The Green Book

The rules and regulations for site tenants and everything you need to know.

1. STRUCTURE/ORGANISATION

The Tonbridge Allotments and Gardens Association (TAGA) was formed in 1994 to manage the seven allotment sites within the Tonbridge area on behalf of the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC) Leisure Services Department .

The affairs of the Association are managed by two committees viz:

  • An Executive Committee (comprising of the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer), which is responsible for the day to day conduct of the Association and communication with TMBC Leisure Services.
  • A Management Committee which comprises the Officers above, together with the Trading Officer and the Site Managers.

 

2. Allotment Sites

The seven allotment sites managed by TAGA are situated as follows:-

Barden
The site is at the southern end of Tonbridge. Presently there are approximately 55 plots. There are ample water standpipes on the site and all sheds are owned by the plot holders. Barden Housing is considered as part of the Barden Site. This has only 7 plots and one water standpipe. Access is gained either from plot holders gardens or via a pathway.

Barden Park
The site is at the southern end of Tonbridge. There are 13.5 plots most of which are let as half plots. There are water standpipes and a cleared pathway at the road side of the plots. All plots slope down to the river.

Brook Street
The site is at the south western end of Tonbridge. There are 37 plots many of which are 5 rod half plots. Water is available on the site. Wooden sheds are available to most tenants.

Farmground
The site is at the south-eastern end of Tonbridge. There are 5 water standpipes, and three metal sheds are available to tenants. The site has 23 plots mostly 7 or 8 Rods.

Ridgeway
The site is at the northern end of Tonbridge. There are water standpipes and wooden sheds are available to most tenants. There are 52 plots varying in size from 5 to 10 rods.

Waveney Road – Longmead
The site is located at the northern end of Tonbridge. There are 29 plots on site and water standpipes and some wooden sheds are available to tenants.

Longmead Way
The site is located at the northern end of Tonbridge. The site has 32 plots and water standpipes and wooden sheds are available to tenants.

All the sites are protected by secure fencing and locked entrance gates. Plot holders can obtain a key against a returnable deposit of £5. Each site has a Portaloo toilet for which a key can be obtained against a returnable deposit of £2. Keys have to be returned to the Association when tenants give up their allotments. Each site has a notice board on which TAGA notices are displayed for information to the plot holders.

3. Equipment

Each site has a selection of equipment to help keep the site neat and tidy. Please enquire with your site manager for current stock. In most cases the equipment is kept securely off the sites. The equipment can be borrowed by plot holders to keep their plots in good order. Fuel is free of charge. Plot holders borrowing site equipment must sign the equipment registers to absolve TAGA from any liability for any accident that may occur whilst they are using the equipment. Plot holders using the site equipment must return it to the site in a clean state and advise their Site Manager of any defects in the equipment. He/she arranges for the site machinery to be serviced in the autumn. There is a tool box for each site which can be used by the plot holders. A supply of wood preservative for preserving the wooden sheds is available, please enquire. The site equipment is available for the use of plot holders but should not be operated by children under 16 years of age.   There is a charge for some site equipment and this must be ascertained from your Site Manager. However, tenants are reminded that they are responsible for that machinery when used and any damage must be reported to the Site Manager.

 

4. Membership

Membership of TAGA is automatically granted to anyone who has a lease for an allotment plot at any of the seven TAGA sites. Plot leases are the responsibility of the Site Manager and are valid for one year, from the 1st October until the 30th September of the following year. The leases are evergreen only being terminated if a member resigns or is found guilty by the TAGA Executive Committee of contravening the terms of their agreement. Normally members will receive an official warning of their contravention in writing and if this does not have the desired effect, they will then have the opportunity of explaining their defence before the TAGA Executive Committee. If their explanation is still not satisfactory, their membership of the Association will be withdrawn and their allotment plot lease agreement will be terminated. When a member resigns the plot shall be declared vacant.

 

5. Rents and Fees

Plot rents are currently £3.50 per rod (50% concession for pensioners) per year with increases from time to time. A further £1.50 per rod is required for water which covers both watering cans and hose pipes. Sprinkler usage is banned. Sheds on sites are rented if belonging to the Association.

Annual rents and fees are due on the 1st of October. These must be paid within one calendar month of being due, failing which, following a written letter from the Site Manager/Executive Committee, the plot shall be relinquished.

 

Responsibilities to note

Hedges should be kept trimmed and pathways must be kept clean and free from obstructions. Trees should not be cut or soil or gravel removed without the written consent of the Association.

Exercise, relaxation, friendship and delicious fun

What will you make of your allotment?

The Green Book continues below

More information for plot holders.

6. General responsibilities of plot holders

The allotment plot shall be used as an allotment or leisure garden only and for no other purpose. The plot must be kept clean, reasonably free from weeds and maintained in a good state of cultivation, fertility and condition. It should be well manured from time to time.

The allotment plot holder must not cause nuisance or annoyance to other plot holders. They cannot sub-let or part with possession of their allotment plot without the written consent of the Association.

