APPLYING FOR AN ALLOTMENT
How do I get an allotment?
Anyone who lives in the Chesham area can apply for an allotment on either of our sites in the town – Cameron Road or Asheridge Road.
Contact Chesham Town Council on 01494 774842, or via the contact form and they can put you on the waiting list and advise about possible plots that might suit you.
How big is an allotment plot?
The size of an allotment is quoted in ‘poles’. A pole equals 16.5 feet. A typical plot on one of our sites will be either 5 or 10 poles. A 5 pole plot is approximately equal to 126.5 square metres or 151.3 square yards. This usually means that a plot will be 5m wide by 25m long.
How much does an allotment cost?
Asheridge Road site
£3.90 per pole/per 25.3 square metres, per annum
So the 2018 cost of a 5 pole plot is £19.50 per annum
£3.40 per pole/per 25.3 square metres, per annum
So the 2018 cost of a 5 pole plot is £17.00 per annum
Allotment rents are automatically due on October 1st of each year. Payments can be made at the Chesham Town Council offices. Alternatively, please send a cheque in the post quoting your plot number.
What am I paying for?
Plot rents go towards Council costs for upkeep of the site.
- mains water supply
- site security measures
- mowing of the paths
- upkeep of the fences and gates.
The finances of the Chesham Allotment Group (CAG) are completely separate from the annual rental fees and the CAG is not financially underwritten by the Town Council.
CAG accounts are published each year by the Treasurer at the AGM.
Are there any additional costs?
Yes. You will be asked to provide a deposit at the start of your tenancy; this will include payment for a key.
Is there a waiting list?
Chesham Town Council operates a waiting list. Any offer of a tenancy will remain open for 14 days. Applicants should be aware that Chesham Town Council will only make TWO plot offers. If an applicant does not reply to any plot offer, they will be removed immediately from the waiting list.
If I do not accept the plot that I have been offered, can I go back on the waiting list?
Yes, we send two offer letters to those on the waiting list, and then the name is removed if they do not respond. Therefore, if the first offer is declined, there will be a second offer.
How are allotments allocated?
Once on the waiting list, applicants are allocated a plot on a strictly ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. When your name hits the top you’ll be asked to make contact and arrange viewings of the available plots.
What is the length of tenancy?
Allotment tenancies run annually from October 1st to September 30th and the tenancy is automatically renewed unless you inform the Town Council otherwise. There is no need to sign a new tenancy agreement each year unless any terms and conditions have changed.
What facilities do the allotments have?
- Each of our sites has its own water supply with standpipes and tanks distributed throughout the site. Tenants are encouraged to save rain water to preserve water supplies.
- Our sites also have security fencing and lockable gates to prevent unauthorised access; tenants are provided with keys to access their site.
- There is a communal shed (Focal Point) where periodic social events take place.
- A small car park exists at the main entrance to the site.
- There is a toilet provided by the CAG on the Cameron Road site.
Are the allotments accessible to people with disabilities?
Special provision has been made for disabled gardeners at the Asheridge Road allotment site. Please contact Chesham Town Council for more details.
What condition will my plot be in?
The plot you inherit may be totally dug over and ready to cultivate or, more likely, be overgrown and ready for you to improve. It may have structures such as sheds and greenhouses already on it. You may also inherit mature fruit trees or bushes.
Before you take on a plot you may find our “What do I need to think about before I take on an Allotment” guide useful (link).
WORKING MY ALLOTMENT
It’s a bit harder than I thought – can I share my plot?
No – you can’t. The Allotment Tenancy Agreement specifically prohibits sub or under letting of plots. If you’re struggling with your plot for any reason please contact the Town Council who may be able to halve your plot.
Can my plot be taken away from me?
If you fail to cultivate your plot, keeping it tidy and weed free, you will be served a warning letter. This gives you fair time to sort out any issues. However, if the plot continues to be poorly cultivated you will be sent a 2nd warning letter followed by a Notice to Quit and the plot will be repossessed. If you discover you are having difficulty with the workload please contact Chesham Town Council.
What can I grow on my allotment?
The plots are provided primarily for the growth of fruit and vegetables. Many people grow flowers alongside their produce which helps with pollination and improved the look of the site.
Generally, though, we are happy for you to grow whatever you want on your allotment within reason and within the law! We would just ask that you consider your neighbouring tenants when deciding what to plant.
