See the picture of our friend above? We've all been there haven't we? Why? Because in the main, we're gardeners and not office bods or legal beagles! All we want to do is get stuck into our little veg plot, away from the woes and rigours of the mad world of paper and bureaucracy that surrounds us daily. We want PEACE & QUIET to grow our veg. - not paper-work and admin. hassle!

The only fly in the ointment is that someone has to run an allotment group - before others can benefit by savouring the unadulterated joy of doing nothing but cultivating, admiring the results - and drinking tea with their plot neighbour - whilst engaging their passion! Nothing wrong with that! But sadly it has to wait until everything is properly organised. The horse needs to go before the cart & not the other way around! To their chagrin, in their hurry to get their hands dirty many allotment groups that are starting-up overlook this extremely important primary step.  One thing you can always depend on. More than two people working side by side in a group  will eventually - inevitably - dig up a problem, unless they are properly guided and organised.

As an ordinary member you'll probably never have any headaches at all on the management and admin side of things. However, as a Management Committee Member of your allotment group (especially if you've been selected as the chair, secretary or treasurer of the Management Committee) there'll be a lot of late-night candle-burning ahead for you in the early days. You will need to think about:


Getting your documentation sorted (Constitution, Tenancy Agreements, Member's Hand-book etc.)


Compiling & listing your membership rules


Documenting site rules and regulations for site plot-holders & users


Opening a bank account


Keeping financial records


Keeping a full record of plot occupancy and use


Managing waiting lists and plot allocation


Dealing with tenancies, rents due and paid - issuing receipts


Preparing and compiling annual reports and accounts for the membership


Managing inspection reports and evictions.  


Managing bills for rent and water charges and dealing with all relevant correspondence as requested.


Providing and paying for site services and maintaining the services provided.

However, DON'T GET PUT OFF - we can help you with most of that. We've already done it all in the past - so there's no point in reinventing the wheel! You can of course opt for the "do nothing for now" philosophy - as taught by the  now famous School of Disasters for Budding Allotment Newbies! Alternatively you can do it properly from the start and save yourself a HUGE amount of heartache and perpetual "crises management" exercises in the future!

If you've already formed your allotment group then please click HERE to skip this next section by taking a short-cut to the paragraph you need.

OK - so it's safe to assume that if you're still reading this far, you haven't yet formed your allotments group! Let's assume you and a few friends and/ or acquaintances - who are existing keen growers (or are enthused by the current "Grow Your Own" revolution) have decided to form an allotment association or gardening society in your local community. What's the next step?

First you need to familiarise yourself with standard allotment site management models that are in existence. In general the choice is whether it is going to be what's traditionally referred to as a "Council allotment site" or a "Private allotment site". In theory the council is obliged by statutory legislation to provide an allotment site where there is a demand by locals for an area to grow food. In practice the councils often duck & weave and drag their feet in these matters (unless you're lucky enough to have a council that has allotment sympathisers or "grow your own enthusiasts" in it's ranks - rare, but possible!). A council's "slow-motion" response to a request for ground often results in a group getting together, and renting some private ground and thereafter running a "private" allotment site - without any council involvement.

So, you will also have to decide at the outset who is going to provide the land, which working site management model will be used, and how you will fit into the picture. Some of these models don't require much admin input from the plot-holders themselves, as the management is provided by the providers of the site (usually the local council).

Other models (where the allotment group is privately run and privately managed) require that your allotment group is not only properly structured, it also needs to be able to manage the membership and manage the day to day running of the site and it's services. It is this model that we concentrate on when it comes to helping start-ups to find their feet and providing the necessary documentation.

Here is a list of the traditional, allotment site models that are managed in various ways.

a)       Public owned - public managed. These sites are usually owned by the local council (Parish, Community, Town or County) and are managed by the council who owns them in the name of the “public” (although the public proper have little say in these things).  The council concerned usually employs an “Allotment Officer” who has oversight of all the sites the council may run in a given area. It is usually an added on responsibility that a council officer may have in a department like Parks & Gardens/ Highways, Property & Works or similar - depending on your council admin structure. Each site then usually has a “site representative” chosen by the plot-holders who liaisons between the plot-holders on a site and the Allotments Officer on behalf of the council. This type of management is very common in inner Town & City areas. It’s rarely a set-up that’s used by a private landowner. The plot tenancy and the rent are paid between each plot-holder and the landlord (Council). All services on site (water, toilets, access gates & fences etc.) are provided and then maintained by the Landlord. Groups on such sites are governed by the landlord's rules and regulations. If the landlord is the council they are by statute required to adhere to the provisions of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 and it's subsequent revisions