Where allotment plots abut to neighbouring residents fences, a clear pathway must be maintained between the edge of the allotment plot and the fence to prevent deterioration of the fencing and to allow residents access to repair and treat their fences.

Hedges should be kept trimmed and pathways must be kept clean and free from obstructions. Trees should not be cut or soil or gravel removed without the written consent of the Association.

Private sheds and buildings erected on the plot need authorisation from the Site Manager and should be maintained in a good state of repair.

Barbed wire cannot be used near the paths of individual allotments plots.

No hard fruit trees can be planted without the written consent of the Association/Site Manager.

No refuse can be deposited (except manure and compost within an enclosed space) either on the allotment plot or anywhere within the allotment site except in those areas which have been designated by the Site Manager. Kitchen scraps should not be brought to the allotment and deposited in compost bins as these encourage vermin.  This is important where sites are surrounded by residential property.

Dogs can enter the allotment site only under the strict control of the plot holder and kept on a lead.

No animals except for hens and rabbits may be kept on the allotment plots

Tenants are required to inform their Site Manager of any changes of address.

In the event of any dispute between individual allotment tenants the TAGA Officers shall act as arbiters and their decision shall be final.

The Association has the right to refuse admittance to any person other than the allotment plot tenant unless accompanied by the tenant or a member of his family.

At the end of their leases, tenants are required to return any TAGA keys (in return for their deposits of £5.00), yield up the allotment plot in good condition and remove all rubbish and buildings from their plot.

Where ditches, paths and hedges are adjacent to plots each tenant is responsible for their upkeep.

During the course of the year Site Managers may want to get a work party together and tenants are expected to assist.

7. Water Usage

Water is a scarce and valuable commodity for which TAGA has to pay South East Water for every cubic metre used. This cost comes directly out of the Association’s funds which could be used for other purposes. Please try to conserve water by fitting drainage guttering on your sheds feeding into rainwater butts. The use of non hand-held sprinklers is forbidden. Please report any leaky taps or water fittings to your Site Manager.

8. Waste Management

We as an Allotment Society experience continuous problems with the disposal of our organic waste. There are three choices for disposal – we compost it on site, we take it away either to a waste disposal site or home to put in our green waste bins, or we burn it. Composting can be very effective if done properly and will help to enhance the soil condition. Alternatively taking it directly to a local waste disposal site is the next best solution. Bonfires can be effective but most of our allotment sites are located within residential areas and can irritate surrounding householders especially those with respiratory conditions. It is essential that disposal by burning be kept to an absolute minimum. There are special incinerators on most allotment sites in which only combustible dry material can be burnt in a controlled way.

Each site has designated areas where to burn rubbish. No rubbish is to be burnt on individual plots.

Responsibilities to note

Where ditches, paths and hedges are adjacent to plots each tenant is responsible for their upkeep.

9. Trading Activity

Stocks of horticultural goods are held in trading sheds at the Barden and Ridgeway sites for sale to TAGA members.  Most goods are priced well below supermarket and garden centre prices.

There are limits to the number of lines of goods stocked and sold by TAGA. Please inform the Trading Officer of other items you would like to be made available for his/her consideration. Conversely TAGA may stop stocking some goods if the demand does not warrant them or legislation is introduced banning their sale.

The site shops are open from approximately the end of February to mid July with lesser opening times to the end of September.  Members should contact their Site Managers to obtain more details. It is possible to obtain goods outside the above times by special arrangement. TAGA members from other sites may obtain goods from the shops.

Members operating the trading shops must keep records of stock receipts, stock sales and stock transfers. Sales proceeds should be passed to the Treasurer or the Trading Officer at regular intervals.

10. Seed and Potato Sales Schemes

TAGA operates a seed scheme to supply members with good quality vegetable and flower seeds, onion and shallot sets from Kings at a considerable discount from retail prices. The Association also operates a potato scheme for the supply of certified seed potatoes. A notice will be posted on your notice board when the seed catalogues and potato order forms are available, which is normally some time in September. The completed order forms together with the exact payment have to be returned to the Site Manager by late October. The seed orders should be delivered to the Site Managers by the end of November and potato orders are normally available in late February. As a rule of thumb, the more we buy, the cheaper the prices.

Responsibilities to note

The allotment plot holder must not cause nuisance or annoyance to other plot holders. They cannot sub-let or part with possession of their allotment plot without the written consent of the Association.

11. Annual General Meeting

Six weeks notice is given for TAGA’s Annual General Meeting which is held in November. At the AGM the officers of the Association present their annual reports. The principal officers, namely the Chairman, Secretary and the Treasurer are elected. Formal accounts of TAGA are tabled for approval. The Auditor for TAGA is appointed. TAGA officers are elected by the members for a period of one year.  An Honorary President or Vice-President may also be elected at the AGM. Proxy votes for the officers are allowed at the AGM and should be notified to the Secretary three weeks before the AGM. Every officer standing must have a proposer and a seconder. Forms for candidates are available from the Secretary and need to be signed by the candidate signifying his/her willingness to stand. Proposal forms are not required for existing officers who intend to stand for re-election.

