CHILD'S HILL ALLOTMENTS

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Handbook

All members are given a printed copy of the society's handbook with their tenancy agreement. It includes the Terms and Conditions of Allotment Tenancy which are part of the tenancy agreement. If you do not have a copy, you can ask for one in the shop. Alternatively you can read the text below or download a printable PDF file.

 

Child’s Hill Allotment Society

Members’ Handbook

Second Edition – March 2014

Contents

 

Introduction

1 Child’s Hill Allotments

1.1 History

1.2 Allotment plots

1.3 Plot numbering

2 Child’s Hill Allotment Society

2.1 Site management

2.2 Constitution

2.3 Membership

2.3.1 Tenant members

2.3.2 Gardening members

2.4 General meetings

2.5 The CHAS committee

2.6 Participation of members

2.7 Society records, data protection

2.8 Communication with members

2.8.1 Email

2.8.2 Post

2.8.3 Notice boards

2.8.4 Website

2.9 Complaints and comments

3 Affiliated organisations

3.1 Barnet Allotment Federation

3.2 National Allotment Society

3.3 Royal Horticultural Society

4 Lettings

4.1 Waiting list

4.2P robation

4.3 Tenancy agreements

4.4 Gate keys

5 Rents and charges

6 Security

7 Facilities and services for members

7.1 Shop

7.2 Insurance

7.3 Water

7.4 Car parking

7.5 Compost, wood chips, etc.

7.6 Equipment hire

7.7 First aid and emergencies

8 Rules and Regulations

8.1 Cultivation

8.2 Trees

8.3 Paths

8.4 Sheds and other structures

8.5 Plot inspections

8.6 Behaviour

8.7 Sale of produce

8.8 Vehicles

8.9 Machinery

8.10 Bonfires

8.11 Rubbish

8.12 Chemicals

8.13 Asbestos

8.14 Livestock

8.15 Beekeeping

8.16 Visitors

8.17 Children

8.18 Dogs

8.19 Rats

9 Allotments Map

10 Terms and Conditions of Allotment Tenancy

 

 

Introduction

 

This booklet has been written to provide some information and guidance to the tenants of allotments at the Child’s Hill Allotment site. In it we have tried to bring together in a fairly informal way, some important information about the allotments and how they are managed, plus some of the rules and regulations relating to the use of the site.

 

It does not replace the Terms and Conditions of Allotment Tenancy which are part of your tenancy agreement and which in case of doubt you should consult. In various places relevant paragraphs of the terms and conditions are referred to in the text. So, for example, (T&C 10) means paragraph 10. You will find a copy of the terms and conditions at the back of this booklet.

To help you find your way round the booklet, in addition to the contents list above, there is an alphabetical index on the last page.

 

1Child’s Hill Allotments

 

1.1 History

There have been allotments at Child’s Hill since 1890. The site was originally somewhat larger than it is today but over the years land was taken for housing, in particular along the Hendon Way and for what are now Garth and Cloister Roads. Since 1925 the freehold of the allotment site has been owned by the Hendon Urban District Council and its successor, the London Borough of Barnet.

 

The remaining 10.3 acres (4.13 hectares) is now a statutory allotment site. This means that, under the terms the Allotments Act 1925, it may not be used for any other purpose without the consent of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. This would only be given if it could be clearly demonstrated that it was no longer required for allotment purposes, which in practice would mean that it was less than 75% cultivated and that there were no suitable alternative sites for the tenants to move to.

 

1.2 Allotment plots

There are about 180 allotment plots on the site – the number is approximate because from time to time new plots are created by splitting larger plots or combining smaller plots or by bringing formerly derelict land into cultivation. Most of the plots have an area of about 5 or 10 poles though there are some larger and some smaller.

 

The pole is an ancient unit that is still used to define the areas of allotments because it appears in allotment legislation, such as the Allotment Acts, and in tenancy agreements. Its use is made more confusing by the fact that the word pole is also used to describe a length of 5½ yards so an area of one pole is that of a square with sides of 5½ yards, so is equivalent to 30.25 sq yd. Thus a 10 pole plot has an area of 302.5 sq yd or approximately 253m².

 

1.3 Plot numbering

 

Each plot has a number, which is shown on your tenancy agreement. Please ensure that your plot number is clearly displayed on your plot, for example on your shed.