Can I have a bonfire?
Bonfires are permitted for burning garden waste only. Currently tenants are permitted to have bonfires, weather permitting, every day after 6:00pm, or after 4.00pm during the short winter months. Fires must be attended to at all times with due care and regard to neighbours. We also suggest that you have a hosepipe or water bucket available as a safety measure.
Bonfires can cause concern for other plot holders and allotment site neighbours; therefore, we recommend you only have a bonfire if it is actually necessary, please see the Town Council’s Bonfire Guidelines (link) and ensure that you consider others when setting a bonfire and that you are check the bonfire pile for wildlife before lighting.
The allotment that I have been allocated is overgrown, will you clear it for me?
No. You should inspect any plot offered to you and if you do have any concerns with the condition of the plot, please let the Town Council know before accepting the tenancy.
There is a lot of rubbish on my plot, will you take it away for me?
You must let us know before accepting your tenancy about any waste discovered on the plot. The Council can remove some large items of non-organic waste if necessary by prior agreement, but the decision to do this is made on a case by case basis. When clearing your plot, it might be that you unearth a lot of waste. The Council might deem it as an unreasonable amount for you to clear, and a decision is made on a case by case basis.
Do I need to apply for permission to put up a shed, greenhouse or polytunnel on my plot?
Yes, please reply in writing to Chesham Town Council stating the size of the shed and giving a map of its location on the plot.
Do I need to apply for permission to plant fruit frees on my plot?
I have recently taken on a plot which has existing fruit trees on it. Can I cut these down?
No. If there are existing fruit trees or structures, please contact us prior to removing them. The decision is made on a case by case basis.
Is water provided on site?
Water is provided on all our sites, and your rent goes toward paying for this amenity. However, the use of a hose pipe to directly water the plot is not permitted. A hosepipe may be used to refill a water butt only.
All tenants are encouraged to collect their own rainwater. This is especially important during periods of drought. Many tenants also get very creative in their ways of collecting water, erecting a roof structure made out of corrugated plastic with guttering and water buckets.
The plot allocated to me is too large can I have a smaller one?
If your plot is 125m2 or larger, then we could divide it, let the other half and amend your annual rent. However, if your plot size is smaller than 125m2 we would need to transfer you to another plot when the first one becomes available. The minimum plot size that we do is 50m2, although we no longer create 50m2 plots as they are deemed too small.
The plot allocated to me is too small can I have larger one?
Yes, we can transfer you to a larger plot once it becomes available.
Can I keep animals or bees on my plot?
No. Current site rules do not allow the keeping of any animals or bees.Dogs are welcome at allotment sites with you, on a lead, and supervised at all times. Pick up any dog mess and dispose of it off site.
Where can I get good quality and reasonable priced materials for the allotment?
There are many local garden centres that have a variety of supplies for your allotment. Also, there are often items offered for free on local Freecycle websites, for example. See links
Composting on my allotment plot?
There are many websites and books to advise what can be composted, and methods to do this, Chesham Town Council have an arrangement with Get Composting for deals on compost bins, however there are lots of useful tips on their website too. Please bear in mind that bringing external sources of organic matter may constitute unlawful disposal. Please speak to your CAG representative for more guidance.
Can I use water from the standpipes?
Yes, but please be aware that other tenants also need to use them. You can use the standpipe, but you cannot attach a hose connection except to refill water butts. The tap should be available to all nearby allotment holders.
It is advised that recycling rain water is a better option, as the natural water is better for plants – water butts are readily available in shops and through the council.
How do I water my plot?
Only use watering cans and/or buckets. The use of a hose pipe to directly water the plot is not permitted. A hosepipe may be used to refill a water butt only. The ‘mains’ water supply to both sites is turned on between April and October. If possible, have a rainwater butt on your plot.
Do not wash tools, produce, food etc. in the tanks as this contaminates the water with dirt and organic matter which rots.
Will the Council deliver manure, leaves, grass cuttings, compost or woodchip to the site?
No. However there is a local farmer who will deliver manure directly to your allotment for a small fee. His name and contact phone number can be found in the Links and Contacts page of this web site or on the Focal Point shed at Cameron Road.
What can I do with the organic waste from my plot which can’t be composted?
Please bag it up and place in your green waste recycling bin at home ( if you pay for one) or take it to the local waste site on Waterside Road.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE ALLOTMENTS
What role does a CAG representative hold?