TAGA Seed and Potato Scheme

TAGA operates a seed scheme to supply members with good quality vegetable and flower seeds, onion and shallot sets from Kings at a considerable discount from retail prices.

Exercise, relaxation, friendship and delicious fun

What will you make of your allotment?

The Green Book Continues below

More information for plot holders. Phew there’s a lot to read!!

12. Functions of taga officers

The Chairman

The Chairman is effectively the titular head of TAGA. He/she is the Chairman of the Association’s AGM, the Management Committee, and the Executive Committee Meetings. His/her function is to lead the Association and ensure that TAGA is being managed effectively. The Chairman represents TAGA at meetings with other associated bodies e.g. Tonbridge Forum, Kent Allotment Association, etc.  The Chairman overseas all decisions made. 

The Secretary

The Secretary works closely with the Executive Committee.   He/she liaises with the TMBC officers concerning all aspects of the TAGA allotment sites. He/she is the link with each Site Manager helping them to make site improvements and resolving problems.

The Secretary organises TAGA’s AGM each year.  The Secretary deals with all correspondence, writing of meeting minutes and any administration.

The Treasurer

The Treasurer is the custodian of the Association’s finances and he/she is responsible for ensuring  that TAGA has sufficient funds to meet its medium term commitments.

He/she is responsible for maintaining the accounts of the Association, the banking of receipts (rents and fees, stock sales proceeds, and the annual management fee from TMBC), the checking and payment of creditors invoices received for water, site maintenance and repairs, equipment purchases and servicing, site improvements and stock purchases, etc.

The Association operates 2 bank accounts, one for the allotments administration and the second for the sales and purchases of goods via the allotment shops, as well as the seed and potato schemes. These two accounts are treated as separate stand alone accounts. The Association’s bank accounts are registered in the name of TAGA. The Treasurer holds the cheque books and cheques raised require to be signed by two of three authorised signatories.

The Treasurer keeps a register of all TAGA equipment which is updated regularly with new purchases and disposals. The site equipment is written off over 4 years using a 25% depreciation rate.

The Treasurer maintains an up to date record of all Association members, their names, addresses and telephone numbers for each of the allotment sites. This record is updated from information supplied by the Site Managers, normally in the autumn when rents are collected.

The Treasurer prepares the annual statement of the accounts both for the Association’s business and the trading activity. These are audited by the Association’s Auditor and presented at the AGM for members approval.

The Auditor

An independent Auditor is appointed at the AGM.   His/her function is to audit the statements of the accounts of  TAGA’s main and trading activities.   When approved the Auditor countersigns the accounts statements prior to their presentation to the Association AGM for approval by members.   An audit fee has been set at £75.

Site Managers

Each site has a Site Manager who is elected by the plot holders of that site to manage the allotment site. He/she may have one or more assistants to help with duties. Each Site Manager is responsible for creating rental agreements with new tenants and ensuring that written confirmation is received from those tenants surrendering their plots. He/she holds the signed copies of the agreements for the plot holders on his/her site. The Site Manager collects the rents and fees due on the 1st of October and passes the monies and record of receipts to the Treasurer. At this time plot holders records are updated.

The Site Manager looks after the goods for sale (where stocked), the site equipment and wood preservative  which are available to plot holders. He/she ensures that the site equipment is properly maintained and fit for use and freely available to plot holders. He/she ensures that equipment is signed for by plot holders when it is loaned out on the understanding that TAGA does not have any responsibility for any accidents however caused.

He/she endeavours to motivate plot holders to keep the site and their plots cultivated and clear of weeds and rubbish. He/she communicates with the Vice Chairman on any problems arising e.g.water leaks, security fencing repairs etc. He/she is responsible for obtaining advice and guidance for the plot holders on matters of health and safety.

Site Managers make periodic checks on water meters readings especially at the end of October when they turn off the water (except for Farmground), and notify readings to the Treasurer for water billing accuracy.

Site Managers also arrange servicing of site toilets.

Trading Officer

The Trading Officer is appointed and normally confirmed at the Association’s AGM. He/she has the option to appoint other assistants to help in the TAGA shops. The Trading Officer is responsible for ordering and purchasing horticultural goods for sale. He/she sets the resale prices of goods in consultation with the Executive Committee. He/she compiles the price lists and makes these available to the Site Managers. He/she arranges for stock checks to be made at relevant sites normally at the end of May to appraise the movement of early season stock for ordering purposes. A stock check is made at the end of August for the end year accounts. The overall objective of the trading section is to provide a good service to the TAGA members and to make a small profit to cover any unforeseen losses.

13. Honorariums

The elected Officers of the Association, the Trading Officer and Site Managers each receive an honorarium to cover out of pocket expenses.

Responsibilities to note

Each site has designated areas where to burn rubbish. No rubbish is to be burnt on individual plots.

Exercise, relaxation, friendship and delicious fun

What will you make of your allotment?