Colne Allotments Policy

Reviewed Nov 13th 2013.

1. INTRODUCTION

Since April 2009 Colne Town Council have administered the allotments in Colne that belong to Pendle Borough Council. In 2012 the Council acquired a 20 year lease on the Carry Lane allotments.

Colne Town Council formed an Allotments Committee which has delegated powers from the full council to look after the allotments. There are 17 sites across Colne with 123 plots.

The Allotments Committee has produced an Allotment Policy to establish a policy framework for the management and administration of its allotments within Colne.

Colne Town Council recognises allotments as an important asset. There is a complex network of legislation relating to allotment administration, which is governed by statute and case law. The legal framework that has developed since 1908 has established a model for the administrative process. It is essential that as the allotment authority, the Council is aware of its duties and observes precedents that have been set.

The legislation which directly affects allotment administration are known collectively as the Allotment Acts and will be referred to throughout this Policy.

 

2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The aims of the Policy are:

To confirm the Council’s commitment to the provision of land for the use of gardening, and the growing of vegetables.

To develop and implement an effective management and administration process in relation to allotments.

To improve tenant satisfaction and participation in the management of sites.

 

3. COLNE ALLOTMENTS

Colne Town Council administers 21 none statutory allotment sites containing a total of 148 plots. The allotments reside on Council land and are used for the purpose of allotments rather than land purchased under the Allotments Acts legislation. Their locations are as listed in Appendix 1.

Allotment sites are usually larger pieces of Council land split into individually measured plots. Allotments are measured in square metres. Plots vary in size to suit all needs from 25m2 to approximately 300m2.

The Council maintains the register of tenants and a waiting list of Colne residents who have expressed a wish to be allocated a plot to one of the existing allotments within the Town. All new tenants are required to sign a tenancy agreement. The agreement details the rules in relation to the maintenance of the allotment. Tenants are not permitted to sub-let, assign or part with the possession of the allotment garden.

The waiting lists are maintained on a first come, first allocated basis for each site. Residents on the waiting list can express a preference for particular sites. REMOVED following and will only be offered a tenancy on those sites.

Administrative support in relation to the provision of Colne allotments is provided by the Clerk to Colne Town Council. Enquiries and complaints are dealt with by the Colne Town Council Allotments Committee and in accordance with Council procedures. The Town Council website provides information in relation to allotments.

Individuals can apply for an Allotment plot by contacting the Clerk to the Town Council by telephone, letter or via the Town Council web site.

The application form can be downloaded from the Town Council Website and submitted by mail or e-mail. The form must be returned to the Clerk to the Town Council at the address shown on the form. At the time of application, if a waiting list exists the individual’s details will be added to the list.

The application form is dealt with by the Clerk to the Town Council, who will issue a letter to the applicant informing them that their name has been added to the waiting list.

When a plot becomes available the Allotments Committee must agree to re-let. The Clerk to the Town Council refers to the allotments waiting list and writes to the first person on the list to make an offer of the available plot.

If the offer is rejected, or a reply is not received within 2 weeks, the Clerk to the Town Council refers to the allotments waiting list and writes to the next person on the list to make an offer of the available plot. This is repeated until an offer is accepted. Anyone rejecting an offer does not lose their place in the waiting list. If no reply is received after 2 weeks the person’s name will be removed from the list.

If an offer is accepted, the person signs a tenancy agreement and becomes a tenant and their name is removed from the waiting list. The tenancy agreement was drawn up by Pendle Borough Council. The rules on this agreement will be followed by the Allotments Committee, but, the support, enforcement, rents and timings may be altered by the Allotments Committee by resolution.

The Allotments Committee assure existing tenants that no allotments will be taken from them, but, as the waiting list for an allotment is in excess of 60 people, only 1 allotment per tenant will be allowed from now on.

Anyone under 18 wishing to become a tenant can only do so if the ownership of the tenancy agreement is taken up by a legal guardian aged over 18. Children under 16 years of age have to be supervised at all times they are on the allotments.

The Allotments Committee is responsible for the inspection of the allotments on an annual basis during the growing season, with sufficient notice to the tenants.