A site representative should always be your first port of call with any queries and concerns. They are there to represent your site’s views to the Chesham Town Council and assist with resolving any problems on site.
How will the CAG communicate with me?
When you become a new tenant, you will be asked to voluntarily provide us with a telephone number and/or email address. This allows CAG to contact you if there is any sort of emergency on the site and inform you of upcoming social events or urgent news. This contact information is not mandatory and will be kept secure.
To contact the CAG representatives please use the contact form.
I have moved but I still reside in the Chesham area, can I transfer to another site which is closer to my new home?
Yes, just contact the Chesham Town Council, and they will offer you the next available plot at your chosen site.
Can I get my plot strimmed and rotavated by the Council?
No. Neither Chesham Town Council nor the CAG provide a strimming or rotavating service.
I have moved out of the area, can I still rent a plot?
No, our allotments are only to be rented by residents within the area of Chesham.
My husband/wife/partner/friend who I was working the plot for no longer wants to do it/has died/moved away/is ill – can I put the Allotment Tenancy Agreement in my name?
No. Unfortunately you will need to go through the standard allotment allocation process. Although you may be given special consideration this cannot be guaranteed and allocation may involve placing your name on the waiting list.
If a friend or family member is helping me, can I have a tenancy in a joint name?
Unfortunately, no. We can record a co-worker on your tenancy agreement who is permitted to work your plot without your presence, however the contract is between yourself and the Chesham Town Council. If you should give up you plot, the Council may allocate the plot to an individual who has been a named co-worker with the named tenant. The Council will consider any such requests on a case by case basis and the Council’s decision is final. There is no charge to make someone a co-worker.
How do I notify you that I want to give up my allotment?
As the tenancy agreement is a legal document between yourself and Chesham Town Council, you must notify Chesham Town Council either in writing or by email.
Are there rules I should stick to?
Yes, when you become a tenant you will receive a copy of the Allotment Rules which form part of the tenancy agreement. Please read these carefully, and abide by them always.
A minimum standard of cultivation is expected so that all tenants on the site can enjoy allotment gardening to the full.
What if I can’t maintain my plot?
When you first agree to take on a plot, you will agree to reach a minimum cultivation level. This agreement will be based on the initial condition of your plot and will be reasonable. This is to make sure you can commit the time and effort it takes to maintaining a plot. Many people underestimate this, and it is the most common reason for giving a plot up.
If you are unable to meet these commitments, then you must inform the Chesham Town Council who may be able to offer a smaller plot or help in other ways.
What if there are thefts or vandalism on my plot?
Please contact the police on the non-emergency line and report it, and pass the incident number and details onto your CAG representative so that they can advise the Council and other plot holders.
How often are plots inspected?
The Town Council and a CAG representative perform inspections four times a year, in which they look to see the state of maintenance of the site plots and to ensure that the Inspection Guidelines are being followed as set out in the welcome pack.
If you are struggling for any reason to manage and maintain your plot, please get in touch with the Town Council or your CAG rep for support and consideration when carrying out these inspections.
Are the allotments secure?
The site is surrounded by a fence and the gates padlocked, however you should not keep valuables on site and any items kept on your plot are kept at your own risk.
Can I share or sub-let my allotment plot?
Plots cannot be sub-let- neither all nor part of a plot. You can give up part of your plot, but the surrendered part will be offered to the person at the top of the waiting list. The tenancy agreement is with one named individual, there are no joint tenancies. Of course, you can have help from as many family or friends as you like, but the tenancy will be in your name only.
You can register a co-worker on your plot, who becomes entitled to take it over – provided they have been registered as a co-worker for three years. To register a co-worker, write or email the Town Council with their name, address, telephone number and email address. A tenant can un-register a co-worker in the same way at any time.
Who is responsible for the paths between plots?
The plot holder. However, responsibilities are usually shared with the neighbouring / adjoining plot holder. The main roads into the plot sites are strimmed and maintained by the Town Council.
What if I have a problem?
Contact the Town Council or a member of the Chesham Allotments Group committee.
What do I do if I don’t recognise someone on the site?
From time to time we have had vandalism and traders dumping unwanted waste. Introduce yourself to them and ask if you can help and which plot they have. Do not confront them. If you are suspicious then contact the council, or in extreme cases contact the police on 101.