Information about all city allotments and how to apply for one
Gardening can benefit you in many ways, and contributes to a healthy lifestyle. The physical exercise involved in tending an allotment will help keep you active and the fresh air, peace and quiet and the opportunity to meet new friends is positive for mental health and wellbeing..
Growing and eating your own food is also extremely satisfying – you’ll know where your vegetables are from and what’s gone into producing them.
Allotment sites are communities of people with shared interests. You will be able to meet new people, make new friends and get involved in the life of an allotment site by sharing seeds, produce and gardening tips. Every site has an allotment association that helps with the running of the site and often organises social events through the year.
- follow the link for useful information on growing food and community allotments
Below are some frequently asked questions about applying for and holding an allotment tenancy.
Pay for your allotment - select 'miscellaneous', 'parks' then 'allotments'
How can I apply for an allotment plot?
If you live in postcode areas PO1-PO6 you can apply for any of the city allotments. The allotments at Rowlands Castle are available to those living in Rowland’s Castle and Leigh Park.
To apply, please complete our allotment application online form.
All our sites have waiting lists. The increase in demand for allotments has meant that we do not have enough plots to meet demand. So we are splitting up larger plots into smaller ones, when they become available, and ensuring that plots are not left neglected.
You will not hear from us again until you have reached the top of the list, so it is important to let us know of any change of address in the meantime.
How long will I have to wait for an allotment?
It is impossible to give accurate waiting times, because they depend on the rate of turnover at site or sites you applied for. You should expect to wait at least 18 months, and possibly up to three and a half years. There is more information below on what happens when you reach the top of the waiting list.
How big is an allotment plot?
Plot sizes offered have decreased in recent years due to high demand. Allotment plots are traditionally measured in ‘rods’ but in 2014 we converted all ‘rod’ measurements to square metres. One rod is an area of around 25 square metres (30 square yards).
We offer plots from 76 square metre to 126 square metre in size. A 126 square metre plot is half the size of a tennis court. There are still many larger, 253 square metre plots on our sites, which was historically the standard size plot when demand was lower. When larger plots become available, they are now split into smaller ones, so more residents can rent allotments.
How much of a commitment is an allotment plot?
The time needed depends on the size of the plot and how intensively you want to garden. For a standard 76 square metre to 126 square metre plot, expect to spend four to five hours per week in the summer months, and one to two hours per week in the winter. Many people find they spend considerably longer on their plots.
Portsmouth City Council has a duty to ensure that the city’s allotment plots are put to good use, not only for the benefit of the people on the waiting list, but also because neighbouring plots can be affected by weeds spreading from neglected plots. Plots are inspected monthly, and for any that are not being cultivated, a letter will be sent requesting plots to be returned to cultivation within a month, or the council will take back the plot and offer it to the person at the top of the waiting list
To see whether an allotment is right for you, why not pay a visit to an allotment site on a Sunday morning – a popular time when other plot-holders will be around to advise or answer your questions.
How much does an allotment cost?
Allotments are charged per square metre, so the cost of your plot will depend on its size. Charges start from 49 pence per square metre, per year and will be 51 pence per square metre from November 2018 onwards. There is also a small charge for the allotment site gate key, which is issued by the allotment association. Replacing a lost key will also incur a charge from your allotment association.
There are concessions for those over 60 or holding a Portsmouth City Council Leisure Card.
New tenants can pay online, by cheque or over the phone with a credit or debit card.
The letting year runs from 1 November to 31 October. Allotment holders pay at the end of October for the following 12 months. To renew, you can pay online or by telephone with a credit or debit card, or by cash or cheque in person at the Civic Offices or many of the city’s libraries.
We will take back plots which are not paid after six weeks.
Where are Portsmouth's allotments?
There are eight allotment sites within the city of Portsmouth and one in Rowlands Castle. A map is available to download below. The allotment site in Milton is historically divided into three (Milton Piece, Eastney Lake and Hope Cottage) but in reality is one site with a single waiting list. The sites are all of different sizes ranging from eight to nearly 500 plots:
|Site||Allotment address||Plots (approx)|
|North Harbour||Southampton Road, Cosham||60|
|Knowsley Road||Knowsley Road, Cosham||8|
|Salisbury Road||Salisbury Road, Cosham||125|
|Horsea Lane||Horsea Lane, Hilsea||195|
|Stamshaw + Tipner||Osier Close, Tipner||45|
|Longmeadow||Burrfields Road, Copnor||300|
|Moneyfields||Teignmouth Road, Copnor||460|
|Milton||Locksway Road, Milton||515|
|Durrants||Durrants Road, Rowland’s Castle||45|
All sites have water supplies with taps (many also have water tanks) and all have perimeter fencing and lockable gates.
Many sites have a shop in a communal building run by the allotment association. Larger sites may have council-owned brick or concrete huts for rent, which are more secure than a standard garden shed. Site facilities are summarised below in the table:
|Site||Water||Shop||Toilet||Huts for rent|
|Stamshaw + Tipner||✓||✗||✗||✗|
What happens when I reach the top of the allotment waiting list?
