Brighton & Hove Allotment Rules (January 2010 - Final draft)

For reading in advance and signing off at site representatives meeting on 6.30pm 20/1/10 at Patcham Community Centre.  All in italics are new or updated rules. Additional rules will not be discussed. Minor clarifications may be suggested.

1 Assignment / Sub-letting / Co-working

1.1 The tenancy of an allotment is personal to the tenant named in the agreement.

1.2 The tenant may not assign, sublet or part with possession or control of all or any part of their allotment.

1.3 The tenant may share cultivation by registering a co-worker. Co-workers must sign an agreement, countersigned by the tenant and sent to the council.

1.4 Within the first three months the tenant is within a probationary period if the tenant chooses to return the allotment to the council during this period the tenant will have rental returned minus a £25.00 administration fee.  If the tenant undertakes no significant work to a plot within the first three months of receiving the plot then the tenancy will be terminated and the plot returned to council for re-letting.

2 Cultivation and weed control

2.1 The cultivated area is defined as the area that is cultivated for crop or flower production.  Cultivation requires the tenant to regularly dig, mulch, prune or weed 75% of the plot. Compost bins, glass houses, water buts, poly-tunnels and fruit cages are also included within the cultivated area, as are ornamental flower crops. Areas of lawn or meadow are not included within the cultivated area.

2.2  Allotments must be kept clean and maintained in a good state of cultivation (minimum 75% in cultivation) and fertility throughout the year. An area that is annually cleared of weeds yet remains largely un-cropped or planted during any one year will be considered as non cultivated.  The whole plot, including any uncultivated/leisure areas, must be kept tidy, safe and free from flowering weeds.

2.3 Allotments that have areas that are not suitable for production - such as heavily shaded areas, excessively sloping land or impoverished or polluted soils - may be allowed extended lawn and wildflower / conservation areas. Extended grass areas must be agreed with a council officer.

2.4  It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the plot free of weeds that cause a nuisance to adjoining tenants. Where on inspection or as the result of complaints, a plot with weeds is identified the tenant will be sent a weed notice letter. A further inspection will be carried out up to 8 weeks after the notice period has expired, and if there are no improvements in cultivation a notice of termination will be sent. 

3 Trees and invasive plants

3.1 Tenants must not, without consent of an authorised officer, cut or prune trees outside of their own allotment; plant any trees which will exceed a height of 2.0 metres; and/or allow self-seeded trees to grow on their allotment (especially any that are growing through a perimeter fence).

3.2 All trees, bushes and hedging over 2 metres in height are in breach of allotment rules and will lead to a notice and possible termination.

3.3 Fruit trees are permitted but will normally be include within the 25% of non cultivated area and must grow no higher than 2 metres in height. Tenants who grow fruit trees that exceed 2 metres in height will be ordered to remove problem trees.

3.4 Where fruit trees are planted outside of the 25% non- cultivated leisure area, the soil beneath fruit trees must be planted with productive crops or other plants as specified as within the cultivation rule.

3.5 All fruit trees must be selected so as to avoid breaching the 2 metre height rule.  Trees must be grown on dwarfing rootstocks such as M9 or M26 and pruned so as not to exceed 2 metres in height.  Trees on semi dwarfing rootstocks may be planted but only if grown as restricted forms, being trained and pruned into Cordons or Espaliers. Fruit trees exceeding 2 metres in height may be cut down by the council and removed at the tenant’s expense. 

3.6 The council reserves the right to enter any plot, with or without the consent of the tenant, to remove oversized trees and plants over 2 metres in height as well as cut down excessive and seeding weed growth or overgrown grass. If the removed vegetation has been planted by the tenant then removal costs will be charged to the tenant. Failure to pay for removal costs will result in tenancy termination. 

3.7 Tenants who grow invasive plants such as bamboo in open soil may be put on notice for breach of rules. If the invasive plants are not removed by the tenant then the tenant will be terminated and plants removed at cost to the tenant

4 Hedges and ponds

4.1 Tenants are responsible for maintaining any hedge on or abutting their plot. They should be kept to a maximum height of 2.0m (6’6”) and the sides shall be trimmed at least once per year. 

4.2 Where hedges abut a perimeter boundary, road or vehicular haulage way, the council is responsible for maintaining the outside and top.

4.3 Hedges should not be cut back during the bird nesting season, which runs from 1st March - 1st September. No conifers may be used as hedging, or invasive screening plants such as bamboo.

4.4 The maximum surface area for a pond is 1.5 sq. metres and will be no deeper than 50cm deep. The pond area will be included as part of the non cultivated area. 

4.5 The use of sunken baths as ponds or for water storage is forbidden on safety grounds. Baths being brought onto the allotment space by an existing tenant will be seen as unwanted waste and will result in a tenant being put on notice. 

