the three month probationary period: New tenants are given three months to prove that they are keen growers. After three months new tenants who have not made acceptable progress can have their tenancy terminated. Ideally we would expect tenants to be cultivating 50% of the plot area at this point in time. Please don’t spend your first three months building a shed and fences as opposed to growing.

Cultivation: You will be given a year to clear your plot and reach an acceptable level of cultivation.  You will need to have cultivated a minimum of 75% of your allotment area by this time. The cultivated area includes essential access paths, compost bins, glass houses and poly tunnels as well as crop and ornamental growing areas, but not lawn and not fruit trees planted in lawn. You are allowed 25% of your allotment for shed / lawn / leisure area.

Sheds and structures : The maximum size for any one shed is 2 metres wide x 3 metres long and are included in the 25% of the plot for non cultivation. Please ensure you have achieved a decent level of cultivation before beginning on shed building.

Mulching: you may cover some of your growing area with water permeable woven weed suppressing mat such as Mypex. Such materials are an excellent way preparing soil for cultivation as they kill off weeds and allow the soil to breathe. Carpet is not acceptable as a soil covering on beds or paths; any carpet found on allotments will result in a notice.

Other rules you need to react to from day one

Polluting materials and the bringing on site of only crop related materials: Allotment rules allow tenants to only bring on site materials that are related to crop production. Excessive materials invariably become material which pollutes allotments and can become hazardous.  Tenants bringing on site any polluting materials such as scrap metal, painted timber, tyres, carpet or glass bottles will be put on notice and the same applies for tenants burning materials that can cause pollution.

Trees and large shrubs: Any plants that grow to over 2 metres tall (including bamboos, Eucalyptus, fast growing willow, and conifers) are in breach of site rules.  It you want to plant fruit trees then they must be grafted on dwarfing root stocks to reduce tree size. Fruit trees should be planted within the 25% area given over to non cultivated land unless you are growing crops around the base of trees.

Wildlife and conservation: Many allotments are situated within areas of Special Nature Conservation Interest and as such we ask tenants to avoid using inorganic chemicals where possible. We also ask that clearance work and bonfires are undertaken with care and in accordance with your site rules.

Contact details: In an ideal world everyone would give us an email address, home address, home number and mobile number. Email is especially useful for day to day communications such as informing tenants of events, inspections and such like. It is essential that you keep us informed of your mail address as if you do not pay your bill due to our having an incorrect address then you risk tenancy termination. It is your responsibility to ensure your contact details are updated, ideally by emailing allotments@brighton-hove.gov.uk  or by calling the allotments team on 01273292929.

Notices and termination: You can be put on notice for breach of any site rules identified in the most recent 2010 rule review.  If the issues generated within notices are not dealt with in the period given in the notice and the tenant fails re-inspection then the tenancy will be terminated. The full rules will be posted to tenants in Summer 2010 but can also be read here.

Keep us informed: The council is always happy to take account of tenant’s personal circumstances when making any following up inspections. If you have mitigating circumstances such as poor health then you should let your site representative know, ideally prior to any inspections.  You should also inform the council. Most importantly please react to any notice by either referring to the rules so that you are no longer in breach or by informing us of any mitigating circumstances, as once a notice has been issued and a re-inspection failed your tenancy will be terminated. 

Any other questions? We have developed a range of answers to tenants most Frequently Asked Questions .

This page was added by Melanie Matthews on 09/05/2010.