 

2 Child’s Hill Allotment Society

 

For many years, the Child’s Hill Allotment Society (CHAS), to which most plotholders belonged, was responsible for the letting of plots and the collection of rents, together with some minor maintenance work. The society was rewarded for this by being allowed to retain 25% of the rents received. The major maintenance work remained the responsibility of Barnet council. In 2010, the council decided that it no longer wished to manage its allotment sites and offered allotment societies the possibility of leasing their sites from the council.

 

In 2013 we entered into an agreement with the London Borough of Barnet to lease the site at a peppercorn (ie zero) rent for a term of 38 years, commencing April 1 2013. While the signed and sealed lease has been placed in a bank for safe-keeping, you are welcome to look at a copy of it and you can ask for an electronic copy to be sent to you as an email attachment; otherwise it can be seen on the website.

 

2.1 Site management

 

The society now keeps all the rents and charges but in return we are totally responsible for the management of the site, in conformance with the conditions of the lease. This includes

  •  

  • all aspects of the site’s maintenance,

  • the letting of allotments,

  • the setting and collection of rents and charges,

  • the payment of water bills,

  • ensuring that you abide by the rules and observe the terms and conditions of your tenancies.

 

The existing tenancy agreements between plotholders and Barnet were transferred to the society to be replaced by new agreements between yourselves and the society.

 

While much of the routine management of the site is undertaken by the society’s committee, it is the society that holds the lease, so all of you are collectively responsible and hence expected to contribute your time and skills.

 

2.2 Constitution

 

The society has a constitution which was adopted in its present form at the annual general meeting in 2012. You can find a copy of it on our website , or ask to be given a printed copy. Certain parts are required by the terms of our lease and may not be changed. Otherwise, it may be amended by resolution at a general meeting by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

 

2.3 Membership

 

2.3.1 Tenant members

 

In the past, membership of the society was optional and plotholders could join on payment of an annual fee. Since our lease now requires all plotholders to be members of the society, you become a tenant member of the society automatically when you sign your tenancy agreement. At present, no additional membership fee is payable.

 

2.3.2 Gardening members

 

By paying a small annual fee members of the general public may take out gardening membership. This entitles them to use the shop, but not to enter the rest of the site nor attend or vote at society meetings. Since profits made by the shop may be used for the benefit of the society, it would be a good idea to tell any people you know who live locally about this.

 

2.4 General meetings

 

The society’s constitution requires that an annual general meeting (AGM) must be held once a year, within three months of the end of the financial year, ie by the end of June. The committee may organise additional meetings (EGMs) at other times and members may request one if there are matters that they think require urgent discussion. How to go about this is explained in the constitution.

 

2.5 The CHAS committee

 

The routine management of the site is undertaken by a committee, eight of whose members are elected annually at the AGM. In addition, up to two further members may be co-opted. The committee officers are chosen by the committee from among its members. These include the chair, the secretary, the letting officer, the maintenance officer and the treasurer together with other roles which from time to time the committee considers are needed. The committee meets regularly throughout the year; the constitution requires at least six meetings. Its minutes are displayed on the notice boards by the site entrances.

 

The committee is there to help you. A list of its members can be found on the notice boards. If you have questions, suggestions, problems, etc., please talk to one of them, or put a note into the letterbox in the shop door, or send an email to secretary@childshillallotments.org.uk.

 

2.6 Participation of members

 

Now that the society manages the site, it is vital that all members play a part in this and don’t expect the committee members to do it all. In fact, the terms and conditions of your tenancy include a specific requirement (T&C11) that you contribute some of your time and effort to assist with the running and management of the site.

 

The committee needs help with tasks such as

  •  

  • helping in the shop,

  • assisting with shop deliveries,

  • keeping the common parts, such as the roads, wide grass paths and boundaries tidy and free of litter,

  • organising the delivery of materials such compost and wood-chip,

  • maintenance of buildings, fences and roads,

  • taking part in working parties,

  • organising social events database and website management

  • and so on.

 

So, if asked, please be prepared to offer some of your time and skills for the benefit of all. It need only be a few hours a year, but it makes a great difference. If there is a particular activity with which you would like to be involved, then please let us know.

