Walking past a well-tended allotment garden often raises feelings of respect for work done and pleasure in the achievements of the gardener working on the plot. Sometimes it plants the idea of having a plot of your own. But before rushing down to the Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association Hut to apply for one, make certain that you are not just attracted to the IDEA of having a well-tended allotment garden. Be realistic, look at your motives and consider what is involved.
An allotment garden is, as the name suggests, a place where you ‘garden’. It is not a place to store unwanted junk. It is not a wild life reserve. It is not a reforestation area. It is a garden that needs cultivating, weeding, sowing, planting, feeding. Pests and diseases need to be controlled. All of this takes physical effort, time and some expense. It isn’t something you can do when you have a spare moment from an otherwise busy life. Success is not instant. It takes effort, time and knowledge.
If you have thought all this through and are still sure that you can manage an allotment garden then go ahead and ask for one.
The responsibility for administering council allotments in Prudhoe lies with Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association. There is a waiting list which is maintained in strict chronological order according to when you add your name. You can choose to add your name to the lists for all allotment sites or to just one site if that is the one that is most convenient to you.
When you have added your name to the list, if you should change your mind, or your circumstances change, or you are going to move out of the area, then you should drop in and tell us. This saves us time and effort when we come to contact you. Remember that the committee that manages the council allotment gardens in Prudhoe is made up of volunteers.
When your name reaches the top of the list, and a plot falls vacant, you will be contacted and taken to see the plot. If you are away on holiday at the time, you will be allowed a couple of weeks grace, or so, to return and respond. If you are away for a considerable period, and cannot be contacted, the plot will be offered to the next person on the list.
If you decide to accept the offer, then you will be asked to come down to the Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association Hut behind the West Wylam Inn on a Saturday morning to sign a tenancy agreement, in duplicate (one copy for you, one for the Prudhoe Gardeners’ Association), take a copy of the association rules and pay your rent and membership subscriptions.
When you sign the agreement you agree to all the conditions with which you must comply. These are non-negotiable; you don’t get to ‘pick and choose’ which conditions you fancy obeying and which you feel like ignoring. So read the document carefully before you sign. If you are unsure what any of the conditions actually means, or entails, ask for it to be explained and clarified. It is no use pleading ignorance at a later date.
Full annual allotment garden rents are payable between January and March each year. If you take your plot part way through the year, you may be charged pro rata for that year. The rent reflects the size of your allotment, full plot or half plot or quarter plot. You do not qualify for a pensioner’s reduction if you are an early retiree – the pensioner’s reduction applies only to those of 65 and over.
Congratulations! You’ve got your plot and can start work.
The allotments are subject to regular inspections without prior notice. If the committee members feel that you are failing to comply with your conditions of tenancy you will be sent a letter giving you warning and asking you to bring your allotment garden in line with the conditions of your tenancy. Remember, it is an allotment garden and you signed a contract agreeing to the conditions.