b)       Public owned - privately managed. Sometimes this is also a model set-up and used between a council and a specific allotment group (usually to allow the council to by-pass certain statutory obligations laid on it by the Allotments Act 1908). The owner of the site licences the land usually by means of a land use licence agreement (for a specific period of usually not less than 10 years or up to 99 years) to the allotment group who pays that licence annually. In such cases the land owner is referred to as a “Landlord Paramount” and the allotment group who has the land licensed from the Landlord Paramount, is usually referred to in tenancy and other agreement documents as “The Landlord” whilst the plot holding members are the “Tenants” of the allotment group that has the land use licence for the ground. The group then rents the individual plots to its members to pay for the licence and other overheads. The licence agreement between the Landlord Paramount and the Landlord usually stipulates how the land must be used and requires strict adherence that it is not to be used for anything but food growing for private, and not for commercial, use. The licence also usually stipulates how the site should be kept. In this type of set-up the allotment group would be responsible for all the services. The group’s General Management Committee would also see to all the maintenance and management of the site.

c)       Privately owned – privately managed.   Exactly the same as b) above, (although in very rare cases the land-owner may want to manage the site) but the ground is privately owned and not owned by a public body - like the council. The same arrangements with titles of the parties and the provision of a land lease licences would normally apply. It is also popular with the Church and other large landowners like railway companies who often lease the lands alongside their railway banks to private allotment groups, but don’t want the hassle of managing such sites. Services provision & the management and maintenance of the site are the responsibility of the Management Committee of the allotment group that leases the land.

d)       Member owned and managed. A rare type of arrangement, but they are about. In this case the land is owned (usually by donation or by will etc.) by the allotment group itself (therefore by extension it’s members). It is then managed and maintained by a General Management Committee and obviously all the services and maintenance is done by the group’s members.

e)      Privately endowed – privately managed. This is less rare, but not as common as the first two types of arrangement. In this scenario the land is donated, but not permanently gifted to an allotment group. Ownership remains with the original land owner. Stipulations are put in place – as with the privately owned - privately managed arrangement.  Responsibility for management is usually placed with a management committee of the group. Site preparation, services provision and site maintenance is usually negotiated between the two parties at the commencement of the arrangement and the provisions are included in an agreement document signed by both parties.

Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 Download a copy (free)
Sm. Ho. & Allotments Act Legislation 1908 - 1950 Download a copy (free)

This act is the underpinning Law under which the provision of allotments are made available to communities. It is the legal basis under which local authorities must - by law provide allotments. There are some unavoidable obligations placed on local authorities, they are :- 

  • That if  there is a demand for allotments in its area, it is required under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, to provide a sufficient number of allotments and to let them to persons residing in its area who want them.

  • If there is not land currently available the local council can make an application for compulsory hiring under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 or the local authority can acquire suitable land through compulsory purchase.

  • The local authority, under Section 53 (4) have the power to borrow money to acquire land for allotments.

Unfortunately in terms of the duty to provide under section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 the blatant loop-hole is that no time limit is specified in the Act for provision of a site by the council - once it has been established that there is a demand. This is something that the Welsh Government is currently looking at and may make provisions for in the future, to stop councils in Wales from using this loop-hole to drag their feet or to procrastinate. Hopefully they will amend the Act accordingly, thereby forcing local authorities to act within a time scale, thereby doing away with the tendency for councils to purposely drag their feet when they have no intention of discharging their legal obligations to provide allotments.

Find land for a site. If there is no current council allotment provision in your area, then you can do one of two things:

PETITION the council to provide allotment facilities for your community. You will require a minimum of just six signatories from the electorate in the council ward where you live and/or where you want your allotment site. We have a properly worded PETITION TEMPLATE that you can use for this. Click HERE to download it now - for free, or scroll down to the Documents for Download section below.

Keep in mind that if you have no allotment site in your community, and there IS (thanks to your petition)  a recognised demand by the local community dwellers, who are on the electoral list, to have allotments then your council is under a legislated statutory obligation to provide land for allotments - it is not a choice they HAVE to provide allotments by law (Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 - see above to download a copy).

If your council refuse with the excuse that they have no land available, then the 1908 Allotments Act empowers them to force a landowner to lease land or in the worse case scenario they have the power to compulsory purchase land for allotment plots. DON'T be fobbed off!