4.6 Ponds must be temporary and should not be constructed out of concrete or any other hard landscape material. All ponds should be sited at least 2.0m. Distance from any haulage way or path. Tenants are advised to provide secure fencing.

5 Plot use and storage

5.1Tenants must use their allotment and any structures on it for their own personal use and must not carry out any business or sell produce from it (unless sold for the benefit of charity or the allotment association of that site.) Tenants may not use their allotment as a place of residence and/or sleep overnight.

5.2 The allotment is rented to the tenant for the purpose of cultivation of herb, flower, fruit and vegetable crops.

5.3 Only materials for use on the plot may be stored there, such as beanpoles, cloches, pots and netting for seasonal use.

5.4 Construction materials, paving and timber for infrastructure work must be used within 12 months.

5.5 Quantities in excess of the above will be regarded as unacceptable and the tenant ordered to remove them. Failure to do so will result in the materials being removed by the council, the tenant charged with the cost and notice of termination given.

6 Water, Bonfires & Other Restrictions

6.1 Sprinklers are prohibited. Hose pipes may be used to water directly if hand held or to fill water butts, provided this does not prevent other tenants having access to water supplies. 

6.2 Mains water will be available from March 1st to October 31st.   Water supply is subject to season restrictions and hosepipe bans.

6.3 Any form of unattended irrigation, be it open hose flood irrigation or seep hose irrigation is forbidden and may lead to tenancy termination.

6.4 All stand pipes and water buts beneath standpipes will be considered as a common resource and must be shared with surrounding tenants. 

6.5 Bonfires are only permitted for the burning of un-treated or un-painted woody waste. The burning of any materials other than un-treated woody waste – such as plastics, tyres, carpet, MDF, laminated wood - is strictly prohibited and will lead to immediate termination and referral for prosecution. 

6.6 ALL bonfires between April 1st and November 1st must be contained within an incinerator barrel, however small contained fires will be permitted for barbequing.

6.7 Smoke from a bonfire, which could be a nuisance to neighbours by interfering with the use and enjoyment of their garden or property, or could affect the comfort or quality of life of the public, could result in action under the Environment Protection Act of 1990. Tenants who light a fire within 50ft (15.24m) of the centre of a highway may be guilty of an offence under the Highways Act 1980.

6.8 All potentially toxic materials should be removed from the allotment site and disposed of in the relevant civic amenity site. Failure to remove said materials will lead to termination and recovery of removal costs.

6.9 The council reserves the right to prohibit bonfires on a specific plot and/or group of plots.

6.10 Tenants may not remove any mineral, sand, gravel, earth or clay from the allotment gardens without the written permission from an authorised officer.

7 Waste materials and pollutants 

7.1 Waste rules apply to materials brought on site by existing tenants.  It is the responsibility of the new tenant to instruct the council to take away waste left on site within the first month of taking a plot. The new tenant may also gather photographic evidence of any potential polluting materials on site when they take on the plot. 

7.2 Rubbish from external sources may not be deposited on the allotment garden or any other part of the site including any designated rubbish depositing area. Abuse will result in immediate tenancy termination and prosecution

7.3 The bringing on site and use of polluting materials such as tyres, asbestos and carpet shall be treated as illegal disposal of waste and will result in immediate notification and referral for prosecution.

7.4 The bringing on site and use of rubble and hardcore for paths and other forms of construction is prohibited. The bringing on site of tyres, plastic  or metal  materials  such as shelving, angle iron or bath tubs -  as well as other timber and plastic materials not relating to crop production. Bringing such materials on site will result in a notice and possible termination.

7.5 The creation of concrete footings for sheds or green houses, or concrete pads for paving, or any solid brick and cement structures is prohibited.

7.6 The use of glass bottles for any form on construction or raised bed is forbidden and will result in a  notice and possible termination.

7.7 All non-diseased vegetative matter shall be composted and used on the tenant’s allotment. Diseased plants and perennial weeds can be burned in an incinerator.

8 Paths and headlands

8.1 Paths within allotments must be kept free from flowering weeds and long overgrown grass that exceeds 150mm (over 6” high).

8.2 A single main path no wider than 75cm wide, as well as narrow internal paths (being spurs from the main path and being no wider than 50cm wide) will also be included within the cultivated area. Wider paths will be allowed on sloping plots where raised beds require wider access.  

8.3 Paths that exceed the dimensions stated above shall be included within the non cultivated area and may lead to the tenant being put on notice for under cultivation.

8.4  Shared paths between two allotments must be maintained, and kept cut and clipped up to the nearest half width by each adjoining tenant; paths must be kept clear of obstructions at all times.

8.5  All paths should be wide enough for easy pedestrian access to neighbouring tenants’ plots.

8.6 Where car parking or vehicle access is permitted on an allotment site, the tenant must ensure that all haulage ways have free access for other users.

