Kettering Allotments Tenancy Rules – adopted at AGM in 2022

Kettering Allotments is a Mutual Society, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. It is run by a Management Committee duly elected by its members according to its constitution at the Annual General Meeting. Voting members of the society are also tenants of an allotment plot. The following rules have been set by the committee and agreed by members at the Annual General Meeting in 2016. All members agree to abide by these rules when renewing their tenancy each year. The definitive and up-to-date version of these rules is published on our website If you have any questions about the rules, please contact the committee or its representatives (field stewards) who will seek to clarify them.

Guiding principle

The purpose of these rules is to enable all tenants to enjoy their allotments and avoid harm. Tenants are free to cultivate their plots in their own way, but their activities must not harm themselves, their neighbours or the environment. These rules are therefore designed to prevent harmful activities and to be fair to all tenants. These rules cannot cover every possible aspect, but further guidance may be found in the Society's Policy Guidelines, listed at the end of these rules and published on our website. These rules are not intended to cover activities that are illegal under English/UK law. Such matters may be dealt with by the Police as the law remains supreme.

The Tenancy

  1. Each allotment shall be held on a yearly tenancy beginning on 1st January.

  2. The allotment land is owned by Kettering Borough Council and managed by Kettering Allotments. It is let to tenants until either relinquished by them or the society terminates the tenancy.

  3. Tenants may not assign, sub-let or change possession or control of all or part of an allotment.

  4. Likewise a tenant may not encroach on a neighbour's plot or onto the roadways or paths. A path of two feet width is normally expected between neighbours' plots, comprising one foot from each tenant's plot. Any variation of the path between neighbours must be approved by the field steward.

  5. The maximum holding for any one tenant is thirty poles in area.

  6. Tenants are required to notify any changes in address or other contact details to the secretary.

  7. A new tenant shall be on a probationary period of sixth months. If these rules are not followed satisfactorily the probationary period then the tenancy may be terminated forthwith without the normal three months notice outlined in Rule 32.

  8. Tenants have no right to pass on a tenancy to dependents. However, the committee will treat sympathetically any request from next of kin to continue to manage a plot. (See waiting lists guidelines for more detail).

  9. Any member of the management committee or officer of the Society shall be entitled at any time to enter and inspect the allotment and any structure thereon.

Rent, renewal of tenancy and relinquishing a plot.

  1. When paying rent a tenant shall also sign an undertaking to abide by all the conditions, rules and policies of the Society and accept its constitution.

  2. The year's rent shall become due on the 1st January and shall be payable in advance during January each year. The rent shall be paid to the treasurer of the Society at such time and place as shall be annually appointed by notice online or posted in the field. Rule 11B - (new rule agreed at 2018 AGM):  If rent has not been paid by the 1st February and a member wishes to continue the tenancy, then a non-refundable late payment fee will be required of a further year's rent

  3. One year's rent or a proportion shall be paid in advance by every incoming tenant.

  4. A tenant may relinquish a plot at any time by giving notice to the secretary or field steward, leaving it in an acceptable condition and return any keys to gates etc.

  5. Your tenancy may also be terminated by the field steward or secretary for breach of these rules. The disciplinary policy will be followed in such circumstances. A tenant has the right of appeal to the committee under the grievance policy of the Society

  6. The tenancy may be terminated in any year on or before 6th January or on or after 29th June upon three months notice being given by the Society or the tenant, for example if the allotment field is scheduled for building, sewer or road construction.

Duty of Care

  1. Tenants have a duty of care to everyone, including visitors to the site, trespassers and themselves. There is also a duty of care to the future tenants of a plot and the environment.

  2. Tenants shall follow the guidance issued by the committee in its Health and Safety guidelines, as published online or available at cost on written request.

  3. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times on allotment land. Dog faeces must be bagged and disposed of correctly (not on allotment land).

  4. Tenants are responsible for the correct use of any mechanically powered machinery on their plot and must ensure that anyone using such is sufficiently trained and competent.

  5. There is a speed limit of 5mph (walking pace) for all vehicles on allotments; this is for safety and to maintain the integrity of the ridings and roadways. Tenants shall not park vehicles on allotment roadways but may use hard standings where provided.

  6. The committee reserves the right to close roadways or ridings to vehicles without prior notice.

  7. A tenant using or commissioning the use of motor vehicles on allotment land will be held liable for any damage caused to roadways, gates, plots etc.

  8. Tenants shall maintain all structures e.g. huts, polytunnels, poultry housing in a safe condition. If a field steward is not satisfied with the safe state of a structure the tenant must either repair or remove it within one month of the instruction to do so.

  9. Petrol and pressurised gas containers e.g. propane, butane must not be left unattended on any part of an allotment, including huts. If such substances are brought to an allotment they must be taken away from the allotment upon departure.

