Smallholdings & Allotments Act(s)
Legislation for the Period 1908 to 1950
The table below provides some detail on the
development of legislation affecting allotments during the first half of the 20th
century. Between 1908 and 1950, the legislation for small agricultural holdings
and allotments was intertwined. During this period, only the Allotments Acts of
1922 and 1925 dealt solely with allotments. The Agriculture Act 1947 separated
out the legislation for small holdings and they have been dealt with separately
since that date.
The table details only legislation which
focuses primarily on allotments. Although the last such Act was introduced in
1950, many of the provisions made by the various Acts up to and including the
Allotments Act 1950 have been affected by more recent pieces of legislation. For
instance, the Local Government Act 1972 amended the allotments legislation in a
number of matters of detail, for example, removing the requirement upon local
authorities to establish allotments committees (contained in Section 12 of the
Allotments Act 1925). Similarly, the Local Government, Planning and Land Act
1980 abolished a number of minor Ministerial controls over a local authority's
administration of allotments. Other Acts which have impacted upon allotments
include the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, the Local Government and
Planning (Amendment) Act 1981 and the Acquisition of Land Act 1981. More
recently, the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1993 repealed various parts of the
Allotments Legislation for the Period 1908 to
Act and Date
Description and notes on most important Sections
Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908
Repealed and consolidated previous legislation and established
the framework for the modern allotments system.
Section 23 provides that if
allotment authorities 'are of the opinion that there is a demand for
allotments...in the borough, district or parish the council shall
provide a sufficient number of allotments to persons...resident in
the borough district or parish and desiring the same'. In
determining demand an authority must take into consideration 'a
representation in writing by any six registered parliamentary
electors or rate payers'.
Section 25 gives a local authority
the power to compulsorily purchase land for allotments if land
cannot be acquired by private agreement.
Section 26 provides that an
allotments authority 'may' make improvements to allotment land such
as drainage, paths and hut construction.
Section 32 deals with the 'Sale of
superfluous or unsuitable land' and permits local authorities to
sell land if they are 'of opinion that any land ... is not needed
for the purpose of allotments'. However, Section 8 of the Allotments
Act 1925 (see below) places restrictions on this process.
Section 47 deals with compensation
for allotment holders who are required to leave the site. These
provisions were amended by the Allotments Act 1922.
Land Settlement Facilities Act 1919
This Act was mainly to assist returning servicemen and opened up
allotments to all, not just 'the labouring population'.
Made metropolitan borough councils
allotment authorities for the first time.
Section 22 enables an allotment
authority to appropriate for allotments any land held for other
Allotments Act 1922
This Act was established to provide allotment tenants with some
security of tenure, laying down specific periods of notice and
compelling most allotment authorities to appoint allotment
committees, and provided tenants with greater compensation at the
termination of their tenancy.
Section 1 provides that an allotment
garden tenancy may be determined by the landlord by notice to quit
only if a six months or longer notice is given. This provision was
amended by Section 1 of the Allotments Act 1950.
Section 2 provides for compensation
on being forced to quit an allotment, based on the value of the
Section 16 required allotments
authorities to exact a 'full fair rent' for allotments. This
provision was repealed by Section 10 of the Allotments Act 1950.
Section 22 defines 'allotment
gardens' as 'an allotment not exceeding forty poles in extent which
is mainly cultivated by the occupier for the production of
vegetables and fruit crops for consumption by himself or his
Allotments Act 1925
This Act was intended to facilitate the acquisition and
maintenance of allotments, and to make further provision for the
security of tenure of tenants of allotments.
Section 3 specifies that when a
local authority is preparing a town-planning scheme, it must
'consider what provisions ought to be included therein for the
reservation of land for allotments.' This provision was repealed by
the Town and Country Planning Act 1947.
Section 8 specifies that land
purchased or appropriated by local authorities for use as allotments
must not be disposed of without Ministerial consent. The Secretary
of State must be satisfied that 'adequate provision will be made for
allotment holders displaced by the action of the local authority, or
that such provision is unnecessary or not reasonably practicable'.
Section 12 provided that a local
authority with a population of over 10,000 should appoint an
allotments committee which is responsible for all allotment matters
with the exception of financial issues. This provision was repealed
by the Local Government Act 1972.
Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1926
Made minor amendments to previous Acts but was mostly concerned
with small holdings.
Repealed sections 1-22 of Small
Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 which related to small holdings.
Agricultural Land (Utilisation) Act 1931
Temporary measure passed at time of economic depression to assist
Section 13 permitted the seizure of
land for allotments and gave the Minister of Agriculture authority
to provide allotments for the unemployed. This provision expired in
1939 under Section 19.
Town and Country Planning Act 1947
Made no specific reference to allotments but removed requirement
made in 1925 Act for town planning authorities to consider allotment
provision within town planning schemes.
Allotments Act 1950
Followed on from the Allotments Advisory Committee report of
1949. Made provision for better compensation following termination
of tenancies, and clarified the systems for collecting rent.
Section 1 increases the period of
notice to be supplied to allotment holders to 12 months and this
must expire during the winter months.
Sections 2 to 6 deal with the
compensation which should be payable to an allotment holder
according to the season his tenancy terminates. Also, allotment
holders who have allowed their plots to deteriorate through neglect
are liable to pay for compensation for dilapidations on quitting.
Section 9 confines local
authorities' obligation to 'allotment gardens'- in effect, making
'farm allotments' no longer statutory.
Section 10 amends the rent
collection systems and allotments authorities may charge such rent
"... as a tenant may reasonably be expected to pay for the land".
This section also makes provision for the allotments authority to
let land "... to a person at a less rent, if the Council are
satisfied that there exist special circumstances affecting the
person which render it proper for them to let the land at a less
Section 12 allows certain forms of
livestock (hens and rabbits) to be kept although this is, in some
cases, restricted by local bye-laws.
*Note: Allotment authorities in England and Wales
are the district councils and, in Wales, community councils or, in England,
London Boroughs and parish councils. County councils have very few
responsibilities with regard to allotments, particularly after the Local
Government Act 1972.
**Note: The Department now having supervisory
powers over allotments authorities in England is the Department of Environment,
Transport and the Regions. Formerly, allotments were the responsibility of the
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The functions were transferred by
S.I. 1970, No. 1681. The Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament and the
Northern Ireland Assembly have supervisory powers for the other parts of the