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FAQs


Who can apply for an allotment?

Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply for their own plot.


How much is an allotment plot?

There is a non-refundable annual charge for each allotment plot determined by its size and whether there is water on the site. The charge is payable at the start of the tenancy and then on the renewal date each year for as long as you keep the tenancy.

The current cost is 34p per square metre (30p with concession) or 50p per square metre with water charge (46p with concession).

All sites, except for Grants Meadow, Folley Gardens and Goodey Close, have water on site.


Do you offer a concessionary rate?

You are entitled to a concession on your allotment tenancy fee if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Universal credit including qualifying for free prescriptions
  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guaranteed Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit with a disability element (you must have an income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less)

By applying for a concession, you are agreeing to inform the Council of any change in circumstances that could affect your eligibility.

Concession evidence is randomly checked on an annual basis. If you are found to not have an eligible concession, your tenancy agreement may be terminated with 14 days' notice.


What are the allotment rules and regulations?

Colchester Borough Council's rules for having an allotment are set out in the Allotment Tenancy Agreement.

All allotment holders must agree to the terms at the start of a tenancy and are also expected to abide by the Council's Code of Practice for Bonfires.


What condition will my plot be in when it is allocated to me?

Most tenants give up their allotment plot because they have struggled to maintain it. Your plot may have been in an uncultivated state for a few months and there may be weed growth.

Maintaining an allotment takes hard work and dedication, especially in the first year. It can be useful to take advice from other tenants, books, ours and other websites, and your allotment welcome pack.


What do you consider to be a cultivated plot?

We consider a plot to be cultivated if 50% or more of it is in productive use (e.g. flowers, vegetables or perennial fruit) or the soil is overturned. There should be little or no long vegetation on the plot (e.g. weeds, brush or grasses).


What do you consider to be the growing season?

The growing season is generally between March and October (weather depending).


How do you ensure that all allotments are being worked?

We aim to inspect allotment sites every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. During inspections we’ll check that the plots are being used correctly and issue a notice of termination for any plots that aren’t being cultivated.

Unless the tenant has cultivated more than 50% of the plot by the next inspection, we’ll terminate their tenancy. After this time, the plot will be offered to other residents.


I've seen uncultivated plots on an allotment site. What will you do about it?

There can be several reasons why a plot is not being cultivated. These include, but are not limited to:

  • We have recently issued a letter to the tenant about non-cultivation
  • The tenancy has been terminated and a new tenant has not yet taken up the plot
  • The plot holder may be ill or temporarily unable to cultivate the plot and we have agreed a hold on termination due to mitigating circumstances
  • The plot may have been deemed unworkable, for example due to access issues

If you have any questions about a plot, you can contact the Site Steward or Colchester Borough Council for more information.


I already have an allotment plot. Can I have another?

Because demand for our allotments is high, we only allow one plot per tenant. We sometimes allow tenants to have more plots on the same site, but certain criteria apply.

To find out if you can have more than one plot, please e-mail allotments@colchester.gov.uk with your name, the name of the site, your existing plot number, the additional plot number you would like to rent, and we'll get back to you.


I’m not happy about the condition of my allotment. Will Colchester Borough Council rotavate or remove rubbish from my plot?

The Council will not rotavate soil or remove rubbish from allotment plots. Tenants must dispose of rubbish in a legal manner.

It is strongly advised that you take the opportunity to see the plot you are applying for before entering into a tenancy agreement. If you have any concerns about its condition, please let us know before you accept the tenancy.


Am I allowed to put a shed or glasshouse on my allotment?

Yes – a wood, plastic or metal building can be placed on allotment plots. The building should be no larger than 2.5m x 1.8m (8ft x 6ft) and no higher than 2.2m (7ft) to the apex of the roof. It must be placed in a position that will not affect neighbouring plot holders and situated at least 1.5m away from the boundary so that access can be gained for maintenance. It should be placed on slabs, not a concrete base.

Sheds must also be fitted with a water butt to collect rainwater. This condition has been set to ensure allotments are as sustainable as possible.


Can I put a poly-tunnel up on my allotment?

Yes – poly-tunnels are allowed on allotment plots provided they are no larger than 2.5m x 5m (8ft x 15ft) and placed so they do not affect neighbouring plot holders.


Am I allowed to plant trees on my allotment plot?

No trees with a mature height of 1.8m or over are permitted. Miniature varieties such as step-over or Minarette® trees may be considered, provided they are placed so they do not affect neighbouring plot holders or boundaries.

A maximum of 3 trees are allowed per plot.


Can I have a bonfire on my allotment?

Bonfires are allowed on allotment sites if they follow the Council's Bonfire Code of Practice.


Who maintains the paths on the allotment site?

The main paths on allotment sites are maintained by Colchester Borough Council. The smaller paths between plots are the responsibility of the neighbouring plot holders. These paths should not be obstructed at any time as they provide access around the site.


The allotment water is switched off, why?

The water on allotment sites is usually switched off between October and March to ensure that the pipes are not damaged by frost. If there are any issues regarding the allotment water at other times, please contact us at allotments@colchester.gov.uk and necessary repairs will be undertaken.


Who are the Colchester Allotment Association?

Colchester Allotment Association (CAA) are an independent organisation set up to promote allotment gardening, preserve allotments and to support allotment holders.


What is the Allotment Strategy?

To respond to the interest in allotments within the Borough and ensure that current allotment sites are managed effectively, Colchester Borough Council has compiled an Allotment Strategy. The strategy covers issues such as the waiting list, site maintenance, billing and the inspection process. This document will also allow you to find out how the Council plans to proceed in the future.


Page last reviewed: 11 May 2020