9 Dogs, livestock and bees

9.1 Dogs must not be brought onto allotments or any part of the site unless they are kept on a short lead or otherwise restrained at all times.

9.2 Persistently barking dogs or dogs that have harassed allotment tenants may be barred from allotment sites.

9.3 The Burial of any pets on site is strictly forbidden and will result in termination.

9.4 The placing of beehives on an allotment is subject to acceptance by the tenant of direct responsibility for insurance and compliance with the Bee Keepers Agreement, which will be issued by the authorised officer. 

9.5 The placement of bees on site without a bee agreement will be subject to immediate removal at cost to the tenant and a bee agreement will not be agreed retrospectively.

10 Rent and observance of rules

10.1 A tenant may voluntarily relinquish their allotment garden at any time, or have their tenancy terminated for breach of the tenancy agreement before year end but no rebate will be payable unless the plot is surrendered within the initial 3 month probationary period.

10.2 New tenants will be charged an additional £50 bond which will be held as a deposit to ensure that the tenant returns the plot to the council free of waste materials and in an acceptable condition.

10.3 New tenants will be expected to record initial plot condition by taking picture of the plot at the time of accepting tenancy.  

10.4 Student and unemployed persons concessions will be granted for one year only and the tenant will need to provide proof of on going status for further yearly concessions and if proof is not provided prior to October billing then the concessionary rate will be automatically removed.

10.5 All tenants over the age of 60 will be eligible for a concessionary 25% discount on submission of documented proof of date of birth. Concessionary evidence must be provided prior to October 1st in order to receive concession for the following year.

10.6 The council may increase the rent where any enhanced facilities are provided on a particular site, after consultation with tenants and agreed by 2/3rds of those tenants responding to any survey or questionnaire.

11 Observance of Rules


11.1 Tenants must observe and comply with current rules, regulations and policies, and those which the council may make at any time in the future (e.g. statutory law changes, local restrictions - such as bonfire restrictions). These may be displayed either on notice boards, gates and/or sent with rent invoices/new tenancy agreements/newsletters. Failure to observe rules may lead to termination of tenancies.

11.2 Tenants must comply with any reasonable or legitimate directions given by an authorised officer in relation to an allotment or site.

12 Site safety, security and duty of care

 12.1 Tenants must not discriminate against, harass, bully or victimise any other person/s on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, social origin, language, religion, political or other opinion, belief, gender, marital status, age, sexual orientation, sexuality, medical condition, disability, or disadvantaged by any condition which cannot be shown to be justified.

12.2 No Tenant must cause another tenant harassment, alarm or distress.  Any use of violence or threats of violence or damage to an others property will be grounds for immediate termination of tenancy. 

12.3 Tenants have a duty of care to everyone, including visitors, trespassers and themselves.

12.4 Any structure considered hazardous should be removed after instruction from a council officer. Failure to do so will see the council remove the structure with costs charged to the tenant and may result in termination. 

12.5 Storage of fuels and hazardous materials is prohibited.  Usage of fuels and hazardous materials should be undertaken with caution. If hazardous materials such as asbestos are found on your allotment then please inform your site representative or a council officer.  

12.6 Particular care should be taken when using strimmers, rotovators and other mechanical/powered equipment both in relation to the user and any third party person. Appropriate personal protective equipment should be warn at all times. 

12.7 Unsafe working practices may result in plot termination and the tenant shall be liable for any damage or injury caused by unsafe working practices.

12.8 Haulage ways must not be obstructed - or parked on - by vehicles. Haulage ways may be parked upon for loading and unloading only. Vehicles which frequently and persistently block haulage ways may be barred from allotment sites.

12.9 Tenants may not bring, use or allow the use of barbed or razor wire on the allotment.

12.10 The allotments and site or any structures thereon may not be used for any illegal, immoral or anti-social purpose. Tenants found to have committed an illegal or immoral act will be subject to immediate tenancy termination. 

12.11 In the case of two tenants having a dispute and no one party can be proven as being in breach of any site rules then the council reserves the right to end the tenancy of both parties.

12.12 All tenants and authorised persons must lock gates where provided on entry and departure to prevent access by unauthorised persons or animals. This applies even if the gate is found to be already unlocked on arrival/departure.

13 Unauthorized persons

13.1 Only the tenant, or a person authorised or accompanied by the tenant is allowed on the site.

13.2 The authorised officer or other authorised persons may order any unauthorised person on the site in breach of these rules to leave immediately.

13.3 The tenant is responsible for the behaviour of children and adults visiting the allotment. In an instance where a visitor breaches site rules then the tenant will be held equally responsible. Allotments are not suitable for large private gatherings of 12 people or more. The playing of amplified music is forbidden.

14  Structures

14.1 Sheds and sided structures shall be included within the 25% area allowed for non cultivation. Poly tunnels, glasshouses and fruit cages will be included within the cultivated area.

