Ely Great Farm FAQ’s
1. Can tenants choose the size of the plot they take on?
Yes, depending on what is available when the offer of a plot is made. Most beginners start with smaller plots and apply for a larger plot at a later date once they are sure of the commitment involved.
2. When do I have to pay rent?
If you take on the allotment plot between 2 February and 1 December in the same year, the full year’s rent is due. If you take on the allotment plot between 2 December and 1 February the following year you will be sent an invoice in December for the allotment year which starts on 2 February the following year.
3. How much will it cost?
Depends on the size of the plot. Allotment plots vary in size and are let in multiples of 25sqm known as a “perch”, a full-size plot is 250m² (10 perch). The rent depends on the size of the plot but membership of the Allotment Association is separate and voluntary and is £10 manually to join.
4. I’ve had to give up my plot, will I get a refund?
Depends on how long the tenancy has been running. If you have paid the full rent for the allotment year and have given up after 6 months, you will get a refund for the remaining 6 months, in all other cases, there are no refunds issued. The key deposit is £20, you will get this back when you return the key on surrender of the allotment.
5. Are sheds, greenhouses or polytunnels allowed?
Any structure which you want to install on your allotment plot must have permission in writing before it is installed. A Structure application form should be completed and submitted via your Site Secretary who will provide the form for you.
6. Can tenants fence their allotment plots?
No. As a general rule, fencing of allotment plots is not permitted. However, the Council recognises that some sites have problems with mice and rabbits and will permit the installation of fencing as long as:
Written consent has been given by the Council.
The fencing is less than 1 metre high The fencing is installed within the boundaries of the plot and must not obstruct pathways.
The fencing does not present a hazard to other users. Site Secretaries need to make sure tenants discuss their proposals for rabbit-proof fencing before carrying out any installation. If there are any difficulties the Site Representative should raise the issue with the Council. Any fencing higher than 1m must be reduced to 1m. Tenants should discuss any difficulties with the Site Representative in the first instance who can then discuss any specific requests with the Council.
7. Can tenants have more than one plot?
When demand for allotment plots is high tenants can only take on one allotment plot. However, they can ask to go on the waiting list if they want to swap from a small plot to a larger plot and the waiting list and letting procedures have been followed. If demand reduces, additional plots may be allocated with the following criteria taken into account: Existing tenants wishing to have an additional plot must have their request recorded on the Council’s waiting list and are not the subject of notice for breach of the allotment tenancy agreement for their existing plot. Existing tenants on the waiting list may be offered another plot provided that their total holding does not exceed 250sq m (10 perch) and they are not the subject of a notice for breach of the tenancy agreement. Existing tenants with more than 250sq m (10 perch) may retain their current holdings for the time being, but this may be subject to review in the future. They may not apply for an additional plot.
8. Can tenants use vacant plots?
No. Tenants cannot remove property or crops from plots that appear abandoned, there may be reasons why a plot appears to be uncultivated and any removal of property or crops will be considered theft and your Tenancy Agreement will terminate immediately and without notice.
9. Can tenants swap plots with family/friends?
No. Transferring tenancies is not allowed, but if another family member or friend wants to help out, make sure their details are put on the waiting list and a joint tenancy can be set up.
10. Can tenants share a plot with family/friends?
Yes. If you want to share a plot with family/friends this would be set up as a joint tenancy where more than one person is named on the tenancy agreement form. A joint tenancy can only be put in place if both persons are on the waiting list when a plot is offered.
11. What is a joint tenancy?
A joint tenancy is where more than one person will be gardening the same plot. The person listed first on the tenancy agreement form will receive all correspondence including bills for allotment rent. An existing tenancy can be changed to a joint tenancy as long as the existing plotholder agrees and the other person has had their request recorded on the Council’s allotment waiting list. If the request is approved, a new tenancy agreement form will need to be signed by both persons.
12. What do I do if I’ve lost my key to the gate?
Speak to your Site Secretary who can organise a replacement. You will have to pay a deposit for any keys that are issued, the deposit will be returned when you hand back the key at the end of the allotment tenancy.
13. Can I burn woody material?
No. Fires on allotments are a breach of your tenancy agreement and The Environmental Protection Act 1990. A bonfire night event on or near 5 November will be tolerated as long as the event is organised by the Site Association and the Council has been notified before the event at least 8 weeks before the event is planned to take place. Any burning that takes place at any other time of year is a breach of the tenancy agreement.