  10. Tenants should not cause damage to the environment, for example by creating or storing toxic or harmful waste on allotment land. This includes the burning of noxious substances. For more detail on this rule reference should be made to the Society's Health and Safety guidelines, Bonfire guidelines and Waste guidelines.

  11. Pesticides must be used with extreme care and only according to the manufacturer's instructions. Only those agrochemicals available through retail stores to amateur gardeners may be used.

  12. Only authorised persons may be permitted on the allotment. Authorised persons include the tenant, the tenant's immediate family or accompanied guests. Non-tenants may be allowed on site when a tenant is away to water plants etc if permission has been granted from the field steward.

  13. Tenants shall report any criminal activity on allotments to the Police and obtain a crime number. A report should also be made to the field steward or committee secretary.

Permitted activities

  1. The purpose of an allotment is recreational gardening, including the keeping of permitted poultry and bees if permission has been granted. (see also rules 42 - 47)

  2. The allotment and any structures on it, is let to a tenant for personal use only. Tenants must not carry out any business, commercial or profit-making activities from an allotment.

  3. Tenants must cultivate their allotment, keeping it free from weeds. Refer to the Cultivation and Weeds guidelines for more detail on this rule.

  4. A tenant whose plot has not been cultivated for a period of three months shall be deemed to have vacated even if the rent has been paid. Such a tenant has the right to appeal to the committee.

  5. The tenant shall be held liable for any expenses incurred by the Society in clearing his/her neglected allotment.

  6. Tenants shall be responsible for the upkeep and tidiness of all hedges and roadways abutting their allotment.

  7. Tenants shall maintain soil fertility in their allotments and make every effort to minimise soil loss, degradation and erosion.

  8. No trees other than miniature fruit trees may be grown. The maximum height limit is 8 feet.

Structures (including huts, polytunnels, greenhouses, poultry and bee hives)

  1. Tenants shall consult their field stewards before any new structures are built. (see rule 43)

  2. Tenants are permitted to store materials for use on the allotment for a maximum of six months. Any materials e.g. paving or timber for structures must be used within six months of appearing on the allotment. No other materials or waste must be brought onsite or stored. In particular, hazardous materials must not be used or stored on allotments e.g. car tyres and carpets etc. Refer also to rule 24 and 25.

  3. Structures, including huts, polytunnels and poultry housing shall occupy no more than 25% of an allotment plot. The remaining 75% must be cultivated. Poultry housing and runs erected before these rules were agreed (March 2016) are exempt from the 25% rule, however, should the tenant leave, the poultry housing must be removed and the 25% rule will then apply to that plot.

  4. All applicable structures must have guttering, down pipes and containers for the collection and storage of rain water. In particular, any plot with a polytunnel must have the capacity for the collection and storage of at least one thousand litres of rain water.

  5. The use of a hosepipe with mains water is not permitted.

  6. Permitted livestock on allotment sites is restricted to poultry.

  7. Written permission must be received from the field steward before any new structure or poultry is brought onto allotment land. Any fencing or structure must be approved by the field steward in writing and a copy given to the secretary for record-keeping. The maximum size of any new shed is 10 feet by 8 feet. Concrete or hardcore bases for structures is not permitted, likewise concreting-in of posts or hard standing driveways on plots, excessive slabs, uPVC windows and doors are not permitted. Slabs are linited to a reasonable path only.

  8. The committee reserves the right to withdraw permission to keep permitted livestock if the Poultry Policy and Guidelines are not followed or the rest of the plot is not cultivated. (see Poultry Policy, Cultivation and Weeds guidelines and rule 42).

  9. All poultry must be kept in an enclosure that is secure to prevent the escape of the birds.

  10. All tenants shall ensure that vermin are controlled. Any tenant with a source of vermin on his/her plot must take effective measures to eliminate the vermin and report this to the field steward. Repeated infestations of vermin may lead to disciplinary action.

  11. Written permission must be received from the field steward before any bees or hives are brought onto allotment land. Bees may only be kept if the tenant is a registered member of the BBKA (British Bee Keepers' Association). The restrictions and requirements listed in the Bee Keeping Guidelines must be adhered to.

List of guidelines/policies

The following guidelines have been agreed by the committee, published on the website and provide further guidance and details.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Field Stewards Guidelines

Bonfire Guidelines

Poultry Policy and Guidelines

Water Guidance

Bee Keeping Guidelines

Disciplinary Policy

Grievance Policy

Waiting Lists Policy

Cultivation and Weeds Guidelines

Waste Management Policy (including Recycling, Waste and Fly-tipping Guidelines)

Vermin control Guidelines