5. Section 115 – Allotment site regulations
Section 116 – Allotment site regulations: further provision
5.1 Section 115 requires each local authority to make allotment site regulations by 1st April 2020, that is within two years of section 115 coming into force. The regulations must make provision for allotment sites in the area of the local authority. The matters set out in subsection (3) must be included in the regulations. In addition to the mandatory requirements under subsection (3), subsection (4) sets out other matters local authorities may include in the regulations. Local authorities are permitted to vary the regulations for different areas or different allotment sites in order to take account of local circumstances (subsection (5)).
5.2 Section 116 makes further provision about the procedure local authorities are to follow in making such regulations.
5.3 The allotment site regulations required by section 115 should provide for all allotments within the local authority’s area. In preparing such regulations, local authorities should take into consideration any existing allotment site rules, regulations or constitutions, including those onsite rules drafted by individual allotment associations.
5.4 Local authorities should consult widely with a range of stakeholders in their area and take their views into consideration. Stakeholders may include, for example, allotment associations, allotment holders, persons on the waiting list and other interested persons. This list is not exhaustive and local authorities should be satisfied that they have engaged all relevant stakeholders and stakeholder groups in their local area.
5.5 Section 115(3) sets out the matters for which a local authority must include provision in its regulations, whereas section 115(4) sets out optional matters for which a local authority may wish to include provision in its regulations.
5.6 Section 115(3)(b) provides that local authorities must make regulations relating to rent, including a method of determining a fair rent. It is for each local authority to decide what services or infrastructure it will provide on each allotment site. When determining fair rent levels, authorities should take account of the size and location of the individual allotment for which rent is payable and the condition of any shed/storage available to the tenant on the allotment, the onsite facilities provided (such as toilet facilities, mains water, waste and recycling collection, access to polytunnels, meeting spaces), expenses incurred by the authority in maintaining and managing the allotment site, and any other relevant factors. Authorities should also take account of any improvements and upgrades to the allotment or site when setting future rent levels.
5.7 When making regulations relating to the future setting of rent levels, local authorities should not normally take account of improvements to allotments or the allotment site which have been wholly funded by onsite allotment tenants or allotment associations.
5.8 Where improvements to allotments or the allotment site (paragraph 5.6) have been jointly or partially funded by the allotment tenants or allotment associations, local authorities should not normally take account of the percentage of the improvements carried out by the allotment tenants or allotment associations when making regulations relating to the future setting of rent levels. In order to determine the value of ineligible improvements when making regulations relating to the future setting of rent levels, if considered necessary, local authorities should attempt to obtain evidence of the cost of improvements and the amount or percentage of improvements funded by the allotment tenants or allotment associations as appropriate.
5.9 Local authorities should make provision for concessions on the level of rent payable. When making provision for concessions, authorities should have regard to their local concessionary procedures to maintain consistency across local services. The regulations will set out what rent concessions will apply where a lease on a joint tenancy for an allotment is to be offered but only one tenant in a joint tenancy is eligible for a concession on the level of rent payable on grounds such as age.
5.10 Section 115(5) allows local authorities to make different provisions for different areas or allotment sites. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to the local authority’s regulations might not be appropriate for the range of allotment sites within the local area. Local consultation with a wide range of stakeholders will help to inform local site requirements.
5.11 Section 116 sets out the process that local authorities must undertake to make allotment site regulations, or to vary or revoke them. Any variation or revocation of regulations should be subject to full consultation with interested stakeholders.
5.12 Section 116(2)(b) requires the local authority to make copies of the proposed regulations available for inspection by the public at least one month before they are made at (i) its offices and (ii), if it considers it practicable, at the allotment site to which the proposed regulations will apply once made. Although local authorities are not required to publish their proposed regulations for inspection online, they may also choose to do so.
5.13 When determining whether the requirement to make the proposed regulations available for inspection at the site is practicable for the allotment site in question, the local authority may wish to have regard to matters such as:
- whether there is a shared space such as a communal shed on the allotment site in which to place the draft regulations;
- whether there is a site noticeboard on which to place the draft regulations;
- whether it is appropriate to erect an appropriate board on which to place the draft regulations; and
- other reasonable steps that could be taken in order to fulfill this requirement.
Once regulations have been made, section 116(9) requires that a copy of the regulations be displayed at the entrance to an allotment site to which they apply.