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Find out about allotment gardening.

Allotment gardening provides a wide range of benefits to individuals, communities and the environment. This includes providing:

  • access to fresh fruit and vegetables
  • an opportunity to get fresh air and exercise
  • a chance to find solitude and to meet new friends
  • a means of reducing 'food miles'.

We currently own 159 allotment sites across the county.  Of these,106 sites are directly managed by our own staff and 53 sites are managed by Allotment Associations on our behalf. 

Allotment locations

Use the map to find allotment sites near to where you live.  Click on a site to find out who manages it and how to contact them to enquire about plot availability.  Where no details are displayed, you may be able to find out who manages the site by visiting it and speaking to plot holders on the site.

Apply for an allotment

Applicants must be aged 18 years or over and live in County Durham. (Proof of age and residence may be required for all new tenants.) Please note that for allotment sites not managed by us, you will need to contact the owning organisation to apply for a plot.

Rental charges

Plot rents for our directly let sites are calculated based on the average plot size on each site (total area of allotment site divided by the number of allotment plots = average plot size per site). These are then grouped into six size bands.

Allotment rent period - changes to billing dates for tenants (2018)

The allotment rent period now runs from 1 November to 31 October and tenants will receive bills in line with these new dates. To manage the change, you will receive two invoices in 2018: the first in April to cover use of the allotment from April to end of October 2018; the second in November to cover use of the allotment from November to end of October 2019.  

Details of the charges for each of these invoices for each of the size bands are set out in the table below.

Allotment Site BandAverage Plot Size per siteInvoice 1 - 1 April 2018 to 31 October 2018Invoice 2 - 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019
11m2 - 150m2£26.25£45.00
2151m2 - 200m2£27.41£47.00
3201m2 - 250m2£28.58£49.00
4251m2 - 300m2£29.75£51.00
5301m2 - 350m2£30.91£53.00
6351m2 - and above£32.08£55.00

From November 2019, you will receive only one invoice per year to cover the use of the plot from November to the following October.

We have made these changes so tenants can decide whether to continue with their plots at the end of the main growing season and to enable new tenants taking over vacated plots to benefit fully from the next growing season.

Plot rents on Allotment Association run sites are set by the members of the association. Please contact the relevant association for more details.

How to pay for our allotment plots

You can either pay online or use our 24 hour automated payment line.

Our allotment rules

The rules set out in our current Icon for pdf Allotment Tenancy Agreement (PDF, 318.4kb)  have been in force since 1 January 2015. Tenants who started a tenancy before that date will fall under a variety of different rules, which are set out in the specific tenancy agreement that they signed when they took over their plot.

To simplify this situation we are in the process of developing a new allotment policy, tenancy agreement and transition rules that will mean all tenants fall under a single set of rules. Proposals for these will be subject to public and plot holder consultation before being formalised.

Additional rules on Allotment Association run sites

In addition to the rules set out in tenancy agreements, plot holders on association run sites may also be required to follow extra rules agreed by the members of the association. If you take a plot on an association site you will be informed of any extra rules by them. You will also have a right to vote on changes to rules at future general meetings.

Frequently asked questions about our allotments

What are the criteria to apply for an allotment in County Durham?

You need to be a permanent resident within the administrative boundary of County Durham and be a minimum of 18 years of age.

How long will I have to wait for an allotment?

Allotments are offered on a 'first come, first served' basis and a waiting list is held for each allotment site. It is impossible to determine a waiting time, as allotment plots usually only become available when an existing tenant gives up their tenancy.

Can I share my allotment with someone else?

We only allow one tenant per plot, however, each tenant can register a co-worker.

What is a co-worker? 

A co-worker is someone who you can register as assisting you with the maintenance of the plot. The co-worker has no legal tenancy rights or responsibilities and sub-letting to co-workers is not permitted so you must still have regular involvement in the maintenance of the plot. A  co-worker can only be registered on one plot and will remain registered until either the tenant decides to remove the co-worker or until the tenant gives up the plot.

Can the co-worker take over the main tenancy when the tenant gives up the plot?

Being a registered co-worker when a tenant gives up the plot does not mean you have an automatic right to take it over. Instead you will be offered the plot only if you have been registered as the co-worker longer than the first person on the waiting list for the site. However, unlike usual waiting list applicants, you will not have to accept another if one becomes available before your co-worker plot.

Can I keep livestock?

Please contact us if you are thinking about keeping any animals on your plot as only certain types are permitted and only on certain sites. You should not assume the presence of animals on other plots will automatically mean you can keep the same type of animal on your plot as the other animals may be there through historical rights held by long serving plot holders. If you bring animals onto your plot without seeking permission, you may be required to remove them or face eviction.

Do I have to grow fruit and vegetables throughout the year?

As a minimum we expect new tenants to cultivate their plot during the main spring to autumn growing season and for it to be actively used throughout the year. Active use includes growing but can also include preparing the ground for cultivation or doing routine maintenance jobs like strimming back uncultivated areas, tidying up, and sorting out items retained for re-use. Although we do not require growing all year round, it is possible to do so and advice on this and other monthly allotment tasks can be found through the Royal Horticultural Society: Grow Your Own and The Allotment Society - growing advice.

Can I have bonfires?

Bonfires are not banned, however, it is essential that they do not cause a nuisance to surrounding residents. The general guidance points below should be followed if you do intend to have a bonfire on your plot:

  • Keep bonfires to a minimum.
  • Only have a bonfire if it does not affect neighbours and nearby residents (be aware of wind direction and whether other plot holders on the site have had a fire recently). 
  • Only burn waste generated on your plot and try to use a device that will contain the fire, for example, an incinerator bin.
  • Always have quick burning fires, using dry materials and allow it to burn out whilst you're still present on site.
  • Do not burn household rubbish, tyres, plastic or foam materials or similar as many of these give off toxic fumes and dense smoke.
  • Do not burn rubbish from a business on an allotment.
  • Do not leave a bonfire unattended. 
  • Do not allow the bonfire to burn overnight.
  • Be ready to put the fire out if you receive any complaints.
Contact us
Customer Services
03000 26 0000

24 hour payment line
0300 456 2771
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