Management of Council Allotments

Limits to Devolved Management Schemes Devolved management is permitted under Local Government Act 1972. Find out more here.

This does not mean that the Council can shrug off its allotment duties: the local authority's statutory duty to provide allotments remains.   Even more, by its nature Local Government has to be open and transparent. 

Allotment Law is detailed and complex

It is very prescriptive i.e. lays down detailed requirements to follow. Councils and allotment groups need to be alert to the limits that are set to decision-making. These boundaries are derived from Statute Law and a lot of Case Law. Of course all this only applies to allotments that have been provided by Councils as allotments, e.g. not National Coal Board sites.


Allotment Gardens Cannot Be a Business: The key legal restriction is contained in the Allotments Act 1922, whereby there is a general prohibition on any "trade or business"1 being conducted on the allotment garden or any part thereof. An allotment garden must, by definition, "be wholly or mainly cultivated for the production of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by the occupier or his family"2. So allotment gardens can't operate as market gardens, or nurseries.Furthermore, carrying out any form of trade, however small, on the allotment site could also be interpreted as being in breach of this law.

Allotment Gardeners Can Sell their Surplus Crop: There is however, no restriction on the distribution, by sale or otherwise, of a certain proportion of the plot holder's crop. Of course the definition of 'surplus' is a grey area. According to the Soil Association, as far as the law, and the government, are concerned, "limited commercial activity can take place as long as it is ancillary to the main purpose"

There would seem to be no simple final definitive guide to the law here.  The Allotment Handbook (2nd Edition) by Sophie Andrews gives good practical advice.

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