Allotment ban for ‘large animals’ tabled as part of proposed rule changes

Allotment holders in County Durham are facing a five-year countdown to get rid of any animals they are keeping on their land.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 3:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 1:07 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

Bosses at Durham County Council (DCC) have completed a root and branch review of the service, which has recommended a range of rule changes to improve overall management.

And as well as simplifying rules over who is responsible for overseeing plots and how they can be passed on, suggestions also included tougher restrictions on the creatures which can be stabled, cooped or kennelled.

“DCC has taken steps to improve management if its 167 allotments during the last seven years,” said Coun Eddy Adam, chairman of the county council’s Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, who oversaw the review.

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“However, we identified inconsistencies across the portfolio, therefore the review policy reflects the need for sites to be for genuine allotment use.”

He added: “We made eight recommendations [such as] a managed five-year transition period for the removal of large animals, including ensuring animals housed on allotments sites have the required welfare documentation.”

County bosses in the ruling cabinet approved the suggestions this morning (Wednesday, January 15) and agreed to hear about the progress of reforms in six months.

DCC became responsible for allotments when it was formed in 2009, taking over from the previous network of district councils, but according to a report for councillors a ‘harmonised tenancy agreement’ was never enforced.

In a consultation on planned changes most comments related to animals kept on allotments, including horses, ponies, hens, rabbits, pigeons, cockerels, pigs, goats, dogs, ducks, geese and ferrets.

The planned changes to allotment policy include:

Banning the keeping of ‘large animals’ on allotments, with holders given a five-year transition period to comply, as well as ensuring other animals have the correct documentation Bringing management of allotments under a single team Carry out a ‘complete review’ of all allotment sites found not being used for alternative purposes, such as garages, work yards and storage areas Set up a series of ‘area allotment associations’ to take over day to day management Offer County Durham’s town and parish councils a greater role in running allotments Review registration for allotment ‘co-workers’ Consider offering smaller plots Review rents