Rules and guidance when renting an allotment in Southampton

Everything you need to know when renting an allotment from Southampton City Council (SCC).

The Allotment Acts 1908 – 1950 and your Tenancy Agreement give the terms and conditions of your allotment tenancy. The sites are owned by SCC and as such they require certain standards of behaviour, in line with the Tenancy Agreement and the Allotments Act, to ensure that their property is maintained correctly, good practice is maintained and to ensure that neighbours and other plot holders are not inconvenienced.

Under section (xx) of your tenancy agreement the Council has the ability to enforce additional rules which fall outside of the agreement itself. These rules have been developed over the years in consultation with allotment holders and try to strike a balance between allowing people freedom to work their plot whilst ensuring they do not infringe on other allotment holders.

Therefore the following is a list of rules which SCC expect its allotment holders to comply with. Reports of none compliance will be investigated and assessed on a case by case basis. In some cases the offence can lead to immediate termination of the agreement and in others it may be a warning. If two warnings are issued then on the third we will terminate the agreement.

If you break any of the following 7 rules it will lead to immediate termination of your agreement.

Rule Number Rule Action Taken
T1
You MUST pay your allotment rent within 30 days of receiving your invoice.
Immediate Termination of Agreement
T2
You are not allowed to remove anything from a vacant plot, including sheds, greenhouses, plants, crops, etc unless given permission by the Site Rep or Allotment Officer.
Immediate Termination of Agreement
T3
You must not use any abusive or threatening behaviour on site, be it physical or verbal.
Immediate Termination of Agreement
T4
You must not fly tip any materials, arisings or rubbish from your allotment plot, or from off site, anywhere else on the allotment site, this includes onto vacant plots, footpaths, roads and ditches. (N.B. You will be informed if there are specific areas you can tip waste, please contact your site rep).
Immediate Termination of Agreement, possible prosecution
T5
You must not take any one else’s produce or property from their plot without their permission.
Immediate Termination of Agreement, possible prosecution
T6
You are not permitted to carry or use a firearm at any time on site, without prior written permission from Southampton City Council.
Immediate Termination of Agreement, possible prosecution
T7
The use of snares is strictly forbidden for catching wildlife using the site.
Immediate Termination of Agreement, possible prosecution


The following rules will usually result in a warning if they are broken.

Each case will be investigated on its merits; the types of evidence we look at include (but are not restricted to) written evidence submitted, witness statements, complaints received, physical evidence on site, police statements, recorded interviews, photographs etc. Any complaints of witness statements can only be accepted in writing signed by the plot holder making the allegations.

We can not accept third party or anonymous statements or allegations. If you have any worries or concerns over other peoples actions or conduct then please do call us or come in for a chat.

In the case of non-cultivation there is only one warning given, if your plot is not brought up to an acceptable condition within the timeframe set out in the warning then we will serve a repossession for which there is no appeal.

If you do bring your plot up to an acceptable standard but then let it fall into non-cultivation again we will serve another warning, however we will only do this three times in a three year period before repossessing the plot.

Although all of the below carry a warning there may be cases where they are extreme enough for us to go straight to an immediate termination. You will be kept informed of any decision we make and the reasons for it.