If you are successful with 1. (not forgetting that EVERY council has a mandatory legislated obligation set upon them - as stipulated in the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 - to provide allotments where a need is proven and a request made. I.e. they have NO CHOICE the demand is a legal one, they can't duck the issue, BUT - unfortunately - they can procrastinate. If they DO start to drag their feet, then widen out your campaign. get public support and advertise the little known fact that councils MUST provide allotments by Law - it is not an optional token of kindness on their behalf. With the public support that's currently evident for growing your own healthy, local food, reducing our "food air miles" and by so doing reducing our carbon footprint, you should be able to easily canvass the support of your local newspapers etc.)  you will probably be offered a site based on model a) or b) above. If it's a) you will have a minimal amount of documentary and management work. If it's b) then you'll be the ones who have to manage the site.

  CONSIDER other sources - apart from the council - who may be agreeable to renting out land (especially if it's disused), e.g. farmers, waterways, railways, churches, schools, National Trust etc.

It is then a case of setting up a meeting and writing to the targeted landowner with a proposal (you can even recommend that they visit this web-site for an insight into allotment gardening).

You should outline your plans, and it would add considerable weight to your proposal (and  credence to you as a group), if you were already formed into an official allotment group (association, society or club - it doesn't matter which), and had the necessary documentation in place to provide printed evidence that you are serious about your project, and your proposal. Also it would show that you are professional in your approach and in what you are doing - shown by the way you are going about it. The people you are approaching need to feel confident about you.

If you are successful with 2. then it will be up to the willing landlord to provide you with a rental agreement or a land lease licence agreement. You should at that point get professional legal advice to make sure that the agreement you are signing on behalf of your group is a legally safe and fair deal for you - and legally binding of course. Under such circumstances you will enter into a contract with the "Landlord Paramount" (the land owner). You will then need to enter into a tenancy agreement with each of your "Tenants" (your plot-holding group members). At that point you become the one referred to as "Landlord" in your Plot-holder's Tenancy Agreement.


The first scenario is a classic "Council run" allotment site model or possibly a "Public owned, Privately managed" allotment site. The second scenario is a "Privately owned Privately managed" allotment site.

If you need any more advice don't hesitate to contact us - if we are able to, we will do everything we can to help. We would like an allotment site in every village, town and city in the UK!

However we stress that although we have a comprehensive understanding of the legalities and practicalities that affect allotment groups - especially the contents of the Small Holding and Allotments Act 1908 and it's subsequent additions and amendments, also we are very familiar - through experience - with set-up procedures and with the administrative management of allotment groups, we are NOT lawyers and we are NOT qualified to give legal advice. For advice on specific legal matters please contact your legal representative.

If you have group membership of the National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardens Ltd. (NSALG) then you are entitled to legal advice from their resident solicitor.



We can (by download), provide you with the MAIN documents that will be required by your allotment organization.

(The graphics displayed are for illustration purposes only)

  1. A Constitution document

  2. A Plot-holder's Tenancy Agreement document

  3. A Member's Hand-book

  4. An Accounts spread-sheet template


Probably the most important long term document for your organisation. It is quite simply your organisation's "Bible".

With a document of this kind all answers to any possible problems are covered and the procedures for running your organisation smoothly are all contained within it. With a proper constitution the potential for disputes and the level of acrimony -  on any subject - within your group are virtually eliminated, as everyone knows exactly where they stand and what's required of them.

WITHOUT a document of this kind you may find it difficult to access funds and services from outside bodies (often including banks - especially if you ever require a loan). Most outside bodies dealt with by allotment organisation (e.g. for grants, subsidies, lottery funding etc.), usually require that your allotment group is a properly "constituted" organisation. Your documented proof of that is your Constitution Document.

Your Constitution document will contain, amongst many other things, your:

  • mission statement for all to see
  • all tenancy outlines & guidelines
  • member rules
  • landlord requirements
  • site management guidelines
  • committee and management structures and guidelines
  • meeting procedures & rules of conduct at meetings
  • definitions of Management Committee members and official's duties and roles.

     Also included are subjects like:

  • membership structures
  • procedures for disciplining
  • administration guidelines
  • correct processes for issuing notices etc.

Without a constitution, most organisations are perpetually trying to feel their way forward, making bad rules as they go along, often under duress and invariably whilst experiencing opposition from some members. They are incessantly bombarded by problems that they need a consensus of support to rectify on the hoof. Eventually everyone has a gut-full of the hassle. Members step back from responsibilities, the group becomes disorganised and insular. Finally members drop off and the allotment group dissolves. You DON'T want to go down that well trodden path!


