The current form of allotment tenancy agreement issued by local councils is both incomprehensible and anachronistic. If the tenant cannot understand this document, the rules and regulations it contains cannot be expected to be observed.
          If a briefer, simpler, straightforward agreement which was more closely related to the reality of allotment practice were available, tenants would be more likely to follow its rules, would have a better image of and relationship with the local authority department servicing allotments, and could even help with the resolution of misunderstandings and conflicts.
          Some councils helpfully issue  guides to the full agreement, summarising its contents, however, many of the conditions contained within the present document are out of date, unrealistic, unenforced or unenforcable.
          The following is a draft proposal for a revised tenancy in layman's language, but which could still be legally binding.

                           LANDLORD                               TENANT
BETWEEN~                                         AND~
ADDRESS~                                            ~

TEL:                                                               :     
GROUND AREA:                       square metres
RENTAL VALUE:   £                                    
AMENITY CHARGES:   £                            
                   [ e.g. water / buildings / electricity standing charge]

[This tenancy is in accordance with the Small-holdings and Allotments Acts 1908 and 1950.]

PAYMENT   The rent and amenity charges administered by the landlord should be paid in January when the bill will be sent to the tenant by post. The rent is paid three months in advance and nine months in arrears. New tenants taking on plots which are in good condition before July will be liable for the full amount of the rent in January of the following year. New tenants taking on plots either in the second half of the year or plots which are neglected or abandoned will not be billed for rent for one year after the date the tenancy commences, but may still be liable for amenity charges. Please inform the landlord of any change of address.  

NON-PAYMENT   If the rent remains unpaid for longer than a period of six weeks, a reminder will be issued. If the bill is still unpaid after another 4 weeks, it will be assumed that the tenant has terminated the tenancy and notice of eviction will be posted at the site of the allotment itself. After a further period of 4 weeks, the plot will be re-let to another tenant.

1. Keep all cultivable soil on the allotment free from weeds
and in a good state of fertility.
2. Keep the soil free from noxious contaminants
[e.g. glass, plastics, metals, asbestos etc.]
3. Keep the site access track adjacent to their plot clear of obstacles.
4. Ensure that the plot is accessible to visual inspection
by maintaining hedges at no more than 1.5 m.
5. Repair and maintain any buildings erected on the plot
to the highest standard possible.
6. The tenant will be liable for removing any perennials / permanent infrastructure
at the termination of the tenancy.

RESTRICTIONS   The tenant is NOT permitted to:
1. Cause any nuisance or annoyance to neighbouring plot-holders.
2. Cause excessive disruption to the natural environment either on their plot
or in its environs, including water, mineral and soil extraction.
3. Use the allotment for business, trade, profit or the generation of any income except to meet costs already incurred in developing the plot. 
4. Sublet the plot to another party.
5. Use the allotment as a permanent residence or place of abode.
6. Use the water supply for anything other than filling butts and containers.
7. Use hoses attached to the water supply without due attention
to the needs of others.
8. Use barbed wire, razor wire or any other features which may cause severe injury.
9. Erect any new permanent structures without obtaining the written consent
of the landlord's agent.
10. Light frequent or slow-burning bonfires, burn plastics and synthetic materials,
or generate any other form of air pollution.

1. The tenant and one or more other parties may agree to share the use of the plot by written agreement. If this is registered with the landlord's agent, a joint tenancy will be issued, providing the co-tenants supply a single contact address and agree to pay the rent in a single sum.
2. Tenants wishing to keep [or increase the number of] animals or livestock on their plot should first apply to the landlord's agent for written consent.
3. In the unfortunate event of the death of the tenant, first refusal will be offered to a relative or close friend of the tenant.

TERMINATION    Notice to Quit will be issued in the following circumstances:
1. Failure to pay rent and/or amenity charges promptly.
2. Failure to abide by the regulations as specified in the tenancy agreement above.
3. If the land on the site is required for statutory developments authorised by the Secretary of State.




