Define 'Working the Plot'

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Pa Snip
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Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:51 am

Our allotment site is controlled by our local council.

Surprisingly for a local council the tenancy agreements contain minimal rules and regulations.
One of these is that plots must be 'Worked', however there is no definition of just how much constitutes 'worked'. The council can, and does rarely, send out letters of 'non-cultivation' where it considers applicable. However again there is no definition of how much equates to 'cultivation''

Most plots are well maintained and there is currently a 5 to 7 year waiting list.

Common sense says to me that 'working the plot' and 'cultivation' applies to the whole plot that is being rented, whether it be 10, 5 or 2.5 poles.

Now here is the rub, one potholder is what I would call a 'bitser' , digs bits here and bits there over his 10 pole plot.
The vast majority of the plot does not see a fork from one year to the next, Calendula flowers, brambles, hawthorn, previous years garlic and onions, raspberries all grow wild. Then of course there is the annual and perennial weeds. The bulk of the plot is covered in weeds which send seed out to neighbouring plots. There is also a large amount of old discarded baling twine, broken glass and other dangers to both humans and wildlife scattered around his plot

And yet, because he digs a 3ftx 3ft patch here and a 6ft x 6ft bit there and puts small amounts of veg on site he is considered as 'working the plot'.

The areas he digs over each year probably amounts to about 10% of the plot size. Based on past years history if he were to take half a plot it would still be more than enough and someone else on the long waiting list could have the other half.

A number of people have sent complaints to the council but to no avail as they claim they can do nothing as he is 'working the plot'

His haphazard methods are spoiling it for others.

Anybody have any applicable definitions in their agreements or know of any on sites like NVS or NSALG etc.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby robo » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:20 am

Morning pa snip, our council are the same but control with more zest we have a list of rules 2 pages long drawn up by solicitors part of it stipulates that 85% of the plot has to be cultivated the other 15% is for a shed ,footpaths ,chicken run ,etc.we are only allowed small sheds and pollytunnels and if your plot is not up to scratch on the day of inspection you get one chance then you are history,I'm expecting a none cultivation letter as I've done nothing at the plot since my heart attack but some of my mates have done a bit of work for me including feeding the chickens on a daily basis so I might be ok,our council representative is a decent guy and is easy to get on with but as he says it's part of his job ,if you would like a copy of our agreement p.m. me your address
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:36 am

hi robo, thanks for a very interesting reply.
85% area cultivation makes good sense to me.

We can have beehives but not chickens or other livestock

Sheds are supposed to be no bigger than 7ft x 5ft and no more than one shed on a plot. No greenhouses are allowed. Both of these rules have been ignored and nothing done about it. (see my posts discussing my neighbours home made greenhouse)

I think the council would have to be extremely harsh to issue you with 'non-cultivation' under your circumstances and I'm sure there would be a backlash
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:56 am

Rules ought to stipulate that weeds should be controlled to prevent their spread to neighbouring plots.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Shallot Man » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:37 am

Pa Snip. We took over running our plots from the Council. All plots are inspected every three months, with letters going out to those who are falling by the wayside.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby peter » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:38 am

As a site agent I have to keep an eye on this, my council get s me to do an annual survey around June/July and put the level of cultivation into percentage classes e.g upto 75%
Any plots not recently taken on that are less than 50% get a letter.

Provided I get to see them (ships that pass in the night) a friendly word is had about weeds. :D :?
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:44 am

There are two towns in our borough, nearly all the allotment sites in our town area are run totally by the council. The town up the road has a volunteer organisation running the sites, apart from the private sites, on behalf of the council.

At one point recently the council officer in charge of our council allotments did ask all local plotholders if they would be interested in being run the same way. So far that has come to nothing.

I could see conflict arising anyway on who should or should not be site stewards.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:47 am

Thanks for that info Peter, again this seems a sensible % being applied.

Not sure if it is myth but the council manager is said to visit sites regularly. Assuming this is the case I fail to understand how plots can be left to get into such a state.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby peter » Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:20 am

Five years ago we had a waiting list of over 100 for eight sites with maximum initial let of five rod and zero chance of increasing that if proficient. Prior to that the council used to take the money and not bother about cultivation. This list got under the skin of the Councillors and eventually they spent £13,000 reopening a derelict site, brought in the 5 rod limit and started enforcing cultivation rules.

Now my site has a waiting list of seven, no other site has a waiting list and the reopened site has empty plots. Increase of plot(s) to ten rod per person is allowed subject to site agent approval of person's capability and record of gardening.

The fashionableness of allotments has gone again, people take on a quarter plot, visit a couple of times and are not seen again. On a positive note I've got some very capable new plot holders who want more, but I have to wait till the new people on the waiting list have had a chance.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby robo » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:12 pm

Our council are on the ball although to be fair we do get a lot of backing from them we could apply for self control but the cost of the water rates alone would cost more than the annual rent, there is a national allotment society that our council abides by, they have also helped our committee in the successful application of a number of grants as well as supplying worshipping and some very poor topsoil
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby peter » Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:56 pm

Quaker allotments Robo?

robo wrote:..... as well as supplying worshipping......
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Primrose » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:34 pm

I haven't had an allotment for years but am curious how you would count putting a section of your plot under black polythene sheeting every year claiming you were leaving it fallow for crop rotation purposes.
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby robo » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:06 am

Peter it's the bloody spell checker it changes words as you press submit it should have been woodchip
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby Pa Snip » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:31 am

Oh please pardon my perverse humour but I cant help but see the funny side of a spellchecker changing woodchiping to worshipping when the worship could involve a carpenters son :D
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Re: Define 'Working the Plot'

Postby peter » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:29 am

Sorry, it amused me, I had visions of the Mayor in full regalia, stood in a shower of rain in the site track, leading prayers for a good harvest. :twisted:

My humour can be bad. :?
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