14. Can tenants keep bees on their plot?
Subject to consent and specific sites only. Find out if the site you have chosen is considered suitable for keeping bees before you accept the offer of a plot. If the site is considered suitable the Council will carry out a consultation to find out whether there are any objections from plot-holders or neighbouring houses/properties. If there are objections, permission will not be granted. You will not be reimbursed for any equipment/materials purchased if consent is not given. The Council will also take account of any impact on existing pollinator populations in the area near the allotment site. If permission is given, the Council will confirm this in writing and it will be subject to the following conditions:
Hives should be positioned on the approved plot at the agreed location only.
Every effort shall be made to minimise the risk of people being stung.
The tenant shall provide evidence that they have attended a recognised training course and obtained a formal recognised beekeeping qualification before installing the hives.
The tenant shall have valid current public liability/insurance cover in case of personal injury claims.
The tenant shall ensure that the hives are inspected by a recognised beekeeping organisation at least once a year and provide evidence of the inspection to the Council.
15. Can tenants keep chicken on their plot?
Subject to consent and specific sites only. Find out if the site you have chosen is considered suitable for keeping livestock before you accept the offer of a plot. If the site is considered suitable the Council will carry out a consultation to find out whether there are any objections from plot-holders or neighbouring houses/properties. If there are objections, permission will not be granted. You should make your request to Parks Services, in writing and you will need to complete and return an application form. You will be advised whether the allotment site and your plot are considered appropriate for keeping livestock. You will not be reimbursed for any equipment/materials purchased if consent is not given. You must be able to provide evidence of valid insurance and vaccination records.
16. Can tenants plant trees on their plot?
Tenants can plant fruit trees only, subject to the following conditions:
All fruit trees must be maintained so as to not exceed 4m in height (14ft), a dwarfing rootstock is strongly recommended (M9 or similar).
Fruit trees must not obstruct pathways and must not cause shading to adjacent plots or neighbouring land. A maximum of two fruit trees on a dwarfing rootstock will be permitted on a 250sqm (10 perch) plot.
A single fruit tree on a dwarfing rootstock will be permitted on plots smaller than 250sqm (10 perch).
You are responsible for pruning fruit trees on your allotment plot Tenants are not permitted to plant broadleaved, conifer, willows species or bamboo species either on their allotment plot or on the allotment site.
17. Are dogs allowed on the allotment site?
Dogs are allowed on the allotment site as long as they remain on your plot. They must not be allowed to roam the site or wander onto or defecate on other plots.
18. Can children visit the site?
Provided they remain on your plot and are supervised at all times. The allotment site is not a playground. Children may not visit the site without an appropriate adult.
19. Can I use carpets or tyres for ground cover or temporary planters?
No, carpets or tyres must not be brought onto the allotment site, these items will be considered as fly-tipping which is a breach of the allotment tenancy agreement. There are many preferable alternative ground covers. If the Site Representative has approached a tenant and asked them to remove carpets or tyres from their plot and they have refused, tenants should be advised that if they do not remove the carpets or tyres when requested, Parks Services will begin enforcement action to deal with the fly tipping and end the allotment tenancy.
20. How should pests be dealt with?
The Council deals with the following pests on an allotment site: Rats Wasps In the event of pests being identified, the Site Secretary should contact the Allotments Officer who will arrange for Pest Control to visit the site. Please note: Slow worms are not a pest and are an endangered species. Harming slow worms is an offence under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and anyone identified as causing harm could be liable to prosecution. Wild bee swarms should be reported to the Allotments Officer who will make appropriate arrangements to have the swarm relocated. The Council does not deal with: Moles, Pigeons, Rabbits Mice ,Foxes
21. Can I use chemicals/pesticides?
Yes, but you should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and take care not to spray neighbouring plots. The Allotment Association does not encourage it and try and be as green as possible. Tips on nature-friendly gardening can be sought from committee members.
22. Can I use a hosepipe?
No. Using a hosepipe is a breach of the allotment tenancy agreement. Most sites have water troughs or a standpipe for you to fill watering cans. If you have a shed/greenhouse, you should collect rainwater in water butts. Check the site noticeboard which will have details of any upcoming sales of water butts.
23. What do I do if my crops are vandalised and/or stolen?
You should report the theft/damage to the Non Emergency number 101, you should also inform your Site, Secretary.
24. What do I do if my property is vandalised and/or stolen?
You should report the theft/damage to the Non Emergency number 101, you should also inform your Site, Representative. It is your responsibility to insure your own property against loss or damage.
25. What can I do about nuisance neighbours?
Contact your Site Secretary, but also let us know via C2C, Tel: (029)20872087
26. What can I do about anti-social behaviour?
You should report this to the Non Emergency number 101, but also let us know via C2C, Tel: (029)20872087.
27. What happens if there is an emergency?
You should telephone the emergency services but also let us know via C2C, Tel: (029)20872087 and let the Site Secretary know after the emergency has been dealt with.