FAQs

How big is an allotment plot?
An allotment is historically measured in rods, an historic unit of measurement dating back to Saxon times. A typical plot on one of our sites will be either 5 or 10 rods.  A 5 rod plot is approximately equal to 126.5 square metres or 151.3 square yards. This usually means that a plot will be 5m wide by 25m long.

How much does an allotment cost?
The current cost of an allotment is £37.50 per rod/per 25.3 square metres, per annum.  Accordingly, the cost of a 5 rod plot is currently £37.50 for the year. A 10 rod plot is £75.00. With effect from 1 October 2020 the cost of an allotment is £39.00 per rod/per 25.3 square metres, per annum (£78.00 for a 10 rod plot). Allotment bills are sent out in September.

Allotment Society Membership

Allotment holders are required to become a member of the Allotment Society (membership is per individual/family/household and currently £8 per annum) when they rent a plot from the Town Council.  This means they are covered by the Society’s insurance when they are on the allotment site.   Members are also able to use the Society’s equipment i.e. rotavators, strimmers and mowers as well as miscellaneous equipment such as wheelbarrows.

As a society we hold social events such as talks/presentations, barbecues, quizzes, skittles and outings. These events are organised by the members. We would welcome your support in attending these, making suggestions for these events and organising them where possible

We would value your contribution as to what you think members would be interested in and where you think your money would be best spent.  Please email us at chippenhamallotments@googlemail.com as we are keen to hear your views.

What facilities do the allotments have?
Each of our sites has its own water supply and a dedicated Warden to assist tenants. Our sites also have security fencing and padlocked gates to prevent unauthorised access. Each site has access to a strimmer, a rotavator and in some cases a mower which as a member you may use. Some of the sites have toilets.

How long will I have to wait before I get a plot?
This depends on which site you are interested in. Some of our sites are more popular than others so the waiting lists on these may move more slowly than others.

It’s a bit harder than I thought – can I share my plot?
No – you can’t. The Allotment Agreement specifically prohibits sub or under letting of plots. Plots can usually be transferred to an immediate family member should the need arise. However, you must remember that you need permission to do this. If you’re struggling with your plot for any reason please contact your site warden.

Can my plot be taken away from me?
All sites are monitored by their requisite Wardens. If you fail to cultivate your plot, keeping it tidy and weed free, you will be served a Notice to Quit. This gives you fair time to sort out any issues. However if the plot continues to be poorly cultivated, it will be repossessed.

If you discover you are having difficulty with the workload please contact us. Before you take on a plot you may find our “What do I need to think about before I take on an allotment” guide further down this page useful.

Are your allotments accessible to people with disabilities?
Our sites have varying degrees of accessibility, we would advise contacting us directly to discuss your needs; chippenhamallotments@googlemail.com.

What can I grow on my allotment?
You can grow whatever you like on your plot within reason and within the law! These must be for your own use, the sale of produce grown on our allotment plots is not permitted. We would just ask that you give consideration to your neighbouring tenants when deciding what to plant. Fruit trees are permitted but must be kept to a maximum of 2 metres high and should ideally be of dwarf stock, espalier or cordon variety.If you are in any doubt please check with your Warden before planting.

What weed suppressants can I use?
Following advice from the Town Council’s contractor for pest control, carpets and plastic sheeting have been banned as weed suppressant because they provide an ideal environment for rats. However, you may use a proper weed suppressant membrane which allows water to drain through.

Can I have a shed or greenhouse on my plot?
Sheds and greenhouses are allowed but tenants must speak to their site Warden before commencing work. The ideal size for a shed would be 6’ x 4’ but anything up to 8’ x 6’ is acceptable, the same goes for greenhouses. Please use slabs or timber for the base, no permanent concrete bases are allowed. Polytunnels are also acceptable but due to the nature of the construction should be sited with advice from the Warden who will also advise as to a suitable size.

