You must have a plot number clearly visible so that council officers can identify your plot. The plot number should be placed so it can be easily visible from the allotment track at the front of the plot. This ensures that your plot is not mistakenly cleared of materials or strimmed.
The plot number should be written as stated on your tenancy agreement.
Inspections are made by council officers.
During the main growing season (March – October), the council attempts to visit each site at least once a month to check plots and carry out any necessary enforcement action on tenants that are not abiding by the rules of their tenancy agreement.
Enforcement if you do not use your plot
The council expect cultivation to cover 75% of the allotment plot within 12 months of starting the tenancy.
New tenants are given a three month probationary period before any enforcement action can be taken for non-use of the plot. We advise that you also manage the areas that are not being cropped by mulching with a weed suppressing membrane (not carpet). This will condition the soil for when you are ready to grow crops and will stop weed growth. Alternatively, you could strim down grass and tall weeds in the no-cropped areas.
Examples of when the council will issue tenancy enforcement letters include overgrown plots, plots not showing any signs of being used, plots clearly being used as a storage facility for rubbish and excessive material.
Keeping the plot tidy and making obvious attempts to use the plot will ensure the council will not need to contact you regarding the cultivation of the plot.
There are three enforcement stages in total:
Stage 1 – letter sent advising that plot is showing signs of non-cultivation and work needs to be done to improve it as soon as possible. Advised that a re-inspection will be due approx. four weeks from date of letter.
Stage 2 – letter sent advising that condition of plot is still not showing enough evidence of being used appropriately. Advised that tenancy of plot is at risk of termination due to breaches of the tenancy and given one further month to improve the condition of the plot (specific date provided).
Stage 3 – Notice to Quit issued as plot continues to show now sign of being used enough. This gives you one month to clear the plot of rubbish, personal belongings and to tidy the plot up. This is a decision that will not be rescinded. Given a specific date for when tenancy will finish and the plot will be re-let.
It is essential that you act on any enforcement letter you receive. Failing a re-inspection can lead to tenancy termination. If you have mitigating circumstances such as a medical condition then you must let us know.
If you disagree with our decision
As part of the letter you receive, at least one photo will be attached to show what was seen at the time of inspection. Check the photo taken is of your plot as it might be a mistake - this can happen if your plot is not numbered correctly. In this instance, please ensure your plot is clearly numbered and let the council know the situation. The letter can then be re-issued to the correct plot.
If your plot is clearly numbered and it corresponds with the plot on the letter then you need to consider the wording of the tenancy terms and conditions and take appropriate action. You must act within the timescale provided and correct the issue prior to the next inspection.
If you a struggling to keep up with the work
You have two options:
- If you have a larger plot, ask the council if you can reduce the plot size to half a plot. We offers this option as it has been found that a smaller plot size is more manageable for tenants with less time to spare.
- Consider setting up a formal joint tenancy and share the workload.
If you wish to reduce the plot size, please contact the allotments officer and ask if it is possible to do so.
If you need more time to rectify the enforcement issues you should contact us. In exceptional circumstances, such as a medical condition or family bereavement, extra time will be considered.
If you need more time to move large quantities of materials then extra time can be arranged to allow tenants to remove waste.
Usually your plotted is re-inspected within one month dependent on resources and weather.
If you have failed the re-inspection you will receive the next stage letter from the council.
You will have been given a set period of time to clear the plot of all rubbish and structures and materials or crops that you wish to keep. This period is usually one month from the issuing of the termination letter. After this period, the plot will be re-let to new tenants and you will no longer have a right to enter or cultivate the plot.
If you have moved address and not received communications the termination will still stand as it is your responsibility to keep us informed of your current address.