 

2.7 Society records, data protection

 

We keep records of information about members, on paper and/or electronically. They contain the essential factual information about you that we require for the management of the site and for communication with you. They include names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses, together with the numbers of the plots rented. None of this will be provided to any person outside the committee without your consent. We will not, for example, give another member your email address or telephone number without first asking you if we may. (T&C 49)

 

You are welcome to see the information that we have about you. You should contact the secretary in the first instance.

 

It is important that the information is kept up-to-date, so please let us know if you change your address or telephone number or any of your other details, so that we can continue to communicate with you.

 

2.8 Communication with members

 

Communication between the committee and yourselves is essential. We use various means, including email, post, the website and notice boards.

 

2.8.1 Email

 

We have email addresses for about 70% of you, so email is potentially a very economical and effective method of communication. It was agreed at the 2013 AGM that we would use it for most communications with those of you whose email addresses we have, unless you specifically opted to have it posted to you. If you have an email account but are not receiving messages from the committee, please let us know your email address, so that we can add you to our email list.

 

If you want to send emails to us, you can use one of these addresses:

  •  

  • chair@childshillallotments.org.uk

  • secretary@childshillallotments.org.uk

 

2.8.2 Post

 

Sending material by post is not only expensive – at the time of writing even a second class stamp costs 50p - it is also labour intensive, since it has to be put in envelopes which then have to be addressed and posted. So, normally, it is used for those of you who do not use email and those who have opted out. However certain communications, such as tenancy agreements, will always be posted.

 

2.8.3 Notice boards

 

The main notice board faces the main gates from Garth Road. Important notices are also posted on the board by the side gate. On them, you will find current information about the site, minutes of the committee, shop news, etc. Other notice boards around the site may be used from time to time, as appropriate.

 

2.8.4 Website

 

The society has a website at http://www.childshillallotments.org.uk for news and information.

 

2.9 Complaints and comments

 

If you have a complaint or a comment that you would like to bring to the committee’s attention, please send it by email to either or both of the addresses given above, or put it in writing and hand it to a committee member, or put it in the shop’s letterbox. All complaints will be treated in confidence.

 

3 Affiliated organisations

 

The society in turn is affiliated to a number of other organisations

 

3.1 Barnet Allotment Federation

 

Along with about 40 other allotment societies in the borough, we are a member of the Barnet Allotment Federation – see http://www.barnetallotments.org.uk/.The Federation provides a framework for mutual support between the societies managing the allotment sites in the borough and it represents all sites in dealings with Barnet Council. It took the leading role in the negotiations with the council relating to self management and has produced a large number of advisory documents for use by the societies. At most of its monthly meetings there is a workshop or discussion group on a topic of common interest. It also organises an annual site and plot competition open to all sites.

 

3.2 National Allotment Society

 

We subscribe to the National Allotment Society – it has a website at http://www.nsalg.org.uk/. This provides all members with the services of the society for which otherwise each would have to pay £20 a year. The society provides professional advice on all issues relating to allotments, including tenants’ and local authorities’ responsibilities, allotment legislation, preparation of leases and rental agreements, legal matters, consultation with local authorities, preparation and revision of model/constitutional rules and any other matters relating to allotment gardening. A quarterly magazine is published copies of which may be read in the shop.

 

A discounted seed scheme through E W Kings Seeds is available to members offering considerable savings on a wide variety of seeds.

 

3.3 Royal Horticultural Society

 

We are members of the RHS primarily to gain access to their insurance schemes for horticultural societies, but additional benefits include

  • Monthly copy of The Garden magazine – usually kept in the shop

  • Annual visit to an RHS garden for up to 55 members

  • Gardening advice from RHS advisors

  • Access to the largest network of gardening clubs in the UK

 

4 Lettings

 

4.1 Waiting list

 

When someone applies for an allotment plot, their name is added to a waiting list. Since the lease requires preference in lettings to be given to Barnet residents, we maintain two lists; one for applicants who live in Barnet and the other for those from outside the borough.

 

4.2 Probation

 

In the first instance plots are let on a probationary basis. If after 30 days the plot is being cultivated to the satisfaction of the committee, the tenancy will be made permanent.

