Your Questions

19/01/13

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Frequently Asked Questions...

Here we have a collection of questions that have been put to us about Allotments in Hemsby and our Campaign.  We have tried to answer these as best we can, when we can.  Otherwise the questions stand for themselves.  Perhaps you have an answer ?  :-

 

Am I entitled to an allotment ?

Yes, as long as you are an elector / council tax payer in the Parish, then you are legally entitled to ask your council for an allotment.  The Parish Council is legally bound to provide allotments in the Parish if it sees there is a demand.  Demand for allotments in the Parish can be established by at least six electors / council tax payers signing a letter to the parish Council requesting allotments.  This was done by 34 Hemsby Residents on the 13th June 2009.  But there is no harm in reminding them if you wish to write in yourself.  See the Resources Page for a copy of the letter.

 

Do I need a shed ?

Sheds are almost essential to any allotment.  It soon gets tiring carrying spade, fork, compost, bucket, hoe, etc., etc. to and from your plot every time.  They are also useful for sheltering from the rain and making tea in !  As a side benefit, a bit of guttering and a water butt can be used to collect water off the roof. 

 

Will I get a shed ?

Although many councils provide sheds, they are not legally obliged to.  In Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, allotment sheds were originally provided for plot holders.  They were also maintained for the allotmenteers but this is now the allotmenteers' responsibility.  Much depends upon the willingness of the Hemsby Parish Council to provide these facilities for it's residents.

 

How much will a shed cost ?

Hard to say.  Taking a look at some online stores would suggest at least 300 for something you can get inside to make tea.  Check that your shed can be delivered and if so how much, also does it have a floor ?  Bear in mind that it will need fixing down or will blow away in the winter wind ( and probably disintegrate ).  A yearly coat of preservative will prolong it's life but add to the cost.

 

Will there be anywhere to park my car ?

It is not always convenient or even possible to walk to an allotment.  In practice, apart from those who live within a few hundred yards, most will travel by car.  This is especially true if there are tools, compost, plants etc. to carry.  It is not reasonable or safe to park on verges or banks and we do not want to encourage this.  A car parking area is therefore considered essential to any proposed allotment site.  The site currently under discussion, adjacent to the Maize Maze, has this facility.  It does however need to be clarified about it's use in winter or if the Maize Maze closes.

 

Must I help run the allotments ?

No.  Your only right is to expect the Parish Council to set up a sufficient number of allotments for the village.  You may just want to grow fruit and vegetables and pay for your plot annually.

 

Do we need a Hemsby Allotment Association ?

No.  But it's probably a very good idea.  It isn't necessary for a Hemsby Allotments Association to be formed to administer the allotments.  That is the Parish Council's responsibility.  A group of people can voluntarily form an association if they choose.  They may well then be responsible for everything the association does.  It may however only be to form a club for like minded individuals to help promote gardening and allotment keeping, or even assist the Parish Council by liaising with members.

 

Will there be any water ?

Rather like sheds water is often made available on an allotment site.  In Great Yarmouth and Gorleston allotments typically have a standpipe every few plots.  Plot holders pay about 4 per annum as a share of the meter charge.  The parish Council is not obliged to provide any water.  However, if they also do not provide a shed there is nothing to collect water off !

 

Can I do anything without water ?

Yes, but not everything and you will be at the mercy of the British weather.  If this were not so, why do we see local farmers using large and expensive irrigation equipment watering their fields ?  Deep rooted crops can still find water when shallower roots can't.  Typically seedlings and young plants, strawberries and other fruit, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, marrows, pumpkins etc. will need lots of water.  For some of these it may be necessary to water everyday.  There is nothing worse than watching your plants die off one by one for lack of water.  Of course, you will also not be able to make tea !

 

Is a toilet to be provided on the site ?