Tenants are required to keep the allotment clean in a good state of cultivation and fertility and in good condition. The tenant shall not cause any nuisance or annoyance to the occupier of any adjoining land, or obstruct any path set out by the Council for the use of the occupiers of the allotment gardens. The tenant shall not without written consent of the Council, cut or prune trees or take, sell or carry away any mineral, clay or sand. It is the responsibility of the tenant to keep every hedge or fence that forms part of the boundary of their allotment garden properly trimmed, and ditches properly cleansed.

Tenants are required to maintain any fences, gates or sheds on their allotment garden and be aware that the use of barbed wire is forbidden for a fence adjoining any path for the use of the occupiers of the allotment garden.

Tenants cannot erect any building or shed on an allotment garden without the written consent of the Town Council.

Tenants must not keep any animals or livestock of any kind on the allotment garden except hens and rabbits to the extent permitted in the Allotments Act 1950 Section 12 and any dogs must be controlled as per the Terms and Conditions (which are to be observed in conjunction with the tenancy agreement).

Some tenants have hens, geese and pigeons on their plot. The Allotments Committee have listened to their tenants and the neighbours around the sites and have amended the rules about keeping livestock on allotments. The keeping of birds or animals is now by permission only.

Any children under the age of 16 years have to be supervised at all times and accompanied by the tenant.

Where there is an association is in place, tenants are encouraged to be a member, but if not,are expected to abide by the rules of the association.

Responsibility for minor paths lies with the plot holders.

Allotments should not be used for commercial gain.

The use of water butts is encouraged but may present a hazard to young children and wildlife and should therefore be covered when not in use.

The conditions listed above ensure compliance with the tenancy agreement, which is in accordance with the principles of the ‘Allotment Acts’. Enforcement is carried out by the Allotments Committee and involves a process of serving a warning notice, giving one month to comply with the notice, followed by a notice to quit for non-compliance. Non- cultivation of plots is the most frequent cause for this procedure to be implemented.

The Allotments Committee have resolved to standardise the rents at 20p per square metre, in 2012. Charges will increase bi-annually in line with the previous two year sum of the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for September each year, unless otherwise determined by Allotment Committee resolution. Tenants will be given 12 months notice in writing of any change to the rent.

The annual rental for an allotment plot should be paid annually in advance on the first day of April, or quarterly in advance on the first day of April, July, October and January each year, as whichever is agreed with the Clerk to the Council. Tenants can negotiate with the Council payment terms at the Council’s discretion. However, Colne Town Council does not offer any concessions on Allotments.

Two sites have water on site and this is charged extra, as per the water bill, for the tenants benefiting from it.

The Tenancy of the allotment shall terminate on the yearly rent day after the death of the tenant, and shall also terminate whenever the tenancy or right of the occupation of the Council terminates.

The Tenancy may also be terminated by Colne Town Council by re-entry after one month’s notice:-

1. If the rent is in arrears for more than 40 days

Or

2. If the tenant becomes bankrupt or compounds with their creditors.

The tenancy may also be terminated by the Council or the tenant by twelve months’ notice in writing expiring on 1st April or on 1st October in any year.

The 17 sites are:

  1. Alkincoats – 30 plots
  2. Bunkers Hill – 7 plots
  3. Knotts Lane – 7 plots
  4. South Valley – 6 plots
  5. Basil Street – 2 plots
  6. Broken Banks – 2 plots
  7. Granville Street – 4 plots
  8. New Oxford Street / Townley Street – 9 plots
  9. High Garth – 2 plots
  10. Cookhouse – 5 plots
  11. Temple Street – 6 plots
  12. Montague Street – 3 plots
  13. Carr Road – 4 plots
  14. Castle Road – 5 plots
  15. Intake – 9 plots
  16. White Grove – 4 plots
  17. Carry Lane –18 plots
  18. River Street – 8 plots
  19. Sutherland Street – 9 plots
  20. West of Alkincoats Park – 2 plots
  21. Foot of Alkincoats park – 2 plots
Click Here to view a Map of Allotment Sites Click Here to download an Application Form