Allotment Tours and Site Inspections

My allotment site has several new site representatives – they are each responsible for visiting and reporting back on a block of allotments. Because I’m also pretty new, I grabbed the chance to go round with them, as our Site Supervisor showed them allotments that met the various categories we use for inspections:
*100% = an allotment in full cultivation
*75% = the standard every allotment should meet after it’s been in cultivation by a tenant for 6-9 months (depending on the season) where three-quarters of the allotment should be in cultivation
*Weed notice = a plot that hasn’t been adequately cultivated
*Termination notice = this happens after three weed notices have been issued or when some other circumstance means that the tenant has broken their tenancy agreement.

Of course we, like most allotment volunteers, don’t actually get to issue any notices – that’s done by the council who own the land on which we grow our crops. So sometimes a site rep will ask for a weed notice, or a termination, and the council will issue that notice but then the tenant will write to the Council and manage to get the decision reversed. This can cause grief on the site, where neighbours may have been complaining for months about weeds or trees or rubbish, and expecting their site rep to ‘sort it out’, only to find the rep has been overruled by the Council. On the other hand, sometimes the Council gets information we’re not privy to, for example when an allotment tenant has a long term illness to contend with but still hopes to return to full health and to their plot – and obviously, nobody wants to remove one of their incentives to recovery by taking away their allotment!

So it’s a bit of a balancing act. As an example, one gent has been asked to cut down trees that are preventing other allotments getting their fair share of sun. On our site, the rule is no trees over 2 metres in height. He’s cut the trees on one plot, but he has another plot on which the trees are still full height … so we start the process all over again.

It’s been fascinating to take the site rep tour, and it’s given me a new insight into how difficult it can be to solve the problem of an ever-increasing waiting list alongside the current tenant’s rights to deal with their plot as they choose. And I’m glad that I’m only the Secretary …

(And in case you're wondering, this plot would be given a weed notice!)

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Saturday, February 28, 2009


Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

I think you'd be better off giving that plot a lawn mower now, rather than a weed notice :)

March 1, 2009 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Matron said...

Such hard work to start an allotment from scratch, particularly when it has been neglected. Start at one end and do a bit at a time!

March 3, 2009 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Paul and Melanie said...

It's interesting to see how things are done on different sites. We've got a waiting list on ours but also have plots that have had zero cultivation since I've been there (just over a year) which leads me and my fellow plot holders feeling very sorry for the enthusiastic people on the waiting list.

March 4, 2009 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

It is a tough job, and I don't envy the site reps, who work really hard for not much thanks!

March 4, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for the enthusiastic people who get termination notices during an unavoidable busy few weeks and slight relaxation after thier main harvest time :( And then the difficulty to get a response when an appeal is lodged or to be told that they dont have time to deal with individual cases as many of my neighbours have been experiencing recently. I have worked hard for 4 years developing my plot on a very tight budget. As a single mum i have become quite dependant on it and it is the love of my life and very precious to me. After just one warning giving 4 weeks allowance, during the busiest month of my year, came a termination notice even though I have worked so hard all year and had great productivity. I think the council should be pressured to supply more funds to be available to aquire more land for allotment sites to suit the growing demands of the people. A half plot is not enough space to feed my family of 3 all the vegetables that we need for a healthy diet. Original full size plots should be preserved wherever possible. People should be given the usual 2 or 3 chances to catch up with themselves before termination orders are sent out at the very least as this doesnt seem to have happened this year. This seems such a hardline approach that is unfair and unnecessary to many of the people who are experiencing this right now. I would love to know how to contact the site reps or whoever I can from the Lower Roedale site as I have only just found out that site reps exist and could really do with some support and advice. My plot has already been made spic and span over the past 3 days (even today in that glorious rain), was not much work at all and a great pleasure so am not prepared to give it all up and just hand over the keys!

October 24, 2009 at 3:23 PM  

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