14.2 Any structure on the allotment must be temporary and maintained in safe order with a neat external appearance and condition. If the council is not satisfied with the state of the structure the tenant must either repair it to the council’s satisfaction or remove the structure within one month of instruction to do so. If the structure is not removed, the council may remove it and charge the tenant the full cost of removal and disposal.

14.3 Tenants may put up one shed and one greenhouse on their plot. Maximum size of shed or greenhouse is, length 3m (metres) x width 2m x height 2.13m (9’x6’x7’). And set on slab and sand foundations. Permission from the authorised officer is required for poly tunnels and size agreed.

14.4 Where a tenant is given a plot with a structure then the tenant should take pictures of structures to disprove liability if structures are seen to be unsafe.

14.5 Any structures erected on the allotment shall not be made from hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos) and the colour shall be in keeping with the natural environment.

14.6 All structures must be adequately secured to the ground to prevent uplift.

14.7 All structures must be kept within the boundary of the allotment and must not be constructed over underground utilities (e.g. water supply pipes). Contact an authorised officer if unsure of location.

Vehicles, tents and caravans

15.1 Motor vehicles may not be parked overnight or deposited on the allotment.

15.2 Overnight erection of tents, yurts and other temporary structures, as well as overnight camping, are not allowed on allotment land.

15.3 Caravans and live in vehicles are not permitted on any allotment land.

16 Plot numbering, plot splitting and notices

16.1 Tenants must mark the allotment number on the outside of a shed or greenhouse, or on a post, and keep it clean and legible to be visible from the haulage way.

16.2 Where plots do not have numbers clearly on display the council reserves the right to paint numbers on sheds, water buts or fencing. Plots without suitable numbering are in breach of tenancy and can be put on notice by a council officer or authorised person.

16.3 If the council agree or decide that an allotment plot is suitable for dividing into two half plots then tenant is responsible for marking the boundary line with a minimum of two posts (do not put posts over water supply pipes) or by some other safe and visible method.

16.4 Split plots must be divided in a 50:50 area ratio. The direction and line of the plot split must be agreed with a council representative.

16.5 Site Society or Association & Federation information may be displayed on notice boards where provided. No other notices or advertisements are allowed on the site except with written consent of the authorised officer.

17 Change of address and notices

17.1 Tenants must immediately inform the council, in writing, of changes of address or status.

17.2 If a tenant moves to an address outside of the Brighton and Hove unitary authority catchment area they will have their tenancy terminated.

17.3 Notices to be served by the council on the tenant may be:

Sent to the tenant’s address in the Tenancy Agreement (or as notified to the council under these rules) by post, registered letter, recorded delivery or hand delivered; or

Served on the tenant personally; or

Placed on the plot.

17.4 Notices served under paragraph 17.3 will be treated as properly served even if not received

Written information for the council should be sent to: Brighton & Hove City Council, Cityparks, Stanmer Nursery, Stanmer Park, Lewes Road, Brighton BN1 9SE or by email  HYPERLINK "" 


18.1 These rules are made pursuant to Allotment Acts 1908 to 1950 and apply to all rented allotments.

18.2 Where allotment tenancies are rented to a group they are collectively subject to additional rules issued by the authorised officer.

19 Terms and interpretation

In these rules the words used are to have the following meaning:

19.1 Allotment A plot of land that is let by the council for the cultivation of herb, flower, fruit and vegetable crops.

19.2 The council Brighton & Hove City Council.

19.3 Tenant A person who holds an agreement for the tenancy of an allotment.

19.4 co-worker A person or persons identified in a co-worker agreement who helps a tenant cultivate an allotment plot. Refer to appendix for further information.

19.5 Site Any area of allotments that are grouped together at one location

19.6 Rent The annual rent payable for the tenancy of an allotment.

19.7 Review notice Any notice of reviewed rental charges.

19.8 Site representative An allotment tenant who works as a middle person between the council and the tenants and helps oversee the allotment.

19.9 Tenancy agreement A legally binding written document which records the terms and conditions of letting, of a particular allotment(s), to an individual tenant or group.

19.10 Haulage way A common route within the site for vehicular and pedestrian access to allotments.

19.11 Headland The area of land between an allotment plot and any haulage way or perimeter fence.

19.12 Authorised officer The Allotments Officer or other member of staff of Brighton & Hove City Council.

19.13 Other authorised person The tenant, co-worker or invited guest.

19.14 Cultivation Keeping the plot in good productive order by: the maintenance and improvement of soil; the control and prevention of flowering weeds, ornamental plants, and herb, flower, fruit and vegetable crops.

19.15 Paths Dividing paths between allotments.

19.16 The non cultivated leisure area Small area (no larger than 25% of plot) of grass, patio or built structures, for pastimes, eating and/or relaxing.