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Durham County Council

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This page gives information about allotment gardening and our allotment policy.

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

  • fresh home-grown fruit and vegetables
  • flowers
  • low-cost food
  • fresh air and exercise
  • a chance to meet new friends.

We currently own a total of 215 allotment sites across the county. 107 sites are directly managed by us and let to individuals, while 108 sites are managed by Allotment Associations. 

Please note: there are some allotment sites throughout the county which are owned by town councils or are privately owned. We do not have details of these sites.

Site vacancies and waiting lists

Please check the Allotment Waiting List and Vacancies - March 2017 (PDF, 41kb) document to find out which allotments have vacancies and waiting lists.

Apply for an allotment

Download and return the Allotment Application Form (PDF, 265kb). 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.)

Rental charges

Allotment plot rents are calculated on a banded system, based on the average size of a plot (total area of allotment site ÷ number of allotment plots = average plot size per site). The allotment plots fall into six size bands, as listed in the rental charges table below.

Allotment Site BandAverage Plot Size per siteRent for 2016/17 
11m2 - 150m2£44.00
2151m2 - 200m2£46.00
3201m2 - 250m2£48.00
4251m2 - 300m2£50.00
5301m2 - 350m2£52.00
6351m2 - and above£54.00

How to pay

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

Allotment letting policy

The Allotment Letting Policy (PDF, 538kb) was adopted in September 2012. It sets out how we manage allotments countywide.

Frequently asked questions

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?

The allotment letting policy sets out a single tenancy agreement. This means one plot, one tenant. However, the tenant can register someone as a co-worker.

What is a co-worker? 

A co-worker is someone who assists the tenant with the maintenance of an allotment plot. Co-workers have no legal tenancy rights and are not responsible for any part of the annual rent. Sub-letting to co-workers is not permitted and the tenant must still have regular involvement in the maintenance of the allotment plot. The co-worker must also be a resident within the administrative boundary of County Durham and be a minimum of 18 years of age. The tenant will always be responsible for the maintenance of the plot even if he or she chooses to nominate a co-worker.

Co-workers are also obliged to abide by the allotment letting policy. Any breaches of the rules and regulations may result in termination of the tenancy. The tenant is responsible for the co-worker's actions at all times and both tenant and co-worker would have to vacate the plot if the tenancy was terminated for any breach of rules and regulations. 

If the tenant wishes to give up their tenancy, the co-worker may be able to take over the tenancy if they have been registered as a co-worker for a period of no less than three years, or have been registered as a co-worker for a longer period of time than the next person in line has been on the waiting list for an allotment.

A co-worker can only be registered on one council allotment tenancy and the tenant is allowed to terminate a co-worker agreement at any time. If this occurs then the co-worker will have to apply to be added to the waiting list, if they still wish to rent an allotment from us.

How do I register a co-worker?

Register a co-worker by submitting an Allotment Co-Worker Agreement (PDF, 153kb); this must be signed by both the tenant and the co-worker. A tenant may register up to two co-workers per plot.

Can I keep livestock?

Please contact us if you are planning to keep livestock on your site as only certain types of livestock are permitted and only on certain sites. Further details regarding what is and isn't permitted can be found in the Allotment Letting Policy (PDF, 538kb).

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

As a minimum we expect plots to be cultivated during the main spring to autumn growing season and 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 web pages.

Can I have bonfires?

Allotment plot bonfires are not prohibited and there is no legal requirement about the time they may be lit, however, it is essential that they do not cause nuisance to surrounding residents, as we can take action under section 80 of the Environment Protection Act 1990, by serving an Abatement Notice to prohibit the nuisance. The general rules concerning bonfires on allotment plots are as follows:

  • Keep bonfires to a minimum.
  • Do not burn household rubbish, tyres, plastic or foam materials or similar as many of these give off toxic fumes and dense smoke. Remember, it is illegal to burn rubbish from a business on an allotment.
  • Only have a bonfire if it does not affect neighbours and nearby residents (be aware of wind direction). 
  • Do not have a bonfire in the evening or allow it to burn overnight.
  • Never leave a bonfire unattended. If you're leaving the plot, put it out.
  • Do not damp down. Always have quick burning fires, using dry materials, and allow it to burn out whilst you're still present on site.
  • Be ready to put the fire out if you receive any complaints.

Report an illegally lit fire

If you have any further questions about the policy or allotments in general, please contact us.