 

4.3 Tenancy agreements

 

When the committee agrees to a plot being let, the new tenant is sent two copies of a tenancy agreement, the terms and conditions of allotment tenancy and a rent invoice. One copy of the tenancy agreement must be signed and returned.

 

4.4 Gate keys

 

New tenants are provided with a key to the padlocks on the main and side gates. There is no charge for the keys, but a refundable deposit, at present £10, must be paid. The keys cannot be copied without our consent, so if you need additional keys, or a replacement for one that is lost, please apply to the letting officer or the shop.

 

5Rents and charges

 

Each year you must pay a rent for your plot together with an additional charge for the supply of water. How much you pay depends on the area of your plot, based on for the rent and water charge that have been agreed at the previous year’s AGM. For those of you over the age of 60, there is at present a reduction of 50% of the rent for the first 10 poles that you rent, but there is no reduction for the water charge.

 

The start of the rent year is April 1. At each year’s AGM the charges per pole for the rent and water for the following year are agreed. If there are to be any changes, you will be given at least six months notice of them by email or letter, ie by the end of the previous September. Rents are collected on the site during April at times and places shown on the notice boards. You must come to pay in person, not send it by post or via someone else.

 

You will normally be sent an email or a letter stating the rent and water charge for your plot. However, even if you do not receive a notification, it is your responsibility to make sure that you pay. While we will chase up late payers, we would much rather that we did not have to. If you have not paid within 40 days of April 1, ie by May 10, then you would be in breach of your tenancy agreement and liable to a month’s notice to quit (T&C 36).

 

6Security

 

The society will do what it can to protect the site from intruders by maintaining the boundary fences. If you find breaches in, or damage to, the fences, please let us know.

 

However for security to be successful it is essential that the gates to the site are kept locked at all times, which means that if you find a gate open, and there is no sign of anyone coming or going, you should lock it. This is not simply well meant advice; it is also a site rule (T&C 31). Not only might thieves enter, but more seriously the site could be used for fly-tipping; apart from any damage caused to plots, we would have to pay potentially very large amounts to have it removed.

 

Do not admit members of the general public to the site, unless you are quite sure that they are coming to visit a plotholder who is already on the site. Normally visitors should be met at the gate by the person they are visiting.

 

If you see anyone seeing someone acting suspiciously, you should challenge their right to be on the site (if it is safe to do so) and/or call the police (tel: 101).

 

It is inevitable that from time to time intruders will gain access to the site, however careful we are and however well the boundaries are maintained. Your sheds and their contents are therefore vulnerable, and so is your produce. Not very much can be done about securing the produce, but if your sheds contain valuable machinery or tools, you can protect them by using sturdy padlocks on the doors, preferably of the closed-shackle kind, which are less vulnerable to bolt cutters, and by using more than one of them. The structure of the shed must of course be sufficiently robust to withstand an intruder. Padlocks are of little use if bolts or hasps are insecurely attached or their fixings are accessible. Additional protection can be provided by chaining machinery to a ring that is securely attached to the shed or its floor, using for example a bicycle security kit.

 

If your shed is broken into, you should report the theft to the police yourself (tel: 101), in addition to informing the committee, or else they will not register the incident. If you see a crime being committed, dial 999.

 

7 Facilities and services for members

 

7.1 Shop

 

The society runs a shop for your benefit and convenience. You may use it to buy seeds, fertilisers, compost, and other horticultural goods. Agreements with many of our suppliers, which enable us to sell many goods at prices well below normal shop prices, contain a strict requirement that their products may only be sold to tenant or gardening members of the society.

 

The shop is located just inside the entrance from Garth Road. It is open at least once a week from February to November. The opening times are shown on the notice boards by the shop and on the website.

 

7.2 Insurance

 

The society pays for public liability insurance cover for the members. It is arranged through the Royal Horticultural Society and so, by their rules, is limited to members of the society. It covers all sums that a member might be legally liable to pay as damages arising out of accidental injury to other plotholders or members of the general public. A copy of the policy document is posted on the main notice board.

 

7.3 Water

 

Water is provided to taps around the site. Almost all the taps are mounted above water tanks. Water is available from approximately April 1st until October 31st but is turned off, and the system drained, during the winter to prevent it from freezing. It is safe for drinking. Please use it wisely. The tanks are for dipping watering cans (T&C 29b) and must not be used for other purposes, such as washing vegetables, which could contaminate the water. To help keep the water clean, they should be covered. If you come across any leaking or broken taps, please let the committee know.

