A summons from the Parish Council plopped on the porch floor about 2 weeks ago. No, I haven’t been evicted (which would be ironic as I hadn’t taken up the tenancy). It was a letter inviting allotment holders to a special council meeting to discuss the new tenancy agreement.
(Sidenote: still no confirmation from the Parish Clerk about my request to share allotment 5.)
As far as anyone can make out, Blackhorse allotment holders (the site is named after the defunct Black Horse pub) have had no formal agreement since some time in the 1930s. Plots have been allocated, rents collected. But, no piece of paper, no rules, no regulations.
That’s all changed. For a number of opaque and some obvious reasons, the Parish Council has drawn up a formal tenancy agreement complete with rules and regulations to be enforced. Or ignored.
It would have been nice if the council had circulated the agreement to all concerned beforehand. About a third of us hadn’t had a sniff of it. Even better, they could have set up a committee with a couple of allotmenteers to help draft the rules. No, that would be sensible.
So, the meeting was another farcical episode in local democracy. The chairman started out by saying that the intention was to get us to sign our agreements. On opening the meeting to the floor for questions, we then spent 45 minutes crawling over what seems a hastily put together document.
Why is the path 9 feet wide when many allotment holders have put their fences or whatever as little as 8 feet from the other side of the path.
Sheds. That was a contentious issue. Maximum size 6 feet by 4. “Does that mean that I can’t have my 8 foot by 4 foot shed that I share with another plot holder?”
Weedfree (sic)? Marginally unenforceable.
The council’s excuse was that they had to at least get something down on paper. So why didn’t they set up a drafting committee beforehand?
Anyhow. The council has about as much chance of enforcing the agreements as I have of winning a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.
I eventually get to sign the agreement. As an afterthought, I’m told that the council will pay to plough my half plot as it was left in an uncultivated state. As I’ve already begun digging and ploughing won’t get out the weeds, I decline. For that I get a free year!
Allotment 5½ is now legal.