Hackney Allotment Society

the local allotment society of Hackney, north east London

Neglected plots policy

Background

1. It is considered a privilege to have one of the 125 plots available for allotments in Hackney and one of the stipulations in the Tenancy Agreement, signed by all plotholders, is that the plot will be kept under proper cultivation throughout the year (para 4).

2. We are also mindful of the length of the waiting lists (since 2008 closed to new members) and of the public visibility of plots that are not being properly cultivated.

3. Health and safety is also a consideration, in that paths must be kept clear for other plotholders and visitors to the site.

4. The following features indicate a neglected plot:

  1. Less than two thirds of the plot is being worked
  2. No work has been done for two months within the year’s growing season, without reason being given to the site rep
  3. The plot is cultivated but has been neglected for some time and is overgrown with weeds

5. There may be circumstances under which a plotholder is unable to cultivate his/her plot – illness, disability, short-term work abroad, etc. In these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the plotholder to inform his/her site representative of their absence from the allotment, to give the reason for this absence, a time when they expect to return and arrangements for caretaking if away for less than a year (during which plotholder remains responsible). If away for more than a year, the plotholder will have to give up the plot but on return will go to the top of waiting list if the plot was left in good order. Arrangements should be made and agreed with site rep in advance, in order to avoid any complaint about a neglected plot.

6. The purpose of this process is to ensure that no plot remains unused during the growing season (March-November) and that neglected plots are re-allocated promptly.

Procedure

7. Each site representative is to review the use of plots on their site by the end of March, and to speak with any plotholder whose plot looks uncultivated. Any plotholder spoken to will be expected to undertake work on their plots immediately. The site representative will report to the April Committee meeting on any uncultivated plots, and at that point, the Committee will decide which plots should be sent a Neglected Plot Letter.

8. Anyone receiving a Neglected Plot Letter has two weeks to confirm by email/in writing that they intend to undertake work or give up the plot. Those wishing to continue will have six weeks from the date of the Neglected Plot Letter to bring the plot up to an acceptable standard.

9. The site representatives will make a further report to the May Committee meeting on progress, and any plotholder considered to have made inadequate progress will receive an email/letter warning them that there will be a Notice to Quit at the end of the six week deadline if improvements are not immediately undertaken.

10. This procedure will also be applied during the growing season i.e. site representatives will review the use of plots on their site each month, discuss with any plotholder whose plot looks uncultivated and report to each Committee meeting on any plots remaining uncultivated, with the Committee deciding which will receive a Neglected Plot Letter.

11. At the end of the six week deadline, the site representative and one other committee member not from that site will review the plots and request a Notice to Quit to be sent to any plotholder whose plot is still neglected. Anyone receiving a Notice to Quit has two weeks to remove their personal possessions from the site and return their key to the site representative.

12. The plotholder has one week from the date of the Notice to Quit to write to the committee appealing the decision. If no appeal is made, the plot will immediately be allocated to the next appropriate person from the waiting list. The decision of the committee is final, with no further appeals possible.

13. A plotholder will normally be permitted a maximum of two Neglected Plot Letters in any rolling five year period. If the need to issue a third Neglected Plot Letter arises in this period then a Notice to Quit will be issued in its stead.

27 November 2012