We have successfully raised £7,500 to be spent over 18 months,
from SEPTEMBER 1999 TO MARCH 2001
We have made a committment to organise at least six workshops and conferences,
promoting locally-grown food topics, in line with the agenda set out by
the Soil Association’s Food Futures project.
This funding will be administered by the Healthy Gardening Group.

Several areas of interest have been identified including allotments,
food poverty and community regeneration, sustainability, links between rural and urban communities, organic food production; training and education.

Richard Clare of Sheffield Organic Food Initiative has prepared this paper  to set out some ideas for the first of these subjects.

Aims and objectives:
1. Raise the profile of allotments
2. Develop a wide concensus in support of allotment culture
3. Explain the potential benefits for the wider community
4. Engage support from statutory authorities (council /    health authority etc.)

Consult with       1. John martin
                                2. Allotments federation
                                3. Leisure services committee
Contact and liaise with allotments policy review
Attend objective one roadshow (9/7/99)
Attend allotments coalition trust meeting; oxford 24 / 7 / 99

Allotments performance and publicity
Darrell maryon of sofi has arranged for a theatrical group touring a show celebrating allotments culture to visit sheffield, in november 1999, in heeley.
This and other events can be used to publicise allotments and the conference.

Allotments conference (january or february 2000)
Venue size/               50-100 people; quaker meeting house or
Attendance                100-200 people; crookesmoor training centre
Format: presentation to whole meeting  + topical workshops
                + windup session
Guest speakers?




  • To announce and explain food futures allotments conference / workshops.
  • Bring together all interested parties: range of tenants / passive support / wider society / potential tenants
  • Independent (non-council) initiative. We are allotmenters ourselves.
  • To help empower people to improve allotments.
  • Realise potential of allotments: community / social / cultural / training / educational  / economic / recycling / local food / organic / sustainability


Facts and figures (statistics) to inform and support what changes plotholders would like to see, and participate in.

Mailout with bills at year end?    Number of copies?    Deadline?
Freepost reply to Healthy Sheffield?   Data processing?    Translation?                  

name /      age /           address /          phone /            
work full-time / part-time             / unemployed /                   retired
disposable income (after rent, rates,  bills )  per  week
plot & site /         how long? /
Other users (family / friends / shared )?

Hours spent on allotment per year?
How much cultivated?
How much does your allotments benefit your health?
Do you grow organic?
Are you part of or do you know of any groups or organisations using allotments?
Where do you get manure / compost / organic matter / fertilisers?
What products do you use on your allotment?
Where do you buy them?

OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS (use other side of paper).
Any further comments on these questions.
What are your ideas on how to improve allotments in Sheffield?



Financially, an allotment at about £25 per year (including water charge)  is more than fifty times cheaper than renting a room (at £25 per week).
How many rooms cover an area of 300 square yards (250 m²)?

A fraction of the money spent on unnecessary prestige projects such as the World Student Games could have completely regenerated all the allotment sites in Sheffield.  There are many simple and straightforward initiatives that can be made to improve allotment provision for us all.

NEW SITES NEAR POPULATION CENTRES — designed by the people who are going to use them.
REGENERATE OLD SITES — the residual fertility from over 70 years of cultivation can be reclaimed.
ORGANIC-BASED IMPROVEMENTS — provide long-lasting effects when compared with short-term mechanical and chemical methods.
SHARED/COMMUNITY/GROUP PLOTS — should be encouraged, taking into account patterns of social organisation.
INTER-AGENCY APPROACH — combining the skills and experience of different professions, such as health, social services, employment services etc.
ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING — assessing the beneficial side-effects and potential savings of improvements in the local environment.
ALLOTMENTS ADVISORS — to provide authoritative advice on site, aspect, soil, infrastructure, contaminants etc. to new and established plot-holders.
REDIRECT WASTE FLOWS — disposal problems of such items as autumn leaves and vegetable refuse can be solved by recycling them into the soil at local processing points.
DECONSTRUCTION INSTEAD OF DEMOLITION — useful materials such as windows and doors could be removed and re-used (e.g. Kelvin flats).

Back to Case Studies.

Back to Organic Guru Home.