If your allotment group runs and manages an allotment site, then the plots on that site will be rented out by your Group to your individual allotment group members. Usually (but not always - depending on which management model you've adopted), the allotment group is governed by the terms of the Landlord Paramount's land rent or land lease licence agreement. The allotment group then has separate individual tenancy agreements with each of it's plot-holding members.

It is vitally important that this document is not only fair and just, but it also has to be legally robust and binding. It must also reflect the clauses laid on you, the Landlord, by your Landlord Paramount. The "Landlord Paramount" is usually the land owner or an agent for the land owner who rents or leases the land to your allotment group (it could be the local council, a farmer, a waterways company, a railway company, the Church, a school or National Trust etc.). The "Landlord" is your allotment group that runs the site. The "Tenant" is the individual plot-holding member of your allotment group that rents his/ her plot from the allotment group.

We have a tenancy agreement template that you can customise for your own purposes (or for a small fee we can customise it for you - once you tell us what you want to change and provide the details). This document has been thoroughly vetted by a legal professional and it is a high standard and water-proof document that is fit for purpose. It has been written solely for allotment groups. Many similar documents are wide spectrum "off the shelf" contracts that are often provided by solicitors who do not have much allotment gardening knowledge or experience.

A document like this safeguards the rights of both parties, the allotment group (Landlord) and the plot-holder (Tenant). It is also guaranteed to be fair because the author is an allotment tenant himself!


Don't expect every member to have a photographic recall of everything in your constitution! It's totally unfair to expect ordinary members to shoulder such great responsibilities, after all, they are not there as scribes but as gardeners. It is our duty to make that as pleasant and easy as possible a task for them. Ordinary new members don't want to go around overly worrying either. The joy could be taken right out of their allotment gardening experience - especially if it's their first plot - if they are constantly fractious that someone off the "committee" might suddenly confront them for something they've done or not done according to the "rules". That situation is wholly unacceptable. Besides management committee members should be viewed as friendly mentors and not "Lottie Policemen". Hence the wisdom of appointing experienced and knowledgeable allotment growers in positions of officials of your group. They also need to have good management skills as well - which also usually comes with experience gleaned from their mentors over the years.

By far the best way to encourage your members to adhere to your allotment group's rules and regulations is to provide each new plot-holder with a small and easily read "members Hand-book" that they can keep for themselves. the Handbook will not only familiarise them with allotment gardening but it will also give them a broad view of how your group expects it's members to comply


We don't actually need computers or calculators, we can just use our own 20 digits that have been given to us on two hands. We could just tend to our allotments and when it's time to do the accounts we could blow the dust off the abacus and get going with the beads. If that's how you want to do it - then you're more than welcome to it - good luck! I don't suppose you use matches to light your bon-fires either!

On the other hand, with a minimal amount of experience and armed with any old computer that can run the free Open Office Spreadsheet programme or the more expensive MS Excel programme you can, with our template, just enter in your numbers into the boxes for membership subscriptions, invoices, receipts and payments etc., and our customised spread-sheet programme will calculate everything for you.

This spread-sheet template has been designed JUST for an allotment group's accounts. Your treasurer will love you to death for making his or her life SO much easier! No more sweating over the hand filled accounts, getting balances to tally, double checking columns for mistakes etc. As long as you enter the correct data this customised spread-sheet template will do it all for you. Not only that but you'll have an on-going record that you can back-up and refer to at will. No more red faces when someone picks up on a missing 2p when the accounts are presented to the membership at your AGM! Once downloaded this spread-sheet template is yours to keep and adapt in any way you want.

We recommend that you download a copy and then archive it. You can experiment with a copy, and if you mess up the copy template you always have the original download copy to fall back on.

You can  view a specimen copy of each of these document for free - so that you can assess their worth to your organization, before you commit yourself.

There are two choices - depending on what type of documents and what level of support you require.

  1. TEMPLATES. We can provide you with a template of each document type. These are in the most popular word processor formats (.doc & .odt) so that you can edit and customise them yourselves after download.  These documents will have blanks for you to fill in your own organisation's information, or you can edit the actual wording of the documents themselves, adding, omiting or changing anything you like to suite your needs.

  2. CUSTOMISED. We can, partly using the information you provide for us in the form below,  plus any other details that we may request from you later, provide you with the completed documents for immediate use. We will  compile the documents only using information that you provide. On completion we will send you a link via e-mail so that you can download your customised documents in PDF format.

