Chorley's allotments provide an excellent opportunity to grow your own fruit and vegetables, meet new people and get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
The following information outlines the basics you need to know in order to enjoy all the opportunities and benefits that our allotments offer.
Who manages the allotments?
Chorley Council manages the allotments and is involved in the day to day leasing of allotments. Chorley Council is responsible for the collection of the rent, management and maintenance of the site.
The council's minimum obligation is only to provide land for allotment gardening for residents of Chorley. This could just be earth in an uncultivated condition and the standard may vary from site to site.
On site facilities
Apart from ensuring that access to the allotment site is safe and is accessible to all, the council is not required to provide any further facilities for plot holders.
All sites are secured by fencing and gates. Bark chip is provided when available to sites. Manure must be sought by plot holders and is not provided by the Council.
Water is provided on some sites and is metered so that the actual amount used by all plot holders is monitored and is paid for by the Council. Restrictions apply as to how you use water on site. It must be only used if rain water harvested supplies run dry.
Why do you need a tenancy agreement?
When taking on an allotment you are taking on the responsibility of a piece of land which is entrusted to you. The tenancy agreement tells you what you can and cannot do with the plot. The Council needs to ensure that you will manage the land in an appropriate way during your time as a plotholder, and ensure that the land will be in a fit state to rent out again to another person if you decide to move on.
Respect for others
A desire to have an allotment means you have much in common with your fellow plot holders. There are however some matters of social politeness to consider when you take on an allotment or, if you are an existing plot holder, when a new comer arrives.
Simple things such as playing a radio may impact negatively on your neighbour's enjoyment of their plot. Please ensure that visitors to your plot know the boundaries and if you have a dog, make sure that is it kept under control on communal areas. Please do not let weeds, plants and grass grown across to neighbouring plots. Strimming grass and weed spraying must be done with care to eliminate drift onto your neighbour's plot. Simply, please be sensitive to other people's cultural practices and their space.
The Council decides how much the annual rent will be taking into account the cost of managing the site, local needs and any special circumstances. The Council is required to give 12 months' notice of a rent increase. All plots are charged the same rent regardless of size and location.
Incentives and concessions
The council will endeavour to offer plots which are free of hazards at the time of setting up new tenancies. If you are taking on a derelict plot, the Council may offer a rent discount to encourage you to clear and cultivate it.
The Council offer concessionary rates to anyone over 60 years of age
Paying your rent
Rent is paid 6 months in advance, 6 months in arrears. It is invoiced in September for the period April to March. If you do not pay your rent in accordance with the terms of the tenancy agreement, you could lose your tenancy.
Sheds, Greenhouses and Polytunnels
Sheds and Greenhouses are allowed on all sites, restrictions of sizes are bound by planning permissions so please check and get permission before any structure is erected.
5 characteristics of a cultivated allotment
1. The plot is tidy and relatively weed free.
This means that tools are tidied away, rubbish is removed and within reason, pathways outside your plot are kept clear. Everyone has the odd weed or three, so they are not expected to keep the plot totally weed free, but if the weeds are beginning to hide the plants or setting seed, the plot is in need of urgent attention. There should be no more than could be removed in an hour or so.
2. The plants on your plot are healthy
Planting should be ordered and organised to ensure a good crop. Plants should be at least watered regularly, pruned as necessary and removed if they are failing.
3. Plants are yielding a crop
Healthy plants will produce a good crop. In season, plants should be producing fruit, vegetables and flowers. Not all plants will produce in abundance.
4. Crops are harvested
The harvest is not left on the plants to rot. Fruit and vegetables are picked, windfalls are tidied.
5. After the harvest
Plants are dug out and the ground is prepared for the new season. When the season is at an end, plants which have finished cropping should be dug out or pruned back, ready for the winter. Plots should be dug over and prepared for the next season as appropriate.
Allotments are inspected on a monthly basis by a Chorley Council representative to ensure that the plots are being used and cultivated. If a new plot holder has taken over a derelict or new plot a degree of leniency is given to allow time to plan and cultivate the plot.
The tenant is advised to put up and keep a legible number on their plot that can be viewed from the plot entrance, communal path or front of plot.
Should you not cultivate your plot or allow it to become overgrown Chorley Council will instigate enforcement procedures which may result in your tenancy being terminated.
Plot inspection 1: the plot is inspected and if it is the opinion of the inspector that the plot is uncultivated and poorly maintained a first email or phone call will be made to the plot holder giving a reasonable amount of time to make good their plot, but not longer than 4 weeks.
Plot Inspection 2: when the time has elapsed for the allotment holder to make good their allotment the plot will be inspected again and if the plot is in good order the enforcement procedure will be halted. If on inspection the plot is still in a poor state of cultivation and maintenance, a Notice Letter will be sent to the plot holder. The letter will again give the plot holder a reasonable period of time to make good their plot. The length of time will be no longer than 4 weeks
Plot inspection 3: when the period of time from the letter has elapsed for the allotment holder to make good their allotment another inspection will be made. If the plot is still in the opinion of the inspector to be poorly maintained and uncultivated a notice to quit / termination will be issued, this gives the plot holder 14 days to remove all their possessions from the allotment plot and the allotment will be then re-let. Any outstanding rent will be charged.
If an allotment holder receives a third second stage tidy up letter within any 2 year period they will immediately be issued with a termination notice.