 

The use of hand-held hosepipes is permitted unless a hosepipe ban is in operation. You must not leave a hose unattended and sprinklers or similar systems are forbidden (T&C 29). Please fill the tank so that others can fill watering cans before you start using a hose and disconnect it when you have finished. In order to give others a fair crack of the whip, please stop after 15 minutes if someone else is waiting for the tap (T&C 29a).

 

We pay for the amount of water we use, so if our usage exceeds the amount of water charge collected, the charge is liable to be increased for the following year. To give you some idea of the price of water, in 2013 it cost about 35p to fill one of the tanks and the cost of the water used was about £3500. So please be sensible and do not waste water or use a hose more than you absolutely have to. If possible, water in the evening or early morning when the water will soak in rather than evaporate.

 

7.4 Car parking

 

Two areas are available for parking vehicles: one half-way down the allotment site and one at the far, north, end. Please observe any markings indicating parking bays and park with consideration for others. The hard standing area alongside the middle car park is intended for deliveries of manure, sand etc, but can be used for parking if the main car parks are busy at weekends.

 

Strictly speaking no vehicles should be parked on the roads (T&C 30), but if car park space is scarce, you may park on the dead-end roads, provided you do not inconvenience others. You must park in such a way that clear space is left for the passage of people, possibly with a wheelbarrow. You must be prepared to move your vehicle if asked.

 

No vehicles may be left on the site overnight.

 

7.5 Compost, wood chips, etc.

 

From time to time, the society arranges for the delivery of various organic materials, including wood chips and composted green waste. The woodchips are deposited at various locations around the site, but the compost can only be delivered to the hard standing beside the middle car park because the delivery lorries are too large to get other parts of the site.

 

The compost is in high demand. It is not possible to operate a formal rationing scheme to ensure that all members get a fair share, in particular those who cannot come to the site on delivery days, so please be considerate to each other and don’t take excessive amounts. It is the society’s policy that, on average, no more than three wheel barrow loads should be taken per delivery per ten pole plot, and pro-rata for other sized plots.

 

7.6  Equipment hire

 

The society owns strimmers, rotavators and mowers, which may be hired on an hourly basis. Information on how to go about this is shown on the notice boards.

 

The society accepts no responsibility for damage or injury arising from the improper use of machinery. Hirers should ensure they are familiar with their proper operation and observe the safety precautions for their use.

 

7.7

First aid and emergencies

 

A well-equipped first aid box is kept in the shop, but is normally only accessible during shop opening hours or at times when a member of the committee with keys to the shop is present. It is therefore very important that you keep a basic first aid kit in your shed or your car.

 

8 Rules and Regulations

 

In order for the allotments to be managed as required by the lease and in the interests of all tenants, there are inevitably rules and regulations which you must observe.

 

The formal versions of the rules are in the Terms and Conditions of Allotment Tenancies, which you will find in section 9 of this booklet. Some are included because they are required by the lease, while others are our own rules as agreed by the membership. Some of them are discussed here.

 

If you are found to have contravened the Terms and Conditions, you will normally be sent a written warning requiring you to put matters right. You are expected to do so immediately and carry out any required works (T&C 9). If you consider that there are good reasons, such as illness, that would prevent you from doing so, you must let us know in writing.

 

If, after due warnings, you have still not complied, your tenancy will be terminated (T&C 36).

 

8.1 Cultivation

 

The rules say that “allotments are to be wholly or mainly cultivated by the tenant for the production of vegetables or fruit crops for consumption by the occupier and his/her family” (T&C 4). This does not mean that part of the plot cannot be used for the growing of flowers or as a leisure area, so long as the growing of fruit and vegetables is the main purpose. What is quite clear, however, is that the plot may not being used to store rubbish or materials unrelated to the cultivation of the plot, or have large grassy areas.

 

It also means that you (and a joint tenant if there is one) are expected to undertake the majority of the work, but you may be assisted by family and friends. In addition, from time to time, if you are not well enough to manage the plot, friends or other plot holders may temporarily look after it. What, however, is unacceptable is for the plot to be mainly cultivated by someone other than yourself. If you are found to be sub-letting your plot in this way, your tenancy will be terminated (T&C 10).