Who is responsible for the path around my plot?
As stated in the Tenancy Agreement you are responsible for the maintenance of paths and borders around your plot. Following discussions a number of years ago it was decided to set a standard width of path between 18” – 24”. This includes additional paths you may decide are necessary on your plot.

Can I keep bees?
Bee hives are not permitted on any of our sites.

Can I have a bonfire?
Bonfires are not currently permitted due to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency.

What is the Chippenham Allotments & Gardens Society?
The Chippenham Allotments & Gardens Society is an independent group, separate from Chippenham Town Council, consisting of allotment tenants who oversee the running of the six allotment sites within Chippenham and liaise with the Town Council regarding concerns and issues relating to the sites.

How do I get an allotment?
Anyone who lives within the Chippenham town boundaries can apply for an allotment on any of our sites. Our allotments are very popular – meaning that we do have a waiting list at all of our sites. An up to date list can be found here. If you are interested in becoming an allotment tenant please fill out our contact form. Due to unprecedented demand plots are strictly limited to one per household/family. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications from people who reside outside the town boundary at the present time. If you live outside Chippenham, allotments will be administered by your local Parish Council. To find your Town or Parish Clerk just click here.

What do I need to think about before I take on a plot?

If you are thinking of becoming a tenant please have a read of the following information which will hopefully help you to decide whether owning a plot is for you.

What are the benefits?
Growing your own produce is rewarding in lots of ways, watching your plot progress from a desolate patch of unloved soil (or overgrown jungle of weeds) to a well cultivated allotment able to provide a bounty of fresh produce is an incredibly fulfilling journey.
Disclaimer; this could take a few years depending on your proclivity for hard work!
In addition you can be sure your food hasn’t chalked up any air miles and has been grown organically. You will discover new recipes as you work out what to do with all your produce, especially courgettes!
Furthermore your plot will ensure you keep fit and healthy for the fraction of the cost of your local gym. Alongside the physical health benefits, spending time in the great outdoors has been shown to provide a huge mental boost, providing a welcome break from the screens that can dominate our lives.

What are the challenges?
Clearing your plot
An allotment is a commitment, it needs to be maintained regularly in order to stay on top of everything. Your allotment plot may not have been well looked after by the previous tenant. You must be prepared to put in some hard work to get the site into a good condition ready for planting. Digging over the soil, forking in manure or compost is both time consuming and laborious. If you feel overwhelmed, try clearing a section at a time rather than attempting the whole plot at once.

Weed management
It is your responsibility to keep your plot tidy and weed free. Following advice from the Town Council’s contractor for pest control, carpets and plastic sheeting have been banned as weed suppressant because they provide an ideal environment for rats.  However, you may use a proper weed suppressant membrane which allows water to drain through.
However you choose to deal with the weeds on your plot it is likely to require physical effort and it will be a never ending battle!
For more information regarding the weeds you are likely to find, click this link which will take you to the RHS website where you will find plenty of further reading.

Time management
Expect to spend a lot of time tending to your plot, once you start planting things you will probably need a minimum of 4-5 hours per week to keep on top of things. We recommend you visit your allotment at least twice a week to keep up with the weeds and in hot weather you may find you need to water some crops every day. Please do consider whether you can fit this into your routine!

What to plant?
Deciding what to plant and where to plant it can be daunting. Think about what type of soil you have on your plot, where the shade/sun is and whether you will be rotating your crops, amongst other things. The most important question though will be; What do you enjoy eating? Don’t be shy about asking your neighbouring tenants for advice, they will know what grows well and what doesn’t and will be happy to pass on their knowledge. You will probably find, in your first year, that your plot may not provide large quantities of fruit and veg as it will need a lot of planning and preparation. As time goes on you will learn about your plot, what grows well, how much watering and fertilising is needed etc. If you are realistic about what you can achieve, plan well and act with patience, you are sure to reap all the rewards of being an allotment holder in the fullness of time!

You haven’t put me off, what do I do next?
Get yourself on the waiting list by contacting us here!