Balsham Allotments Inspection Policy
Scope of Policy
This policy has been set in place to support the Balsham Allotments Tenancy Agreement and applies to all allotments sites (Woodhall Lane, The Hawthorns and Princes Close) managed by Balsham Parish Council.
The aims of the policy are:
- to improve the quality of the allotment environment for allotment tenants and residents
- clarify the inspection and enforcement process
- to address long waiting lists and the high demand for allotment plots.
Balsham Parish Council manages three allotment sites: Woodhall Lane, The Hawthorns and Princes Close with a total of 108 allotment gardens.
Allotments have become extremely popular for the healthy lifestyle and community benefits they provide. The demand for allotment plots has however resulted in long waiting lists.
This policy is being put in place to inform tenants of the inspection process.
Balsham Parish Council reserves the right to update the Inspection Policy at a time at it’s choosing in line with its procedures. The person responsible for the management of all the Parish Council’s allotments will carry out regular inspections to ensure fairness and equality.
The role of enforcement remains with Balsham Parish Council.
Policy Statement 1 – Balsham Allotment Tenancy Agreement
The applicant for tenancy will be the main tenant of the allotment plot and will be the named plot holder on the Balsham Allotment Tenancy Agreement. All tenants will be required to sign this tenancy agreement. This is a contractual condition. Balsham Parish Council will initiate enforcement proceedings if a plot holder, or person for whom the plot holder is responsible, fails to comply with the Tenancy Agreement.
In respect of any amendments or changes to the terms will have to be agreed in advance in writing by Balsham Parish Council and if no agreement is reached, any violations shall be remedied by the allotment tenant at their expense.
Policy Statement 2 – Enforcement Procedures
If the tenant is unable to cultivate their plot due to illness, or any other short-term problem please inform the Parish Council and a discussion can take please to agree a solution.
If a tenant is not complying with the Balsham Allotment Tenancy Agreement, the Parish Council will notify the tenant asking them to make the necessary improvements
- Tenant will have one month from date of the letter to make the necessary improvements
- If the necessary improvements are not complete within the one-month timeframe, Balsham Parish Council will give the tenant one months’ notice to clear the allotment.
Evicted tenants may not reapply for an allotment plot.
Policy Statement 3 – Site Inspections
All allotment sites managed by Balsham Parish Council will be inspected monthly during the growing season (March to November) and whilst no advance warning will be required or given, all tenants allotments should be available for inspection. The Clerk and the appointed allotment person will carry out monthly inspections and an annual inspection in September prior to tenancy renewals.
Expected requirements for tenants from Balsham Parish Council for the benefit of all allotment tenants are:
- all allotments are to be kept well maintained and in good fertile working order with minimal weeds/grass
- 70% cultivated 30% for structures
- no materials left on the allotment not pertaining to allotment growing
- all allotments are to be kept within their borders
- borders around allotments are to be kept tidy.
If the allotment does not meet the requirements of Balsham Parish Council’s Policy Statement 2, the tenant will receive written notification that the tenant will have a period 1 month to make improvements. If these improvements are not carried out satisfactorily within this time frame, Balsham Parish Council will give notice for the tenant to leave within one month.
Policy Statement 4 – Cultivation of Plot
A minimum of 70% of the plot area must be cultivated for growing produce – namely vegetables, herbs, fruit, other edible crops and flowers, unless otherwise agreed in writing. A maximum of 30% of the plot area may be put to other uses such as structures such as sheds, fruit cages, polytunnels and a compost area, unless otherwise agreed in writing.
It is not permitted to keep an allotment plot or a portion of it, which in the opinion of Balsham Parish Council is in an untidy, overgrown, unkempt or seemingly abandoned state. Weeds must be controlled to prevent seeds spreading to other plots. Pernicious plants must be eradicated. No new trees are allowed to be planted on an allotment plot or any other part of the site without the permission of Balsham Parish Council.
Children’s play equipment such as swings and paddling pools are not permitted.
Business or trade use of an allotments plot is forbidden.
Livestock such as chickens, geese, ducks, bees and other farm animals are prohibited on the allotment gardens.
Organic gardening, composting, recycling and promoting biodiversity are positively encouraged by Balsham Parish Council on all allotment sites.
Policy Statement 5 – Leaving a Plot
When a plot holder leaves a plot, it should be in good, workable condition and free of any structures except for sheds. Any materials not pertaining to allotment growing should also be removed.
Balsham Parish Council will clear plots that are not in an acceptable condition and will recharge the departing plot holder. Balsham Parish Council will not be held responsible for any losses in produce or materials arising from this action.
It is the responsibility of the plot holder to inform Balsham Parish Council, in writing, of any change of address and update any other information relevant to their tenancy, such as illness or incapacity.
Any communication will be sent to the latest address provided and will be deemed by Balsham Parish Council to have been delivered to the plot holder.
Policy Statement 6 – Termination of Contract
Plot holders may voluntarily terminate their contract at any time, by informing Balsham Parish Council in writing. Any deposits paid will not be returned to the tenant if the allotment is in an unworkable, infertile condition.
Enforcement proceedings may be initiated, which may result in the termination of the contract if the terms of the Tenancy Agreement have been broken in the opinion of Balsham Parish Council.
Balsham Parish Council will not return any deposits if the allotment is not returned in a workable state.
Policy Statement 7 – Management of Waiting Lists
Waiting lists are sorted on a strictly “first come, first served” basis. New applicants will be added to the bottom of a waiting list. No priority will be given to applicants representing a group, charity or organisation. When a plot becomes vacant, an offer will be made in writing to the applicant who is at the top of the waiting list for that site
A successful applicant will be issued with a contract and allotment policy prepared by Balsham Parish Council.
Any non-compliance with these Policy Statements will result in the termination of an individual’s tenancy agreement resulting in a requirement to vacate their plot within one month of receiving such a decision in writing.