 

The rules also state that “tenants must keep their allotments reasonably free from weeds and rubbish, and otherwise maintain them in a proper state of cultivation to the satisfaction of the society.” (T&C 14).

 

This is apparently quite straightforward but what is meant by “cultivation” and, more importantly “non-cultivation”, can mean different things to different people and can be interpreted in various ways. If you look around the site, you will find that there are almost as many different styles of cultivation as there are plots. It is certainly not necessary to maintain strictly regimented rows of vegetables.

 

What is important is that your plot should be cultivated in a way that does not interfere with the enjoyment of neighbouring tenants. Key elements include

  •  

  • Removal of weed seed-heads before the seed has set

  • Control of pernicious weeds, such as those that spread through the extension of roots or by generating new plants from growing tips in contact with the soil

  • Removal of long grass or detritus that is likely to harbour slugs and snails which might migrate onto a neighbouring plot

  • Maintaining structures in good order

  • Not allowing trees to exceed the maximum height or planting them too close to the boundary (see below)

  • Keeping paths free of hazards and obstructions, including overhanging branches, and ensuring grass paths are trimmed

 

If for any reason you are temporarily unable to work your plot, please let us know.

 

8.2 Trees

 

You may plant only fruit trees or bushes (T&C 22). In practice this could include herb and other bushes which produce culinary leaves. They may not be planted within one meter of roads or paths, nor overhang them, and may not in exceed four metres in height (T&C 23).

 

You should also think of your neighbours when planting fruit trees and try to ensure that they are located where they will cast the least shade on their plots.

 

8.3 Paths

 

Apart from the wide green cross paths and the asphalted roads, the responsibility for maintaining the paths between plots lies with the neighbouring plotholders (T&C 25, 26).

 

Paths must be kept clear for access at all times by any plotholder, so you should not create safety hazards for others by littering paths with debris such as canes, broken glass, metal spikes etc. You must also ensure that overhanging branches are cut back as necessary.

 

Paths may not be concreted, though concrete slabs are permitted (T&C 25a). If the path is of grass, it must be regularly mown. It is a good idea to replace grass paths by wood chips, which require less maintenance and provide a better foothold in wet weather.

 

The minimum width of paths between plots is 50cm (20”), in order to allow the passage of a wheelbarrow (T&C 26). This is quite narrow, so we strongly recommend that, by mutual agreement between neighbouring plotholders, it should be at least 70cm (27”) wide

 

In addition, to allow the passage of a wheelbarrow, no tree, bush or structure (fence, shed, greenhouse, etc.) higher than 100cm (39”) may be planted or erected less than 100cm (39”) from the centre of the path (T&C 23).

 

8.4 Sheds and other structures

 

No permanent structures may be built on your plot (T&C 18). This means that you cannot use bricks, blocks, concrete, etc.

Temporary structures may be erected, where temporary may be taken to mean a structure that could be dismantled and removed in a day or two. Permission from the committee is required prior to erecting any temporary structure, including sheds, polytunnels and greenhouses, though not fruit cages. The location, which must be agreed by the committee, must be such that no part of the structure is less than 100cm (39”) from the centre of a path (T&C 19).

 

The maximum area that may be occupied by all the temporary structures is 20% of the area of the plot (T&C 18), which, for example, for a 10 pole plot is 50m² (540 sq ft). However a shed may not occupy more than 5% of the plot area, ie 12.5m² (136 sq ft) on a 10 pole plot. No structure may be more than 2.5 m (8’2”) tall.

 

A shed must be constructed using appropriate materials, the structure should be sound and safe and the finish must be in keeping with the surroundings (T&C 19). There are no hard and fast rules as to colour, but green or brown or pale blue would be considered to be acceptable; bright red or orange would not. Please make sure that the underside of the shed is inaccessible to rats and other rodents, as it provides them with a prime nesting place.

 

On termination of your tenancy, you might be required to remove any structures that are on it (T&C 20, 21).