Rule Number Rule Action Taken
W1
You must cultivate at least 50% of your plot (by this we mean preparing the ground, planting, growing and harvesting crops/flowers) and the remainder must be cut down and free from weeds (the area must look maintained). From the start of your tenancy agreement you have a two month period in which enforcement for non cultivation is not applicable.
One Warning only (letter of non-cultivation)
W2
You must not cause a nuisance to other plot holders or neighbouring properties - nuisance could include bad or racist language, getting drunk, playing loud music, bonfires etc.
Warning
W3
You must erect a clearly visible number on your plot.
Warning
W4
You must always ensure you lock the gates when entering and leaving the site.
One warning only – Termination of Agreement for second offence
W5
You must not use a sprinkler to water crops. Use water sparingly, you can use a hand held hosepipe to water your crops or fill up a water butt, please note that at certain times there may be restrictions.
Warning
W6
You must get permission from the Allotment Officer if you wish to erect sheds, greenhouses, poly tunnels etc. If you wish to keep chickens or ducks on your plot you must agree to the terms and conditions of keeping them by signing and returning a form. Also your chicken structure must be approved by the Council animal welfare officer before you will be allowed to have chickens. Maximum number of chickens allowed is 10 and no cockerels.
Warning – asked to remove the item at own cost or charged for removal by Council
W7
You can bring your dog on site as long as it's kept strictly under control at all times and only kept on your plot. Please make sure that you clear up any mess left by your dog and dispose of off site. All sites have Dog Control orders making it illegal to leave dog fouling or to take your dog off of a lead on allotment sites, and these will be enforced if strict control of dogs is not adhered to.
Warning
W8
You are not allowed to go onto other plots unless you have been given permission to do so by the plot holder or Allotment Officer. If you have children on-site they should be supervised at all times and should not be allowed to stray onto other plots.
Warning
W9
You are not allowed to sublet your plot. By subletting we mean if a plot is wholly being worked by someone different than the named plot holder. The named plot holder must be present on site at least 50% of the time.
Warning
W10
You must not exceed the 5 mile speed limit.
One warning only – Termination of Agreement for second offence
W11
You are not permitted to plant any trees other than fruit trees on your plot.
Warning – Asked to remove any trees at own cost or charged for removal by the Council
W12
You are not allowed to use your plot for any trade or business.
Warning
W13
You are not allowed to use carpets on allotment plots.
Warning - Asked to remove carpets at own cost or charged for removal by the Council
W14
You are not allowed to bring in or use tyres on site.
Warning – Asked to remove tyres at own cost or charged for removal by the Council
W15
You must not bring in, burn or store rubbish on site.
Warning - Asked to remove rubbish at own cost or charged for its removal by the council
W16
You are not allowed to dig up or obstruct paths between plots.
Warning - Asked to reinstate the path at own cost or charged for the reinstatement by the Council
W17
You are not allowed to give your key to other people or allow them to visit your plot unsupervised.
Warning
W18
Using concrete on plots for bases, securing posts etc. will be discouraged but in some cases it may be considered an improvement. Therefore prior approval must be sought for using concrete on plots. If permission is not requested and the use of concrete is not considered as acceptable a warning will be issued.
Warning – asked to remove the base/concrete at your own cost or charged for removal by the Council


Allotments
are often busy places with many allotment holders all sharing the site and working in close proximity with each other.

People differ in the way they manage and maintain their allotment plots and this may not be the same as the way you would do it yourself.

We therefore ask that all plot holders have respect for their neighbouring plot holders and tolerate the different approaches to allotment holding that they will see on site.

The following guidance is set out to help make the allotments a better place for everyone and help to keep it in good order, for future users.

Guidance Number Guidance
G1
You can plant herbs and flowers as well as fruit and vegetables.
G2
You can have a small lawn area as long as it's regularly mown.
G3
You can build a pond, as long as it's built in a way that's not dangerous to people and animals. For advice contact the Allotment Officer.
G4
Fruit bushes/fruit trees must be compact and of a small growing variety, you must also maintain the area around them.
G5
Paths either side of your plot must be maintained. If unsure which path is yours please ask your site rep.
G6
You are actively encouraged to compost green waste on your plot and one way of doing this would be to have a Compost Bin, however please do not let this encroach onto any paths.
G7
Report damaged fences to the site rep or the Allotment Officer.
G8
Keep an eye out for anybody you don’t know on site and don’t be afraid to ask them what they are doing.
G9
Always inform the Allotment Officer if you change address.
G10
If you vacate your plot or are evicted all belongings must be removed by the given date. If you vacate your plot during the rent year there is no notice period. However plot holders vacating at the end of the rent year (31st October) must give notice by 1st October otherwise their plot deposit will not be refunded for insufficient notice.
G11
We do allow bees on some sites, but not usually on people’s plots. Please enquire if you wish to keep bees and we will see if there is anywhere suitable on your site. If we get complaints we will ask for them to be removed again.
G12
You are not allowed to block communal pathways.
G13
You are not allowed to have bonfires that cause a nuisance, or leave fires unattended. Only burn dry material on suitable days.
G14
Rent discounts apply to plot holders over 60 and Smart City Card holders.
G15
The tenancy agreement can only be held in one name but plot holders sometimes share a plot with family and friends. In these cases the named plot holder must be present on site at least 50% of the time and you will need to make sure that the Allotment Officer has the contact details of whoever is sharing. The person sharing must be a Southampton resident or live within a one mile radius.


Failure on the part of Council to not enforce any of the rules above can not be seen as a waiver of that rule and does not in any way remove the Council’s ability to enforce the rule again in the future.