Toilets are becoming a regular feature on allotments across the country.  However, there is no obligation to provide these.  Of course the days when allotments were invariably held by retired gentlemen have gone.  Many women and children are to be seen on allotment sites these days.  It is once again up to the Parish Council to decide.  Perhaps amongst other things, they should consider if it is discriminating or a health concern to not provide these facilities.

 

Will there be disabled access ?

Businesses and workplaces are now having to provide accessibility to all and our homes are due to be affected soon.  Since a couple of people have requested this, it would seem sensible to factor it in.  Level access between car park and plots, being the most important.  We don't know if this would affect any toilet facilities too.  Perhaps those plots nearest the car park should be reserved for disabled users.  Part plots could also be offered to those who do not feel able to tackle a whole plot.

 

How big is an allotment plot ?

A typical plot is 10 Rods ( or Poles or Perches ).  A Rod is a an area measure of 5.5 yards square ( not square yards ), approximately the space occupied by a double garage.  They are this size for a good reason - such a plot is said to feed a family for a whole year.  By agreement it should be possible to split plots into smaller sizes if required.

 

Who is responsible for an Allotments Association ?

Here is our best guess, please try to clarify this for yourself elsewhere and let us know.

There are two types of Association; an unincorporated association and a Limited Company.  At the end of the day they are both legal entities and from their members officers will be elected.  At least the officers of the association are likely to be responsible for it's actions and liabilities.  As with company directors, this may involve personal accountability too.  Members of an unincorporated association may well be jointly liable for it's actions and liabilities.  As an example, just because an association is not for profit does not mean it is exempt from paying taxes and accounting for them to HMRC.  A small club handling a limited budget and meeting in the Village Hall once a month is one thing.  Responsibility for thousands of pounds in plot holder's membership fees and rents for land, legal fees, insurance, banks charges, accounting fees, water charges etc. is another.

 

How much should I expect to pay ?

Prices vary wildly across the country.  The Internet can provide some guidance on this.  Somewhere between 10 and 60 seems to be a typical figure.  Please bear in mind there are allotments in Central London that may affect these figures.  Once again, quoting Great Yarmouth and Gorleston allotment prices, it seems that a typical 10 Rod plot is about 20 including any other fees, except for water which is 4 per member.  Any price should also include all of the administration fees at the outset, like membership of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, who protect plot holder's interests, also insurance and water need to be included.

 

What laws relate to allotments for Hemsby ?

A National allotments expert has given us the following list of Acts of Parliament that are relevant to our campaign ( apparently these can all be found on the web ) :-

Section 23 Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 (S H & A Act 1980)

(1) Two Statutory and hence mandatory obligations on a Municipal authority (a) to provide a sufficient number of allotments ; (b) to let these to folk who wish to take them. These duties are absolute they admit of no challenge, argument or defence.

S.25 S H & A Act 1908, which confers powers of compulsory acquisition of land for allotments on Municipal authorities)

Section 26 (S H & A Act 1980)

(1) The Council of a borough, urban district, or parish may improve any land acquired by them for allotments and adapt the same for letting in allotments, by draining, fencing, and dividing the same, acquiring approaches, making roads and otherwise, as they think fit, and may from time to time do such things as may be necessary for maintaining such drains, fences, approaches, and roads, or otherwise for maintaining the allotments in a proper condition.

(2) The council may also adapt the land for allotments by erecting buildings and making adaptations of existing buildings, but so that not more than one dwelling house shall be erected for occupation with any one allotment; and no dwelling house shall be erected for occupation with any allotment of less than one acre.

S. 39 (2) S H & A Act 1908 confers powers of compulsory hiring of land.

Rates are not payable the user of allotments land is not a commercial user.
 

 
 
The above information is provided on an as is basis and is for guidance only.  Individuals are recommended to carry out their own research and not to rely solely upon this information.  If anyone knows of any errors they should contact us with updated information as soon as possible.  We cannot guarantee to enter into any correspondence on any of the above or any other matters but will endeavour to do so when possible.
 
 

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