 

8.5 Plot inspections

 

An inspection group, consisting of two or three members of the committee, routinely inspects all the plots, including the paths between them, to decide whether they are being cultivated to their satisfaction and that the rules on trees sheds, etc. are being followed. If they find that for your plot the rules have not been observed, you will be sent a written warning. It is in your interest to reply to such a letter, saying how you intend to rectify matters. If there are particular reasons, such as illness, why your plot has not been cultivated, you should tell us. If a follow-up inspection shows that no real improvement has been made, the committee will terminate your tenancy by giving you one month’s notice in writing (T&C 36). In addition, we will charge you for any expenditure incurred in restoring the plot to a lettable condition, including the cost of removal of rubbish (T&C 41).  

 

8.6 Behaviour

 

Members should feel able to cultivate their plots without being disturbed or threatened by other members (T&C 10). Racist or sexist or other discriminatory language or practices on the site will not be tolerated, nor the use of violence or threatening behaviour. Serious or repeated incidents could lead to the expulsion of the perpetrator from their plot and the site. Incidents should be reported immediately to the committee in writing with the names of witnesses wherever possible.

 

While there is no restriction on the drinking of alcohol, anyone found acting in a drunk and disorderly manner would be asked to leave. The committee will consider on a case-by-case basis the continuing tenure of persistent offenders who cause a nuisance or endanger the safety of others. The cultivation or use of illegal drugs on site is not permitted.

 

The use of radios is permitted as long as you are not disturbing your neighbours. You should be prepared to reduce the volume if a neighbour requests this. Please use a headset if you want to listen while you work.

 

8.7 Sale of produce

 

Legally, our plots are allotment gardens, which are defined in the Allotments Act 1922 as “an area used wholly or mainly for the cultivation of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by the occupier or his family”. This means that the selling of produce is not allowed and would be a breach of your tenancy agreement (T&C 4, 5). It also means that you cannot grow crops for use within any business that you might own or be associated with.

 

8.8 Vehicles

 

Vehicles may be driven only on the asphalted roads and the car parks. They must not be driven on the wide green cross paths. There is a speed limit of 5 mph on all roads within the site. You must take extra care when passing pedestrians and children.

 

8.9 Machinery

 

Machines, such as strimmers, rotavators and mowers should be used with appropriate personal safety equipment and with consideration for the safety of others. They must not be left running unattended.

 

In order to avoid undue disturbance to those who live in houses around the site, you are asked not to use noisy machines before 8 am on Monday to Saturday and before 9 am on Sundays and public holidays, nor after 7 pm on any day.

 

It is inadvisable to use machines during or after drinking alcohol or the taking of certain medicines that cause drowsiness.

 

8.10 Bonfires (T&C 17)

 

Bonfires are permitted at the following times:

 

October - April: any time

May - September: only on the first Wednesday of the month

 

They may only be used to burn plant material and any old timber that might have accumulated on your plot. Other materials such as plastic or rubber create toxic fumes and poison the soil so must never be burnt.

 

Dry garden waste may be burnt, but it makes much more sense to compost it in a bin or heap on your plot so that in due course you can return organic material to the soil. That said, you should never compost diseased plant matter, such as blighted tomato or potato plants because the temperatures reached are too low to kill the disease, so a bonfire is a good way of way of dealing with it. However since most local authorities collect garden waste every week or so, and process it in such a way that any disease is killed, it makes more sense to take it home for collection. Doing so is also of benefit to us, since it is the result of such treatment that is returned to us in the compost deliveries.

 

If you want to light a bonfire, try to pick a time when the wind is not blowing in the direction of any neighbours. Remember that smoke from bonfires can be annoying to them, ruining their enjoyment of their gardens, and preventing them from opening windows and hanging out their washing. Bonfires can damage the health of children, the elderly and those with asthma and other breathing problems. Never leave a bonfire burning when you are not there to tend it, and do not leave the site until it is out. Do not use petrol or similar on bonfires and keep a bucket of water handy in case it gets out of control.

 

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence to emit smoke, fumes or gases which are a nuisance. Allowing smoke to drift over nearby roads may also lead to prosecution under the Highways (Amendment) Act 1986 if it endangers traffic.

 

8.11 Rubbish (T&C 30)

 

Please resist the temptation to use your plot as a place to store things that might be useful one day or which might, more accurately, be described as rubbish. You really should not bring in any material that is not directly for use on the allotment. For example, timber left in the open air will rapidly deteriorate to the point that it is unusable and then has to be disposed of.

