Maintenance of footpaths between plots on the allotment are the responsibility of the adjacent plot holders. It’s really important that paths are kept clear and safe. Slips and trips are one of the biggest risks to members on the allotment and overgrown, uneven or obstructed paths can be really dangerous to other members who need to access their plots.

It is a condition of members’ tenancy agreements that paths are maintained and the management committee inspect path conditions on a regular basis. Failure to maintain your pathways can result in the committee issuing a notice to act, and ultimately to termination of your tenancy. Section 8 of the agreement covers this, but we thought it would be useful to illustrate what is expected of members. As a reminder, here is what is written in your tenancy agreement:

Paths between two Allotment Plots must be a minimum of 600mm in width where possible and must be kept trimmed and free from weeds up to the nearest half width by each adjoining Tenant.

Site paths must be kept clear of obstructions at all times. Obstructions caused by plants (such as trees or brambles) or fixtures (such as supports, compost bins, frames, sheds) must not be allowed to impede passers-by on paths, to snag clothing or cause physical injury. Any such hurt or injury to others will be the entire responsibility of the Tenant concerned.

The Tenant must not leave any tools or other equipment unattended on common pathways or other such areas of the Site nor in any other way that may cause accident or injury and must ensure that such tools and other equipment are used carefully and with due regard to the safety of others.

Below are some examples to illustrate what is required and what is not acceptable.

First, the Good:

And now the Bad & Ugly:

Path is badly overgrown, with edges not visible and obstruction into the pathway (tree).

Path overgrown and edges uneven on both sides.

Path completely blocked by tool store!…

The illustrations above are not exhaustive and at time of writing, there are many badly maintained pathways and quite a few that are genuinely dangerous. The committee will be focussing on paths during the August plot inspections. It is worth also reminding you that all structures, e.g. fencing, raised beds, and sheds, should also be set back from any path by a minimum of 150mm.

Maintaining paths is one of those jobs which might seem like a distraction from getting on with jobs on your plot, but it is essential for the safety of all members that we all take responsibility for this. As with so many allotment jobs, prevention is better than cure and regular maintenance will make the task much quicker.

If your unsure of anything related to pathways, or are struggling to maintain those which you are responsible for, please get in touch with the committee.