The choice is yours. We are totally flexible. This is not a business but a service that we provide to fellow allotment groups. We do it because we are passionate about allotment gardening and wish to see the "Grow your Own" tradition safeguarded for future generations. We also like to think that we are helping along the allotment movement's interests nationally, by encouraging and supporting similar groups to our own. We do this primarily by aiding them to maintain a minimal standard of competence and professionalism.  It is a great sadness that many new allotment groups have fallen apart, or failed to flourish in the past, because of a lack of start-up knowledge/ general understanding and poor on-going management skills and ridiculously inferior official documents.

As you will appreciate we are NOT a legal document charity! Whilst we would dearly love to freely provide our time and effort for no cost - the reality is that we cannot afford to do that. Because we 

  • DON'T have a "paid for membership" structure, so that other societies can join

  • DON'T have affiliation fees

  • DON'T charge a fee based on your allotment group membership numbers

  • DON'T get financed by a lottery fund, or similar.

We simply run an allotment society and a web-site as a hobby to help others who are doing the same - our interest is growing veg for our families and friends whilst helping others with knowledge so that they can also benefit from our experience. We are not here to run an on-line documents business!

Our time is precious and unfortunately we have to account for it - not for a profit, but to break even. Consequently we have to make a small charge for this service to cover our own time overheads. After all these documents take a long time to compile and we have to shoulder the burden of all costs involved - especially if we customise the documents individually for other allotment groups.

When you click on any "Template" download icon below, you will be  taken to

S C Cambria's PayPal transaction page.

Once you have completed  your transaction you will be sent an e-mail with a link that will allow you to download the document (or bundles of documents) that you have chosen. You will also be taken to a page that will have a linked button to allow you to instantly download after your payment - rather than wait for your e-mail to arrive in your "Inbox".

Additional Options

The download link that we will automatically send to you by e-mail will remain

valid for 14 days.

After that, the link does not connect you to the download file.

The account we use for our on-line transactions is named S C Cambria - this is the name that will appear on your bank statements for any purchases made from this web-site. Our web-site has been designed and, is maintained under that name, by the Web-master who is also the Aeron Vale Allotment Society Chair.



Type of Download

Document Format



Members Hand-book

a) View SPECIMEN copy

PDF. Opens with Adobe Reader (or similar software)



b) Template for you to customise

.doc or .odt. Opens with MS "Word"/ Open Office "Writer" software. Files delivered in a compressed WinZip folder


c) Customised for you - based on the information you have provided

(ready to print & bind)

Available in all formats. Usually delivered as a compressed (Zipped) folder. Opens with WinZip or similar software. You will need to fold and staple the hand-book after you print it.


Please click on arrow to go to  order form below

Plot-holder's Tenancy Agreement

a) View SPECIMEN copy

PDF. Opens with Adobe Reader (or similar software)



b) Template for customising

.doc or .odt. Opens with MS "Word"/ Open Office "Writer" software. Download delivered as a compressed (Zipped) folder. Opens with WinZip or similar software.


c) Customised for you - based on the information you have provided

(ready to print & bind)

Available in all formats. Usually delivered as a compressed (Zipped) folder. Opens with WinZip or similar software.


Please click on arrow to go to  order form below



a) View SPECIMEN copy

 Opens with Adobe Reader prog. (or similar software)



b)  Template for customising

 .doc or .odt. Opens with MS "Word"/ Open Office "Write" software. Download delivered as a compressed (Zipped) folder. Opens with WinZip or similar software.


c) Customised for you - based on the information you have provided

(ready to print & bind)

Available in all formats. Usually delivered as a compressed (Zipped) folder. Opens with WinZip or similar software.


Please click on arrow to go to  order form below




View SPECIMEN copy PDF. Opens with Adobe Reader (or similar software)  
Template for customising .ots Opens with Open Office "Spreadsheet" programme

.xlsx Opens with MS Excel prog. (XML)



Template for customising


 .doc Opens with MS "Word"&

.odt. Opens with Open Office "Write" software



1b, 2b, 3 b) & 5. - Templates for customising

MS "Word"/ Open Office "Writer" progs. (.doc/ .odt) & MS "Excel"/ Open Office "Spreadsheet" progs. In Zipped Folder



FULL SET of  Ready CUSTOMISED DOCUMENTS 1c, 2c & 3c) - Customised ready for printing & binding Adobe PDF files in a Zipped Folder 



Please click on arrow to go to  order form below

Customised Documents Order Form


*Your Name:

Your Role:

Your Contact Address:

Your Post Code:

*Contact E-mail Address:

Name of your Allotment Organization: 

No. of Members/ Plots:








Once we receive your order we will contact you for the information required to customise your documents.


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Constitution Document

Tenancy Agreement Doc.

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