 

It is your responsibility as a tenant to take all rubbish off the site. We cannot take responsibility for the removal of rubbish of any kind. You can dispose of it via your local binmen or a council recycling depot. Barnet’s depot is in Summers Lane, Finchley, N12 0PD.

 

8.12Chemicals

Be considerate when using chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides as many allotment holders use only organic methods and these chemicals have potentially toxic and harmful effects on people and wildlife. Observe the instructions on packaging carefully and take the appropriate safety precautions. In particular, do not spray when it is windy, or on crops like open flowers that are likely to be visited by bees, or near ponds.

 

The use of herbicides on paths should be limited to preparations containing only glyphosate and then used only for the “spot” treatment of perennials such as dandelions. Hormone or long-lasting weedkillers must never be used on paths as they can be carried on boots onto other people’s plots with harmful effects.

 

8.13 Asbestos

 

Asbestos-based products (such as sheds, boards and containers) are not permitted on the site and no such product should be brought onto your plot (T&C 15). Where asbestos items, such as shed roof sheets, already exist on a plot and are in a reasonable condition, they can be left in place, but they will need to be removed if the condition of the material deteriorates. Never break up asbestos sheets. Anyone unearthing suspect material should contact Barnet Environmental Health department (020 8359 2000).

 

8.14 Livestock

 

The keeping of any livestock on the site, including chickens, rabbits, goats and other such animals, is not allowed. (T&C 28a)

 

8.15 Beekeeping

 

Bees may be kept, but the committee must first be satisfied that the plotholder is suitably qualified to care properly for them and that the following conditions will be satisfied (T&C 28b).

  •  

  • The beekeeper should have undertaken a recognised course of at least one or two years duration, covering both theoretical and practical hands on training, to a good level of competence.

  • They must be a full member of a beekeeping association with full insurance against third party damages.

  • Any bees brought onto the allotment should be of good temperament and kept that way.

 

If the bees should become a problem or nuisance by interfering with other allotment holders while working their plots or with persons in the gardens of houses adjacent to the allotments and the matter is not addressed quickly, the committee will require the bees be removed or destroyed.

 

Please contact the committee if you are interested in the possibility of keeping bees.

 

8.16 Visitors

 

Friends and relatives are welcome to visit the site. However, you must stay with them - do not just give them your key and let them wander round on their own. If you see a stranger, ask them what they are doing and escort them out if necessary. Tell your neighbours or the committee if a friend is going to look after your plot if you are temporarily unable to cultivate, for example when you are on holiday.

 

8.17 Children

 

The allotments are not playgrounds and can be dangerous places, so you must keep children under control and not allow them to cause a nuisance to other tenants (T&C 32a). Those under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. You must ensure they stay on your plot and do not stray onto anyone else’s.

 

8.18 Dogs

 

You may bring dogs onto the site, but you must act responsibly. They must be under control at all times (T&C 32). You should keep them on a hand-held lead when walking through the site and ensure that they stay on your plot. Any fouling must be cleared up immediately.

 

8.19 Rats

 

Rats are, inevitably, always present on the allotment site. Please report to the committee if you find any evidence of them. Rat bait, and instructions on how to use it, is available free of charge from the shop. It should be used in such a way that it cannot be eaten by cats, foxes, hedgehogs and other wildlife which we do not want to injure.

 

To minimise potential nesting places, keep your plot clear of rubbish and do not allow access to the space beneath your shed.

 

Do not put out meat or other waste animal products for the foxes; it is much more likely to attract rats.

 

9 Allotments Map

 

This schematic map shows the layout of plots at the time of publication. Over the course of time, there might be changes as plots are sub-divided or combined. There should always be an up-to-date version on the main notice board.

 

10 Terms and Conditions of Allotment Tenancy

 

Anyone who signs a tenancy agreement agrees to abide by the following terms and conditions of allotment tenancy. They are part of the tenancy agreement.

 

Click here for the terms and conditions

 

They were agreed by the society at its annual general meeting held at St Agnes Church Hall, 35 Cricklewood Lane, London, NW2 1HR on June 24 2012.

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