You will be sent a letter offering you a particular plot at one of the sites which you have applied for. The letter includes a site plan to show the plot available to you and a tenancy agreement, which you should sign and return within 14 days. You will need to pay for the plot for the remainder of the letting year (up to 31 October). Once we have received your tenancy agreement and payment the plot is yours.
If you want to view the plot first, take along our offer letter to the site, and you will be let in. Weekends are good visiting times, as there is likely to be someone to let you in.
I want to accept an offer of an allotment plot - what do I do?
Return the signed tenancy agreement to the allotments office and pay for your plot. You will then need to contact the allotment association to arrange for a key to be issued to you. Details of how to contact the association will be sent along with your offer letter. A charge is made for keys.
If we don’t hear from you within 14 days, we will assume you aren’t interested in having an allotment, offer the plot to the next person on the waiting list and remove your name from the list. If you accidentally missed the deadline, then please call the allotments office and we will put you back on the waiting list for the next available plot.
I want to decline an offer of an allotment plot - what happens now?
If your circumstances have changed and you no longer want an allotment, please let us know and we can remove you from the waiting list and offer the plot to someone else.
If the plot you have been offered is too large, consideration may be given to offering you an alternative smaller plot when one becomes available.
If you decline an offer for any other reason, your application will be suspended for 12 months for all sites. We will contact you after this time to offer you another plot.
The allotment I have been offered is a mess - how do I get it cleared?
Let us know as soon as you accept your plot if it is overgrown or has items left by the previous tenant that you do not want. In most cases, we will have already arranged for the plot to be cleared of rubbish or other items and strimmed, if necessary. This service is free but is only available to new tenants.
Can I share or sub-let my allotment plot?
The tenancy agreement is with one named individual, there are no joint tenancies. Of course you can have help from as many family or friends as you like, but the tenancy will be in your name only.
You can register a co-worker on your plot, who becomes entitled to take it over – provided they have been registered as a co-worker for three years. To register a co-worker, write or email us their name, address, telephone number and email address. A tenant can un-register a co-worker in the same way at any time.
Plots cannot be sub-let- neither all nor part of a plot. You can give up part of your plot, but the surrendered part will be offered to the person at the top of the waiting list.
Can I give up my allotment and pass it on to a family member or friend?
You can pass it on to a family member at any time provided your plot is not in a neglected condition and you have held it for three years. Contact us to arrange the transfer. You cannot pass your plot on to friends unless they have been registered as a co-worker for three years.
Can I apply for a second allotment plot?
No. You may not join a waiting list if you already have a plot.
Can I erect a shed or greenhouse on my allotment plot?
You may erect a shed, a greenhouse, a compost bin and a cold frame on your plot without needing permission. Sheds and greenhouses should not have permanent foundations and should be a maximum 2.4m x 1.8m (8ft x 6ft), and no higher than 2.1m (7ft). Mark sheds with your plot number.
Contact us with your plans before you make arrangements or buy materials for any other structures (including polytunnels), because they all need permission from the allotments office.
I am struggling to manage my allotment, what help is available?
If you are temporarily unable to cultivate your plot (for example due to illness), arrange for someone to look after it while you are unable to stop your plot becoming neglected, and let the allotment office know so your plot is not repossessed. If you join the allotment association, they will be able to give you advice and maybe offer help in various ways.
If your plot is 152.00m2 or larger, you can give back half.
How can I join an allotment association?
Contact details for the allotment associations are displayed on the notice boards at each site. If your site has a shop, you will be able to join there when it is open.
Knowsley Road Allotments, being a very small site, is covered by Cosham and District Allotments and Gardens Association which is based at Salisbury Road Allotments nearby. Membership of allotment associations is inexpensive, and allows you to make use of the onsite shop, as well as the help and support of the association.
Can I keep animals on my allotment?
You will see beehives on many council allotment sites, but these are on dedicated plots managed by Portsmouth and District Bee Keepers Association. No other hives are permitted.
You are allowed to keep chickens or rabbits, but we discourage livestock on allotments as they are vulnerable to foxes, badgers and birds of prey, and may also encourage vermin. Contact your allotment office if you decide you would like to keep livestock, and let them know how many are being kept, along with a contact telephone number in case of any problem with the animals.
Dogs are welcome at allotment sites with you, on a lead, and supervised at all times. Pick up any dog mess and dispose of it off site.
My plot has been vandalised - my shed has been broken into - what can I do?
Sadly, vandalism of allotments does happen from time to time. Report it to the police by phoning 101. It is important to make the police aware of every incident, so they can direct resources towards spates of vandalism, if possible. Also report any incident to your allotment association and ask them to remind plot holders to lock allotment gates to prevent vandals getting in
How do I dispose of rubbish and green waste on the allotment - can I have a bonfire?
Bonfires are not allowed on any council allotment site, except around November 5, when allotment associations can apply to the Portsmouth City Council events department for permission to hold an annual bonfire in a safe communal area. This allows allotment holders to dispose of combustible material. Your allotment association can tell you if a bonfire is planned.
If you have rubbish to dispose of it is your responsibility to do so properly, at the recycling centre at Port Solent. Fly-tipping on allotment sites is extremely antisocial and illegal.
Compost your green waste. Many allotment associations have a shredder to help dispose of non-compostable green and woody material.
How do I get in touch?
You can email the service at firstname.lastname@example.org.